Open Source Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice

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Act I, Scene 2

Another street.


[Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants with torches]

  • Iago. Though in the trade of war I have slain men,
    Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience
    To do no contrived murder: I lack iniquity 205
    Sometimes to do me service: nine or ten times
    I had thought to have yerk'd him here under the ribs.
  • Othello. 'Tis better as it is.
  • Iago. Nay, but he prated,
    And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms 210
    Against your honour
    That, with the little godliness I have,
    I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray you, sir,
    Are you fast married? Be assured of this,
    That the magnifico is much beloved, 215
    And hath in his effect a voice potential
    As double as the duke's: he will divorce you;
    Or put upon you what restraint and grievance
    The law, with all his might to enforce it on,
    Will give him cable. 220
  • Othello. Let him do his spite:
    My services which I have done the signiory
    Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know,—
    Which, when I know that boasting is an honour,
    I shall promulgate—I fetch my life and being 225
    From men of royal siege, and my demerits
    May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune
    As this that I have reach'd: for know, Iago,
    But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
    I would not my unhoused free condition 230
    Put into circumscription and confine
    For the sea's worth. But, look! what lights come yond?
  • Iago. Those are the raised father and his friends:
    You were best go in.
  • Othello. Not I. I must be found: 235
    My parts, my title and my perfect soul
    Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?
  • Iago. By Janus, I think no.

[Enter CASSIO, and certain Officers with torches]

  • Othello. The servants of the duke, and my lieutenant. 240
    The goodness of the night upon you, friends!
    What is the news?
  • Cassio. The duke does greet you, general,
    And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance,
    Even on the instant. 245
  • Othello. What is the matter, think you?
  • Cassio. Something from Cyprus as I may divine:
    It is a business of some heat: the galleys
    Have sent a dozen sequent messengers
    This very night at one another's heels, 250
    And many of the consuls, raised and met,
    Are at the duke's already: you have been
    hotly call'd for;
    When, being not at your lodging to be found,
    The senate hath sent about three several guests 255
    To search you out.
  • Othello. 'Tis well I am found by you.
    I will but spend a word here in the house,
    And go with you.


  • Cassio. Ancient, what makes he here?
  • Iago. 'Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land carack:
    If it prove lawful prize, he's made for ever.
  • Cassio. I do not understand.
  • Iago. He's married. 265
  • Cassio. To who?

[Re-enter OTHELLO]

  • Iago. Marry, to—Come, captain, will you go?
  • Othello. Have with you.
  • Cassio. Here comes another troop to seek for you. 270
  • Iago. It is Brabantio. General, be advised;
    He comes to bad intent.

[Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers with torches and weapons]

  • Othello. Holla! stand there!
  • Roderigo. Signior, it is the Moor. 275
  • Brabantio. Down with him, thief!

[They draw on both sides]

  • Iago. You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you.
  • Othello. Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
    Good signior, you shall more command with years 280
    Than with your weapons.
  • Brabantio. O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd my daughter?
    Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her;
    For I'll refer me to all things of sense,
    If she in chains of magic were not bound, 285
    Whether a maid so tender, fair and happy,
    So opposite to marriage that she shunned
    The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,
    Would ever have, to incur a general mock,
    Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom 290
    Of such a thing as thou, to fear, not to delight.
    Judge me the world, if 'tis not gross in sense
    That thou hast practised on her with foul charms,
    Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
    That weaken motion: I'll have't disputed on; 295
    'Tis probable and palpable to thinking.
    I therefore apprehend and do attach thee
    For an abuser of the world, a practiser
    Of arts inhibited and out of warrant.
    Lay hold upon him: if he do resist, 300
    Subdue him at his peril.
  • Othello. Hold your hands,
    Both you of my inclining, and the rest:
    Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
    Without a prompter. Where will you that I go 305
    To answer this your charge?
  • Brabantio. To prison, till fit time
    Of law and course of direct session
    Call thee to answer.
  • Othello. What if I do obey? 310
    How may the duke be therewith satisfied,
    Whose messengers are here about my side,
    Upon some present business of the state
    To bring me to him?
  • First Officer. 'Tis true, most worthy signior; 315
    The duke's in council and your noble self,
    I am sure, is sent for.
  • Brabantio. How! the duke in council!
    In this time of the night! Bring him away:
    Mine's not an idle cause: the duke himself, 320
    Or any of my brothers of the state,
    Cannot but feel this wrong as 'twere their own;
    For if such actions may have passage free,
    Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.