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A breath thou art,
Servile to all the skyey influences.

      — Measure for Measure, Act III Scene 1


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The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice


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Scene 1. Before the castle.

Scene 2. A room in the castle.

Scene 3. The garden of the castle.

Scene 4. Before the castle.


Act III, Scene 1

Before the castle.

      next scene .

[Enter CASSIO and some Musicians]

  • Cassio. Masters, play here; I will content your pains;
    Something that's brief; and bid 'Good morrow, general.'


[Enter Clown]

  • Clown. Why masters, have your instruments been in Naples, 1550
    that they speak i' the nose thus?
  • Clown. Are these, I pray you, wind-instruments?
  • Clown. O, thereby hangs a tail. 1555
  • Clown. Marry. sir, by many a wind-instrument that I know.
    But, masters, here's money for you: and the general
    so likes your music, that he desires you, for love's
    sake, to make no more noise with it. 1560
  • Clown. If you have any music that may not be heard, to't
    again: but, as they say to hear music the general
    does not greatly care.
  • Clown. Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I'll away:
    go; vanish into air; away!

[Exeunt Musicians]

  • Cassio. Dost thou hear, my honest friend?
  • Clown. No, I hear not your honest friend; I hear you. 1570
  • Cassio. Prithee, keep up thy quillets. There's a poor piece
    of gold for thee: if the gentlewoman that attends
    the general's wife be stirring, tell her there's
    one Cassio entreats her a little favour of speech:
    wilt thou do this? 1575
  • Clown. She is stirring, sir: if she will stir hither, I
    shall seem to notify unto her.
  • Cassio. Do, good my friend.
    [Exit Clown]
    [Enter IAGO] 1580
    In happy time, Iago.
  • Iago. You have not been a-bed, then?
  • Cassio. Why, no; the day had broke
    Before we parted. I have made bold, Iago,
    To send in to your wife: my suit to her 1585
    Is, that she will to virtuous Desdemona
    Procure me some access.
  • Iago. I'll send her to you presently;
    And I'll devise a mean to draw the Moor
    Out of the way, that your converse and business 1590
    May be more free.
  • Cassio. I humbly thank you for't.
    [Exit IAGO]
    I never knew
    A Florentine more kind and honest. 1595

[Enter EMILIA]

  • Emilia. Good morrow, good Lieutenant: I am sorry
    For your displeasure; but all will sure be well.
    The general and his wife are talking of it;
    And she speaks for you stoutly: the Moor replies, 1600
    That he you hurt is of great fame in Cyprus,
    And great affinity, and that in wholesome wisdom
    He might not but refuse you; but he protests he loves you
    And needs no other suitor but his likings
    To take the safest occasion by the front 1605
    To bring you in again.
  • Cassio. Yet, I beseech you,
    If you think fit, or that it may be done,
    Give me advantage of some brief discourse
    With Desdemona alone. 1610
  • Emilia. Pray you, come in;
    I will bestow you where you shall have time
    To speak your bosom freely.
  • Cassio. I am much bound to you.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

A room in the castle.

      next scene .

[Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Gentlemen]

  • Othello. These letters give, Iago, to the pilot;
    And by him do my duties to the senate:
    That done, I will be walking on the works;
    Repair there to me. 1620
  • Iago. Well, my good lord, I'll do't.
  • Othello. This fortification, gentlemen, shall we see't?


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

The garden of the castle.

      next scene .


  • Desdemona. Be thou assured, good Cassio, I will do
    All my abilities in thy behalf.
  • Emilia. Good madam, do: I warrant it grieves my husband,
    As if the case were his.
  • Desdemona. O, that's an honest fellow. Do not doubt, Cassio, 1630
    But I will have my lord and you again
    As friendly as you were.
  • Cassio. Bounteous madam,
    Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio,
    He's never any thing but your true servant. 1635
  • Desdemona. I know't; I thank you. You do love my lord:
    You have known him long; and be you well assured
    He shall in strangeness stand no further off
    Than in a polite distance.
  • Cassio. Ay, but, lady, 1640
    That policy may either last so long,
    Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet,
    Or breed itself so out of circumstance,
    That, I being absent and my place supplied,
    My general will forget my love and service. 1645
  • Desdemona. Do not doubt that; before Emilia here
    I give thee warrant of thy place: assure thee,
    If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it
    To the last article: my lord shall never rest;
    I'll watch him tame and talk him out of patience; 1650
    His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift;
    I'll intermingle every thing he does
    With Cassio's suit: therefore be merry, Cassio;
    For thy solicitor shall rather die
    Than give thy cause away. 1655
  • Emilia. Madam, here comes my lord.
  • Cassio. Madam, I'll take my leave.
  • Cassio. Madam, not now: I am very ill at ease,
    Unfit for mine own purposes. 1660


[Enter OTHELLO and IAGO]

  • Iago. Ha! I like not that.
  • Iago. Nothing, my lord: or if—I know not what.
  • Othello. Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?
  • Iago. Cassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it,
    That he would steal away so guilty-like,
    Seeing you coming. 1670
  • Desdemona. How now, my lord!
    I have been talking with a suitor here,
    A man that languishes in your displeasure.
  • Desdemona. Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord,
    If I have any grace or power to move you,
    His present reconciliation take;
    For if he be not one that truly loves you,
    That errs in ignorance and not in cunning, 1680
    I have no judgment in an honest face:
    I prithee, call him back.
  • Desdemona. Ay, sooth; so humbled
    That he hath left part of his grief with me, 1685
    To suffer with him. Good love, call him back.
  • Othello. Not now, sweet Desdemona; some other time.
  • Othello. The sooner, sweet, for you.
  • Desdemona. Shall't be to-night at supper? 1690
  • Othello. I shall not dine at home;
    I meet the captains at the citadel.
  • Desdemona. Why, then, to-morrow night; or Tuesday morn; 1695
    On Tuesday noon, or night; on Wednesday morn:
    I prithee, name the time, but let it not
    Exceed three days: in faith, he's penitent;
    And yet his trespass, in our common reason—
    Save that, they say, the wars must make examples 1700
    Out of their best—is not almost a fault
    To incur a private cheque. When shall he come?
    Tell me, Othello: I wonder in my soul,
    What you would ask me, that I should deny,
    Or stand so mammering on. What! Michael Cassio, 1705
    That came a-wooing with you, and so many a time,
    When I have spoke of you dispraisingly,
    Hath ta'en your part; to have so much to do
    To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much,—
  • Othello. Prithee, no more: let him come when he will; 1710
    I will deny thee nothing.
  • Desdemona. Why, this is not a boon;
    'Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves,
    Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm,
    Or sue to you to do a peculiar profit 1715
    To your own person: nay, when I have a suit
    Wherein I mean to touch your love indeed,
    It shall be full of poise and difficult weight
    And fearful to be granted.
  • Othello. I will deny thee nothing: 1720
    Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,
    To leave me but a little to myself.
  • Desdemona. Shall I deny you? no: farewell, my lord.
  • Othello. Farewell, my Desdemona: I'll come to thee straight.
  • Desdemona. Emilia, come. Be as your fancies teach you; 1725
    Whate'er you be, I am obedient.


  • Othello. Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
    But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
    Chaos is come again. 1730
  • Iago. My noble lord—
  • Othello. What dost thou say, Iago?
  • Iago. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady,
    Know of your love?
  • Othello. He did, from first to last: why dost thou ask? 1735
  • Iago. But for a satisfaction of my thought;
    No further harm.
  • Othello. Why of thy thought, Iago?
  • Iago. I did not think he had been acquainted with her.
  • Othello. O, yes; and went between us very oft. 1740
  • Othello. Indeed! ay, indeed: discern'st thou aught in that?
    Is he not honest?
  • Iago. Honest, my lord!
  • Iago. My lord, for aught I know.
  • Iago. Think, my lord!
  • Othello. Think, my lord!
    By heaven, he echoes me, 1750
    As if there were some monster in his thought
    Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something:
    I heard thee say even now, thou likedst not that,
    When Cassio left my wife: what didst not like?
    And when I told thee he was of my counsel 1755
    In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst 'Indeed!'
    And didst contract and purse thy brow together,
    As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain
    Some horrible conceit: if thou dost love me,
    Show me thy thought. 1760
  • Iago. My lord, you know I love you.
  • Othello. I think thou dost;
    And, for I know thou'rt full of love and honesty,
    And weigh'st thy words before thou givest them breath,
    Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more: 1765
    For such things in a false disloyal knave
    Are tricks of custom, but in a man that's just
    They are close delations, working from the heart
    That passion cannot rule.
  • Iago. For Michael Cassio, 1770
    I dare be sworn I think that he is honest.
  • Iago. Men should be what they seem;
    Or those that be not, would they might seem none!
  • Othello. Certain, men should be what they seem. 1775
  • Iago. Why, then, I think Cassio's an honest man.
  • Othello. Nay, yet there's more in this:
    I prithee, speak to me as to thy thinkings,
    As thou dost ruminate, and give thy worst of thoughts
    The worst of words. 1780
  • Iago. Good my lord, pardon me:
    Though I am bound to every act of duty,
    I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.
    Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false;
    As where's that palace whereinto foul things 1785
    Sometimes intrude not? who has a breast so pure,
    But some uncleanly apprehensions
    Keep leets and law-days and in session sit
    With meditations lawful?
  • Othello. Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago, 1790
    If thou but think'st him wrong'd and makest his ear
    A stranger to thy thoughts.
  • Iago. I do beseech you—
    Though I perchance am vicious in my guess,
    As, I confess, it is my nature's plague 1795
    To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy
    Shapes faults that are not—that your wisdom yet,
    From one that so imperfectly conceits,
    Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble
    Out of his scattering and unsure observance. 1800
    It were not for your quiet nor your good,
    Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,
    To let you know my thoughts.
  • Iago. Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, 1805
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
    Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
    'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands:
    But he that filches from me my good name
    Robs me of that which not enriches him 1810
    And makes me poor indeed.
  • Othello. By heaven, I'll know thy thoughts.
  • Iago. You cannot, if my heart were in your hand;
    Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody.
  • Iago. O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
    It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
    The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
    Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
    But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er 1820
    Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!
  • Iago. Poor and content is rich and rich enough,
    But riches fineless is as poor as winter
    To him that ever fears he shall be poor. 1825
    Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend
    From jealousy!
  • Othello. Why, why is this?
    Think'st thou I'ld make a lie of jealousy,
    To follow still the changes of the moon 1830
    With fresh suspicions? No; to be once in doubt
    Is once to be resolved: exchange me for a goat,
    When I shall turn the business of my soul
    To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,
    Matching thy inference. 'Tis not to make me jealous 1835
    To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,
    Is free of speech, sings, plays and dances well;
    Where virtue is, these are more virtuous:
    Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw
    The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt; 1840
    For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago;
    I'll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
    And on the proof, there is no more but this,—
    Away at once with love or jealousy!
  • Iago. I am glad of it; for now I shall have reason 1845
    To show the love and duty that I bear you
    With franker spirit: therefore, as I am bound,
    Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof.
    Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
    Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure: 1850
    I would not have your free and noble nature,
    Out of self-bounty, be abused; look to't:
    I know our country disposition well;
    In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks
    They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience 1855
    Is not to leave't undone, but keep't unknown.
  • Iago. She did deceive her father, marrying you;
    And when she seem'd to shake and fear your looks,
    She loved them most. 1860
  • Iago. Why, go to then;
    She that, so young, could give out such a seeming,
    To seal her father's eyes up close as oak-
    He thought 'twas witchcraft—but I am much to blame; 1865
    I humbly do beseech you of your pardon
    For too much loving you.
  • Othello. I am bound to thee for ever.
  • Iago. I see this hath a little dash'd your spirits.
  • Othello. Not a jot, not a jot. 1870
  • Iago. I' faith, I fear it has.
    I hope you will consider what is spoke
    Comes from my love. But I do see you're moved:
    I am to pray you not to strain my speech
    To grosser issues nor to larger reach 1875
    Than to suspicion.
  • Iago. Should you do so, my lord,
    My speech should fall into such vile success
    As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio's my worthy friend— 1880
    My lord, I see you're moved.
  • Othello. No, not much moved:
    I do not think but Desdemona's honest.
  • Iago. Long live she so! and long live you to think so!
  • Othello. And yet, how nature erring from itself,— 1885
  • Iago. Ay, there's the point: as—to be bold with you—
    Not to affect many proposed matches
    Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,
    Whereto we see in all things nature tends—
    Foh! one may smell in such a will most rank, 1890
    Foul disproportion thoughts unnatural.
    But pardon me; I do not in position
    Distinctly speak of her; though I may fear
    Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
    May fall to match you with her country forms 1895
    And happily repent.
  • Othello. Farewell, farewell:
    If more thou dost perceive, let me know more;
    Set on thy wife to observe: leave me, Iago:
  • Iago. [Going] My lord, I take my leave. 1900
  • Othello. Why did I marry? This honest creature doubtless
    Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.
  • Iago. [Returning] My lord, I would I might entreat
    your honour
    To scan this thing no further; leave it to time: 1905
    Though it be fit that Cassio have his place,
    For sure, he fills it up with great ability,
    Yet, if you please to hold him off awhile,
    You shall by that perceive him and his means:
    Note, if your lady strain his entertainment 1910
    With any strong or vehement importunity;
    Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,
    Let me be thought too busy in my fears—
    As worthy cause I have to fear I am—
    And hold her free, I do beseech your honour. 1915
  • Iago. I once more take my leave.


  • Othello. This fellow's of exceeding honesty,
    And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit, 1920
    Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,
    Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,
    I'ld whistle her off and let her down the wind,
    To pray at fortune. Haply, for I am black
    And have not those soft parts of conversation 1925
    That chamberers have, or for I am declined
    Into the vale of years,—yet that's not much—
    She's gone. I am abused; and my relief
    Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,
    That we can call these delicate creatures ours, 1930
    And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
    And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,
    Than keep a corner in the thing I love
    For others' uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones;
    Prerogatived are they less than the base; 1935
    'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death:
    Even then this forked plague is fated to us
    When we do quicken. Desdemona comes:
    [Re-enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA]
    If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself! 1940
    I'll not believe't.
  • Desdemona. How now, my dear Othello!
    Your dinner, and the generous islanders
    By you invited, do attend your presence.
  • Desdemona. Why do you speak so faintly?
    Are you not well?
  • Othello. I have a pain upon my forehead here.
  • Desdemona. 'Faith, that's with watching; 'twill away again:
    Let me but bind it hard, within this hour 1950
    It will be well.
  • Othello. Your napkin is too little:
    [He puts the handkerchief from him; and it drops]
    Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you.
  • Desdemona. I am very sorry that you are not well. 1955


  • Emilia. I am glad I have found this napkin:
    This was her first remembrance from the Moor:
    My wayward husband hath a hundred times
    Woo'd me to steal it; but she so loves the token, 1960
    For he conjured her she should ever keep it,
    That she reserves it evermore about her
    To kiss and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out,
    And give't Iago: what he will do with it
    Heaven knows, not I; 1965
    I nothing but to please his fantasy.

[Re-enter Iago]

  • Iago. How now! what do you here alone?
  • Emilia. Do not you chide; I have a thing for you.
  • Iago. A thing for me? it is a common thing— 1970
  • Iago. To have a foolish wife.
  • Emilia. O, is that all? What will you give me now
    For the same handkerchief?
  • Iago. What handkerchief? 1975
  • Emilia. What handkerchief?
    Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona;
    That which so often you did bid me steal.
  • Iago. Hast stol'n it from her?
  • Emilia. No, 'faith; she let it drop by negligence. 1980
    And, to the advantage, I, being here, took't up.
    Look, here it is.
  • Iago. A good wench; give it me.
  • Emilia. What will you do with 't, that you have been
    so earnest 1985
    To have me filch it?
  • Iago. [Snatching it] Why, what's that to you?
  • Emilia. If it be not for some purpose of import,
    Give't me again: poor lady, she'll run mad
    When she shall lack it. 1990
  • Iago. Be not acknown on 't; I have use for it.
    Go, leave me.
    [Exit EMILIA]
    I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin,
    And let him find it. Trifles light as air 1995
    Are to the jealous confirmations strong
    As proofs of holy writ: this may do something.
    The Moor already changes with my poison:
    Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
    Which at the first are scarce found to distaste, 2000
    But with a little act upon the blood.
    Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so:
    Look, where he comes!
    [Re-enter OTHELLO]
    Not poppy, nor mandragora, 2005
    Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
    Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
    Which thou owedst yesterday.
  • Iago. Why, how now, general! no more of that. 2010
  • Othello. Avaunt! be gone! thou hast set me on the rack:
    I swear 'tis better to be much abused
    Than but to know't a little.
  • Iago. How now, my lord!
  • Othello. What sense had I of her stol'n hours of lust? 2015
    I saw't not, thought it not, it harm'd not me:
    I slept the next night well, was free and merry;
    I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips:
    He that is robb'd, not wanting what is stol'n,
    Let him not know't, and he's not robb'd at all. 2020
  • Iago. I am sorry to hear this.
  • Othello. I had been happy, if the general camp,
    Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body,
    So I had nothing known. O, now, for ever
    Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content! 2025
    Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars,
    That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
    Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
    The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
    The royal banner, and all quality, 2030
    Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!
    And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
    The immortal Jove's dead clamours counterfeit,
    Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!
  • Iago. Is't possible, my lord? 2035
  • Othello. Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore,
    Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof:
    Or by the worth of man's eternal soul,
    Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
    Than answer my waked wrath! 2040
  • Iago. Is't come to this?
  • Othello. Make me to see't; or, at the least, so prove it,
    That the probation bear no hinge nor loop
    To hang a doubt on; or woe upon thy life!
  • Iago. My noble lord,— 2045
  • Othello. If thou dost slander her and torture me,
    Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
    On horror's head horrors accumulate;
    Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;
    For nothing canst thou to damnation add 2050
    Greater than that.
  • Iago. O grace! O heaven forgive me!
    Are you a man? have you a soul or sense?
    God be wi' you; take mine office. O wretched fool.
    That livest to make thine honesty a vice! 2055
    O monstrous world! Take note, take note, O world,
    To be direct and honest is not safe.
    I thank you for this profit; and from hence
    I'll love no friend, sith love breeds such offence.
  • Othello. Nay, stay: thou shouldst be honest. 2060
  • Iago. I should be wise, for honesty's a fool
    And loses that it works for.
  • Othello. By the world,
    I think my wife be honest and think she is not;
    I think that thou art just and think thou art not. 2065
    I'll have some proof. Her name, that was as fresh
    As Dian's visage, is now begrimed and black
    As mine own face. If there be cords, or knives,
    Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams,
    I'll not endure it. Would I were satisfied! 2070
  • Iago. I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion:
    I do repent me that I put it to you.
    You would be satisfied?
  • Iago. And may: but, how? how satisfied, my lord? 2075
    Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on—
    Behold her topp'd?
  • Iago. It were a tedious difficulty, I think,
    To bring them to that prospect: damn them then, 2080
    If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster
    More than their own! What then? how then?
    What shall I say? Where's satisfaction?
    It is impossible you should see this,
    Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys, 2085
    As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross
    As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say,
    If imputation and strong circumstances,
    Which lead directly to the door of truth,
    Will give you satisfaction, you may have't. 2090
  • Othello. Give me a living reason she's disloyal.
  • Iago. I do not like the office:
    But, sith I am enter'd in this cause so far,
    Prick'd to't by foolish honesty and love,
    I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately; 2095
    And, being troubled with a raging tooth,
    I could not sleep.
    There are a kind of men so loose of soul,
    That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs:
    One of this kind is Cassio: 2100
    In sleep I heard him say 'Sweet Desdemona,
    Let us be wary, let us hide our loves;'
    And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand,
    Cry 'O sweet creature!' and then kiss me hard,
    As if he pluck'd up kisses by the roots 2105
    That grew upon my lips: then laid his leg
    Over my thigh, and sigh'd, and kiss'd; and then
    Cried 'Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!'
  • Iago. Nay, this was but his dream. 2110
  • Othello. But this denoted a foregone conclusion:
    'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.
  • Iago. And this may help to thicken other proofs
    That do demonstrate thinly.
  • Othello. I'll tear her all to pieces. 2115
  • Iago. Nay, but be wise: yet we see nothing done;
    She may be honest yet. Tell me but this,
    Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief
    Spotted with strawberries in your wife's hand?
  • Othello. I gave her such a one; 'twas my first gift. 2120
  • Iago. I know not that; but such a handkerchief—
    I am sure it was your wife's—did I to-day
    See Cassio wipe his beard with.
  • Iago. If it be that, or any that was hers, 2125
    It speaks against her with the other proofs.
  • Othello. O, that the slave had forty thousand lives!
    One is too poor, too weak for my revenge.
    Now do I see 'tis true. Look here, Iago;
    All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven. 2130
    'Tis gone.
    Arise, black vengeance, from thy hollow cell!
    Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne
    To tyrannous hate! Swell, bosom, with thy fraught,
    For 'tis of aspics' tongues! 2135
  • Iago. Yet be content.
  • Iago. Patience, I say; your mind perhaps may change.
  • Othello. Never, Iago: Like to the Pontic sea,
    Whose icy current and compulsive course 2140
    Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
    To the Propontic and the Hellespont,
    Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
    Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love,
    Till that a capable and wide revenge 2145
    Swallow them up. Now, by yond marble heaven,
    In the due reverence of a sacred vow
    I here engage my words.
  • Iago. Do not rise yet. 2150
    Witness, you ever-burning lights above,
    You elements that clip us round about,
    Witness that here Iago doth give up
    The execution of his wit, hands, heart, 2155
    To wrong'd Othello's service! Let him command,
    And to obey shall be in me remorse,
    What bloody business ever.

[They rise]

  • Othello. I greet thy love, 2160
    Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance bounteous,
    And will upon the instant put thee to't:
    Within these three days let me hear thee say
    That Cassio's not alive.
  • Iago. My friend is dead; 'tis done at your request: 2165
    But let her live.
  • Othello. Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her!
    Come, go with me apart; I will withdraw,
    To furnish me with some swift means of death
    For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant. 2170
  • Iago. I am your own for ever.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 4

Before the castle.


[Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and Clown]

  • Desdemona. Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies?
  • Clown. I dare not say he lies any where. 2175
  • Clown. He's a soldier, and for one to say a soldier lies,
    is stabbing.
  • Clown. To tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where I lie. 2180
  • Clown. I know not where he lodges, and for me to devise a
    lodging and say he lies here or he lies there, were
    to lie in mine own throat.
  • Desdemona. Can you inquire him out, and be edified by report? 2185
  • Clown. I will catechise the world for him; that is, make
    questions, and by them answer.
  • Desdemona. Seek him, bid him come hither: tell him I have
    moved my lord on his behalf, and hope all will be well.
  • Clown. To do this is within the compass of man's wit: and 2190
    therefore I will attempt the doing it.


  • Desdemona. Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?
  • Desdemona. Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse 2195
    Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor
    Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
    As jealous creatures are, it were enough
    To put him to ill thinking.
  • Emilia. Is he not jealous? 2200
  • Desdemona. Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
    Drew all such humours from him.
  • Emilia. Look, where he comes.
  • Desdemona. I will not leave him now till Cassio
    Be call'd to him. 2205
    [Enter OTHELLO]
    How is't with you, my lord
  • Othello. Well, my good lady.
    O, hardness to dissemble!— 2210
    How do you, Desdemona?
  • Othello. Give me your hand: this hand is moist, my lady.
  • Desdemona. It yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.
  • Othello. This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart: 2215
    Hot, hot, and moist: this hand of yours requires
    A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer,
    Much castigation, exercise devout;
    For here's a young and sweating devil here,
    That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand, 2220
    A frank one.
  • Desdemona. You may, indeed, say so;
    For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart.
  • Othello. A liberal hand: the hearts of old gave hands;
    But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts. 2225
  • Desdemona. I cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.
  • Desdemona. I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.
  • Othello. I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
    Lend me thy handkerchief. 2230
  • Othello. That is a fault.
    That handkerchief
    Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
    She was a charmer, and could almost read
    The thoughts of people: she told her, while 2240
    she kept it,
    'Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
    Entirely to her love, but if she lost it
    Or made gift of it, my father's eye
    Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt 2245
    After new fancies: she, dying, gave it me;
    And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,
    To give it her. I did so: and take heed on't;
    Make it a darling like your precious eye;
    To lose't or give't away were such perdition 2250
    As nothing else could match.
  • Othello. 'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it:
    A sibyl, that had number'd in the world
    The sun to course two hundred compasses, 2255
    In her prophetic fury sew'd the work;
    The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk;
    And it was dyed in mummy which the skilful
    Conserved of maidens' hearts.
  • Othello. Most veritable; therefore look to't well.
  • Desdemona. Then would to God that I had never seen't!
  • Desdemona. Why do you speak so startingly and rash?
  • Othello. Is't lost? is't gone? speak, is it out 2265
    o' the way?
  • Desdemona. It is not lost; but what an if it were?
  • Desdemona. Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now.
    This is a trick to put me from my suit:
    Pray you, let Cassio be received again. 2275
  • Othello. Fetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives.
  • Desdemona. Come, come;
    You'll never meet a more sufficient man.
  • Desdemona. A man that all his time
    Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
    Shared dangers with you,—


  • Emilia. Is not this man jealous?
  • Desdemona. I ne'er saw this before. 2290
    Sure, there's some wonder in this handkerchief:
    I am most unhappy in the loss of it.
  • Emilia. 'Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
    They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
    To eat us hungerly, and when they are full, 2295
    They belch us. Look you, Cassio and my husband!

[Enter CASSIO and IAGO]

  • Iago. There is no other way; 'tis she must do't:
    And, lo, the happiness! go, and importune her.
  • Desdemona. How now, good Cassio! what's the news with you? 2300
  • Cassio. Madam, my former suit: I do beseech you
    That by your virtuous means I may again
    Exist, and be a member of his love
    Whom I with all the office of my heart
    Entirely honour: I would not be delay'd. 2305
    If my offence be of such mortal kind
    That nor my service past, nor present sorrows,
    Nor purposed merit in futurity,
    Can ransom me into his love again,
    But to know so must be my benefit; 2310
    So shall I clothe me in a forced content,
    And shut myself up in some other course,
    To fortune's alms.
  • Desdemona. Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio!
    My advocation is not now in tune; 2315
    My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him,
    Were he in favour as in humour alter'd.
    So help me every spirit sanctified,
    As I have spoken for you all my best
    And stood within the blank of his displeasure 2320
    For my free speech! you must awhile be patient:
    What I can do I will; and more I will
    Than for myself I dare: let that suffice you.
  • Iago. Is my lord angry?
  • Emilia. He went hence but now, 2325
    And certainly in strange unquietness.
  • Iago. Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
    When it hath blown his ranks into the air,
    And, like the devil, from his very arm
    Puff'd his own brother:—and can he be angry? 2330
    Something of moment then: I will go meet him:
    There's matter in't indeed, if he be angry.
  • Desdemona. I prithee, do so.
    [Exit IAGO]
    Something, sure, of state, 2335
    Either from Venice, or some unhatch'd practise
    Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,
    Hath puddled his clear spirit: and in such cases
    Men's natures wrangle with inferior things,
    Though great ones are their object. 'Tis even so; 2340
    For let our finger ache, and it indues
    Our other healthful members even to that sense
    Of pain: nay, we must think men are not gods,
    Nor of them look for such observances
    As fit the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia, 2345
    I was, unhandsome warrior as I am,
    Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
    But now I find I had suborn'd the witness,
    And he's indicted falsely.
  • Emilia. Pray heaven it be state-matters, as you think, 2350
    And no conception nor no jealous toy
    Concerning you.
  • Desdemona. Alas the day! I never gave him cause.
  • Emilia. But jealous souls will not be answer'd so;
    They are not ever jealous for the cause, 2355
    But jealous for they are jealous: 'tis a monster
    Begot upon itself, born on itself.
  • Desdemona. Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind!
  • Desdemona. I will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout: 2360
    If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit
    And seek to effect it to my uttermost.
  • Cassio. I humbly thank your ladyship.


[Enter BIANCA]

  • Bianca. Save you, friend Cassio!
  • Cassio. What make you from home?
    How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?
    I' faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.
  • Bianca. And I was going to your lodging, Cassio. 2370
    What, keep a week away? seven days and nights?
    Eight score eight hours? and lovers' absent hours,
    More tedious than the dial eight score times?
    O weary reckoning!
  • Cassio. Pardon me, Bianca: 2375
    I have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd:
    But I shall, in a more continuate time,
    Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,
    [Giving her DESDEMONA's handkerchief]
    Take me this work out. 2380
  • Bianca. O Cassio, whence came this?
    This is some token from a newer friend:
    To the felt absence now I feel a cause:
    Is't come to this? Well, well.
  • Cassio. Go to, woman! 2385
    Throw your vile guesses in the devil's teeth,
    From whence you have them. You are jealous now
    That this is from some mistress, some remembrance:
    No, in good troth, Bianca.
  • Bianca. Why, whose is it? 2390
  • Cassio. I know not, sweet: I found it in my chamber.
    I like the work well: ere it be demanded—
    As like enough it will—I'ld have it copied:
    Take it, and do't; and leave me for this time.
  • Bianca. Leave you! wherefore? 2395
  • Cassio. I do attend here on the general;
    And think it no addition, nor my wish,
    To have him see me woman'd.
  • Cassio. Not that I love you not. 2400
  • Bianca. But that you do not love me.
    I pray you, bring me on the way a little,
    And say if I shall see you soon at night.
  • Cassio. 'Tis but a little way that I can bring you;
    For I attend here: but I'll see you soon. 2405
  • Bianca. 'Tis very good; I must be circumstanced.