Please wait

The text you requested is loading.
This shouldn't take more than a minute, depending on
the speed of your Internet connection.

progress graphic

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.

      — King John, Act III Scene 4


Plays  +  Sonnets  +  Poems  +  Concordance  +  Advanced Search  +  About OSS

The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice

Act I

print/save print/save view

Scene 1. Venice. A street.

Scene 2. Another street.

Scene 3. A council-chamber.


Act I, Scene 1

Venice. A street.

      next scene .


  • Roderigo. Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly
    That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
    As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.
  • Iago. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me: 5
    If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.
  • Roderigo. Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
  • Iago. Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city,
    In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
    Off-capp'd to him: and, by the faith of man, 10
    I know my price, I am worth no worse a place:
    But he; as loving his own pride and purposes,
    Evades them, with a bombast circumstance
    Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war;
    And, in conclusion, 15
    Nonsuits my mediators; for, 'Certes,' says he,
    'I have already chose my officer.'
    And what was he?
    Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
    One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, 20
    A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife;
    That never set a squadron in the field,
    Nor the division of a battle knows
    More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
    Wherein the toged consuls can propose 25
    As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practise,
    Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:
    And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof
    At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds
    Christian and heathen, must be be-lee'd and calm'd 30
    By debitor and creditor: this counter-caster,
    He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
    And I—God bless the mark!—his Moorship's ancient.
  • Roderigo. By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
  • Iago. Why, there's no remedy; 'tis the curse of service, 35
    Preferment goes by letter and affection,
    And not by old gradation, where each second
    Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself,
    Whether I in any just term am affined
    To love the Moor. 40
  • Iago. O, sir, content you;
    I follow him to serve my turn upon him:
    We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
    Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark 45
    Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,
    That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
    Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,
    For nought but provender, and when he's old, cashier'd:
    Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are 50
    Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty,
    Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
    And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
    Do well thrive by them and when they have lined
    their coats 55
    Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;
    And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir,
    It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
    Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:
    In following him, I follow but myself; 60
    Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
    But seeming so, for my peculiar end:
    For when my outward action doth demonstrate
    The native act and figure of my heart
    In compliment extern, 'tis not long after 65
    But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
    For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.
  • Roderigo. What a full fortune does the thicklips owe
    If he can carry't thus!
  • Iago. Call up her father, 70
    Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight,
    Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,
    And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
    Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy,
    Yet throw such changes of vexation on't, 75
    As it may lose some colour.
  • Roderigo. Here is her father's house; I'll call aloud.
  • Iago. Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell
    As when, by night and negligence, the fire
    Is spied in populous cities. 80
  • Roderigo. What, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!
  • Iago. Awake! what, ho, Brabantio! thieves! thieves! thieves!
    Look to your house, your daughter and your bags!
    Thieves! thieves!

[BRABANTIO appears above, at a window]

  • Brabantio. What is the reason of this terrible summons?
    What is the matter there?
  • Roderigo. Signior, is all your family within?
  • Iago. Are your doors lock'd?
  • Iago. 'Zounds, sir, you're robb'd; for shame, put on
    your gown;
    Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
    Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
    Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise; 95
    Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
    Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
    Arise, I say.
  • Roderigo. Most reverend signior, do you know my voice? 100
  • Brabantio. The worser welcome:
    I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors:
    In honest plainness thou hast heard me say 105
    My daughter is not for thee; and now, in madness,
    Being full of supper and distempering draughts,
    Upon malicious bravery, dost thou come
    To start my quiet.
  • Brabantio. But thou must needs be sure
    My spirit and my place have in them power
    To make this bitter to thee.
  • Brabantio. What tell'st thou me of robbing? this is Venice; 115
    My house is not a grange.
  • Roderigo. Most grave Brabantio,
    In simple and pure soul I come to you.
  • Iago. 'Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not
    serve God, if the devil bid you. Because we come to 120
    do you service and you think we are ruffians, you'll
    have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse;
    you'll have your nephews neigh to you; you'll have
    coursers for cousins and gennets for germans.
  • Iago. I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter
    and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.
  • Iago. You are—a senator.
  • Brabantio. This thou shalt answer; I know thee, Roderigo. 130
  • Roderigo. Sir, I will answer any thing. But, I beseech you,
    If't be your pleasure and most wise consent,
    As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter,
    At this odd-even and dull watch o' the night,
    Transported, with no worse nor better guard 135
    But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
    To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor—
    If this be known to you and your allowance,
    We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs;
    But if you know not this, my manners tell me 140
    We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe
    That, from the sense of all civility,
    I thus would play and trifle with your reverence:
    Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,
    I say again, hath made a gross revolt; 145
    Tying her duty, beauty, wit and fortunes
    In an extravagant and wheeling stranger
    Of here and every where. Straight satisfy yourself:
    If she be in her chamber or your house,
    Let loose on me the justice of the state 150
    For thus deluding you.
  • Brabantio. Strike on the tinder, ho!
    Give me a taper! call up all my people!
    This accident is not unlike my dream:
    Belief of it oppresses me already. 155
    Light, I say! light!

[Exit above]

  • Iago. Farewell; for I must leave you:
    It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place,
    To be produced—as, if I stay, I shall— 160
    Against the Moor: for, I do know, the state,
    However this may gall him with some cheque,
    Cannot with safety cast him, for he's embark'd
    With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,
    Which even now stand in act, that, for their souls, 165
    Another of his fathom they have none,
    To lead their business: in which regard,
    Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains.
    Yet, for necessity of present life,
    I must show out a flag and sign of love, 170
    Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him,
    Lead to the Sagittary the raised search;
    And there will I be with him. So, farewell.


[Enter, below, BRABANTIO, and Servants with torches]

  • Brabantio. It is too true an evil: gone she is;
    And what's to come of my despised time
    Is nought but bitterness. Now, Roderigo,
    Where didst thou see her? O unhappy girl!
    With the Moor, say'st thou? Who would be a father! 180
    How didst thou know 'twas she? O she deceives me
    Past thought! What said she to you? Get more tapers:
    Raise all my kindred. Are they married, think you?
  • Brabantio. O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood! 185
    Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds
    By what you see them act. Is there not charms
    By which the property of youth and maidhood
    May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo,
    Of some such thing? 190
  • Brabantio. Call up my brother. O, would you had had her!
    Some one way, some another. Do you know
    Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?
  • Roderigo. I think I can discover him, if you please, 195
    To get good guard and go along with me.
  • Brabantio. Pray you, lead on. At every house I'll call;
    I may command at most. Get weapons, ho!
    And raise some special officers of night.
    On, good Roderigo: I'll deserve your pains. 200


. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2

Another street.

      next scene .

[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.
  • 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.
  • Iago. He's married. 265

[Re-enter OTHELLO]

  • Iago. Marry, to—Come, captain, will you go?
  • 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]

[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.


. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 3

A council-chamber.


[The DUKE and Senators sitting at a table; Officers attending]

  • Duke of Venice. There is no composition in these news
    That gives them credit.
  • First Senator. Indeed, they are disproportion'd;
    My letters say a hundred and seven galleys. 330
  • Second Senator. And mine, two hundred:
    But though they jump not on a just account,—
    As in these cases, where the aim reports,
    'Tis oft with difference—yet do they all confirm 335
    A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.
  • Duke of Venice. Nay, it is possible enough to judgment:
    I do not so secure me in the error,
    But the main article I do approve
    In fearful sense. 340
  • Sailor. [Within] What, ho! what, ho! what, ho!

[Enter a Sailor]

  • Sailor. The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes; 345
    So was I bid report here to the state
    By Signior Angelo.
  • First Senator. This cannot be,
    By no assay of reason: 'tis a pageant, 350
    To keep us in false gaze. When we consider
    The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk,
    And let ourselves again but understand,
    That as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes,
    So may he with more facile question bear it, 355
    For that it stands not in such warlike brace,
    But altogether lacks the abilities
    That Rhodes is dress'd in: if we make thought of this,
    We must not think the Turk is so unskilful
    To leave that latest which concerns him first, 360
    Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,
    To wake and wage a danger profitless.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. The Ottomites, reverend and gracious,
    Steering with due course towards the isle of Rhodes,
    Have there injointed them with an after fleet.
  • Messenger. Of thirty sail: and now they do restem 370
    Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance
    Their purposes toward Cyprus. Signior Montano,
    Your trusty and most valiant servitor,
    With his free duty recommends you thus,
    And prays you to believe him. 375
  • Duke of Venice. 'Tis certain, then, for Cyprus.
    Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town?


  • Duke of Venice. Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you
    Against the general enemy Ottoman.
    I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior; 385
    We lack'd your counsel and your help tonight.
  • Brabantio. So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me;
    Neither my place nor aught I heard of business
    Hath raised me from my bed, nor doth the general care
    Take hold on me, for my particular grief 390
    Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature
    That it engluts and swallows other sorrows
    And it is still itself.
  • Brabantio. Ay, to me;
    She is abused, stol'n from me, and corrupted
    By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
    For nature so preposterously to err, 400
    Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
    Sans witchcraft could not.
  • Duke of Venice. Whoe'er he be that in this foul proceeding
    Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself
    And you of her, the bloody book of law 405
    You shall yourself read in the bitter letter
    After your own sense, yea, though our proper son
    Stood in your action.
  • Brabantio. Humbly I thank your grace.
    Here is the man, this Moor, whom now, it seems, 410
    Your special mandate for the state-affairs
    Hath hither brought.
  • Duke of Venice. [To OTHELLO] What, in your own part, can you say to this?
  • Othello. Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
    My very noble and approved good masters,
    That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter,
    It is most true; true, I have married her:
    The very head and front of my offending 420
    Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,
    And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace:
    For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
    Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
    Their dearest action in the tented field, 425
    And little of this great world can I speak,
    More than pertains to feats of broil and battle,
    And therefore little shall I grace my cause
    In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
    I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver 430
    Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,
    What conjuration and what mighty magic,
    For such proceeding I am charged withal,
    I won his daughter.
  • Brabantio. A maiden never bold; 435
    Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
    Blush'd at herself; and she, in spite of nature,
    Of years, of country, credit, every thing,
    To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on!
    It is a judgment maim'd and most imperfect 440
    That will confess perfection so could err
    Against all rules of nature, and must be driven
    To find out practises of cunning hell,
    Why this should be. I therefore vouch again
    That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood, 445
    Or with some dram conjured to this effect,
    He wrought upon her.
  • Duke of Venice. To vouch this, is no proof,
    Without more wider and more overt test
    Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods 450
    Of modern seeming do prefer against him.
  • First Senator. But, Othello, speak:
    Did you by indirect and forced courses
    Subdue and poison this young maid's affections?
    Or came it by request and such fair question 455
    As soul to soul affordeth?
  • Othello. I do beseech you,
    Send for the lady to the Sagittary,
    And let her speak of me before her father:
    If you do find me foul in her report, 460
    The trust, the office I do hold of you,
    Not only take away, but let your sentence
    Even fall upon my life.
  • Othello. Ancient, conduct them: you best know the place. 465
    [Exeunt IAGO and Attendants]
    And, till she come, as truly as to heaven
    I do confess the vices of my blood,
    So justly to your grave ears I'll present
    How I did thrive in this fair lady's love, 470
    And she in mine.
  • Othello. Her father loved me; oft invited me;
    Still question'd me the story of my life,
    From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes, 475
    That I have passed.
    I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
    To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
    Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
    Of moving accidents by flood and field 480
    Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach,
    Of being taken by the insolent foe
    And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
    And portance in my travels' history:
    Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle, 485
    Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
    It was my hint to speak,—such was the process;
    And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
    The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
    Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear 490
    Would Desdemona seriously incline:
    But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
    Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
    She'ld come again, and with a greedy ear
    Devour up my discourse: which I observing, 495
    Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
    To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
    That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
    Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
    But not intentively: I did consent, 500
    And often did beguile her of her tears,
    When I did speak of some distressful stroke
    That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
    She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
    She swore, in faith, twas strange, 'twas passing strange, 505
    'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
    She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
    That heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me,
    And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
    I should but teach him how to tell my story. 510
    And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
    She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,
    And I loved her that she did pity them.
    This only is the witchcraft I have used:
    Here comes the lady; let her witness it. 515

[Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and Attendants]

  • Duke of Venice. I think this tale would win my daughter too.
    Good Brabantio,
    Take up this mangled matter at the best:
    Men do their broken weapons rather use 520
    Than their bare hands.
  • Brabantio. I pray you, hear her speak:
    If she confess that she was half the wooer,
    Destruction on my head, if my bad blame
    Light on the man! Come hither, gentle mistress: 525
    Do you perceive in all this noble company
    Where most you owe obedience?
  • Desdemona. My noble father,
    I do perceive here a divided duty:
    To you I am bound for life and education; 530
    My life and education both do learn me
    How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
    I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my husband,
    And so much duty as my mother show'd
    To you, preferring you before her father, 535
    So much I challenge that I may profess
    Due to the Moor my lord.
  • Brabantio. God be wi' you! I have done.
    Please it your grace, on to the state-affairs:
    I had rather to adopt a child than get it. 540
    Come hither, Moor:
    I here do give thee that with all my heart
    Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart
    I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel,
    I am glad at soul I have no other child: 545
    For thy escape would teach me tyranny,
    To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.
  • Duke of Venice. Let me speak like yourself, and lay a sentence,
    Which, as a grise or step, may help these lovers
    Into your favour. 550
    When remedies are past, the griefs are ended
    By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.
    To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
    Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
    What cannot be preserved when fortune takes 555
    Patience her injury a mockery makes.
    The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief;
    He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.
  • Brabantio. So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile;
    We lose it not, so long as we can smile. 560
    He bears the sentence well that nothing bears
    But the free comfort which from thence he hears,
    But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow
    That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow.
    These sentences, to sugar, or to gall, 565
    Being strong on both sides, are equivocal:
    But words are words; I never yet did hear
    That the bruised heart was pierced through the ear.
    I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of state.
  • Duke of Venice. The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for 570
    Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best
    known to you; and though we have there a substitute
    of most allowed sufficiency, yet opinion, a
    sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer
    voice on you: you must therefore be content to 575
    slubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this
    more stubborn and boisterous expedition.
  • Othello. The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
    Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war
    My thrice-driven bed of down: I do agnise 580
    A natural and prompt alacrity
    I find in hardness, and do undertake
    These present wars against the Ottomites.
    Most humbly therefore bending to your state,
    I crave fit disposition for my wife. 585
    Due reference of place and exhibition,
    With such accommodation and besort
    As levels with her breeding.
  • Desdemona. Nor I; I would not there reside,
    To put my father in impatient thoughts
    By being in his eye. Most gracious duke, 595
    To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear;
    And let me find a charter in your voice,
    To assist my simpleness.
  • Desdemona. That I did love the Moor to live with him, 600
    My downright violence and storm of fortunes
    May trumpet to the world: my heart's subdued
    Even to the very quality of my lord:
    I saw Othello's visage in his mind,
    And to his honour and his valiant parts 605
    Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
    So that, dear lords, if I be left behind,
    A moth of peace, and he go to the war,
    The rites for which I love him are bereft me,
    And I a heavy interim shall support 610
    By his dear absence. Let me go with him.
  • Othello. Let her have your voices.
    Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not,
    To please the palate of my appetite,
    Nor to comply with heat—the young affects 615
    In me defunct—and proper satisfaction.
    But to be free and bounteous to her mind:
    And heaven defend your good souls, that you think
    I will your serious and great business scant
    For she is with me: no, when light-wing'd toys 620
    Of feather'd Cupid seal with wanton dullness
    My speculative and officed instruments,
    That my disports corrupt and taint my business,
    Let housewives make a skillet of my helm,
    And all indign and base adversities 625
    Make head against my estimation!
  • Duke of Venice. Be it as you shall privately determine,
    Either for her stay or going: the affair cries haste,
    And speed must answer it.
  • Duke of Venice. At nine i' the morning here we'll meet again.
    Othello, leave some officer behind,
    And he shall our commission bring to you;
    With such things else of quality and respect 635
    As doth import you.
  • Othello. So please your grace, my ancient;
    A man he is of honest and trust:
    To his conveyance I assign my wife,
    With what else needful your good grace shall think 640
    To be sent after me.
  • Duke of Venice. Let it be so.
    Good night to every one.
    And, noble signior, 645
    If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
    Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.
  • Brabantio. Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
    She has deceived her father, and may thee. 650

[Exeunt DUKE OF VENICE, Senators, Officers, &c]

  • Othello. My life upon her faith! Honest Iago,
    My Desdemona must I leave to thee:
    I prithee, let thy wife attend on her:
    And bring them after in the best advantage. 655
    Come, Desdemona: I have but an hour
    Of love, of worldly matters and direction,
    To spend with thee: we must obey the time.


  • Iago. What say'st thou, noble heart?
  • Roderigo. What will I do, thinkest thou?
  • Iago. Why, go to bed, and sleep.
  • Roderigo. I will incontinently drown myself.
  • Iago. If thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why, 665
    thou silly gentleman!
  • Roderigo. It is silliness to live when to live is torment; and
    then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.
  • Iago. O villainous! I have looked upon the world for four
    times seven years; and since I could distinguish 670
    betwixt a benefit and an injury, I never found man
    that knew how to love himself. Ere I would say, I
    would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I
    would change my humanity with a baboon.
  • Roderigo. What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so 675
    fond; but it is not in my virtue to amend it.
  • Iago. Virtue! a fig! 'tis in ourselves that we are thus
    or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which
    our wills are gardeners: so that if we will plant
    nettles, or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up 680
    thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs, or
    distract it with many, either to have it sterile
    with idleness, or manured with industry, why, the
    power and corrigible authority of this lies in our
    wills. If the balance of our lives had not one 685
    scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the
    blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us
    to most preposterous conclusions: but we have
    reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal
    stings, our unbitted lusts, whereof I take this that 690
    you call love to be a sect or scion.
  • Iago. It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of
    the will. Come, be a man. Drown thyself! drown
    cats and blind puppies. I have professed me thy 695
    friend and I confess me knit to thy deserving with
    cables of perdurable toughness; I could never
    better stead thee than now. Put money in thy
    purse; follow thou the wars; defeat thy favour with
    an usurped beard; I say, put money in thy purse. It 700
    cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her
    love to the Moor,— put money in thy purse,—nor he
    his to her: it was a violent commencement, and thou
    shalt see an answerable sequestration:—put but
    money in thy purse. These Moors are changeable in 705
    their wills: fill thy purse with money:—the food
    that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be
    to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida. She must
    change for youth: when she is sated with his body,
    she will find the error of her choice: she must 710
    have change, she must: therefore put money in thy
    purse. If thou wilt needs damn thyself, do it a
    more delicate way than drowning. Make all the money
    thou canst: if sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt
    an erring barbarian and a supersubtle Venetian not 715
    too hard for my wits and all the tribe of hell, thou
    shalt enjoy her; therefore make money. A pox of
    drowning thyself! it is clean out of the way: seek
    thou rather to be hanged in compassing thy joy than
    to be drowned and go without her. 720
  • Roderigo. Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on
    the issue?
  • Iago. Thou art sure of me:—go, make money:—I have told
    thee often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I
    hate the Moor: my cause is hearted; thine hath no 725
    less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge
    against him: if thou canst cuckold him, thou dost
    thyself a pleasure, me a sport. There are many
    events in the womb of time which will be delivered.
    Traverse! go, provide thy money. We will have more 730
    of this to-morrow. Adieu.
  • Roderigo. Where shall we meet i' the morning?
  • Iago. At my lodging.
  • Iago. Go to; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo? 735
  • Iago. No more of drowning, do you hear?
  • Roderigo. I am changed: I'll go sell all my land.


  • Iago. Thus do I ever make my fool my purse: 740
    For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane,
    If I would time expend with such a snipe.
    But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor:
    And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets
    He has done my office: I know not if't be true; 745
    But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
    Will do as if for surety. He holds me well;
    The better shall my purpose work on him.
    Cassio's a proper man: let me see now:
    To get his place and to plume up my will 750
    In double knavery—How, how? Let's see:—
    After some time, to abuse Othello's ear
    That he is too familiar with his wife.
    He hath a person and a smooth dispose
    To be suspected, framed to make women false. 755
    The Moor is of a free and open nature,
    That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
    And will as tenderly be led by the nose
    As asses are.
    I have't. It is engender'd. Hell and night 760
    Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light.