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The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice

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Act IV, Scene 2

A room in the castle.



  • Othello. You have seen nothing then?
  • Emilia. Nor ever heard, nor ever did suspect.
  • Othello. Yes, you have seen Cassio and she together.
  • Emilia. But then I saw no harm, and then I heard 2740
    Each syllable that breath made up between them.
  • Othello. What, did they never whisper?
  • Othello. Nor send you out o' the way?
  • Othello. To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing?
  • Emilia. I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
    Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other, 2750
    Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom.
    If any wretch have put this in your head,
    Let heaven requite it with the serpent's curse!
    For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true,
    There's no man happy; the purest of their wives 2755
    Is foul as slander.
  • Othello. Bid her come hither: go.
    [Exit EMILIA]
    She says enough; yet she's a simple bawd
    That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore, 2760
    A closet lock and key of villanous secrets
    And yet she'll kneel and pray; I have seen her do't.


  • Othello. Pray, chuck, come hither. 2765
  • Othello. Let me see your eyes;
    Look in my face.
  • Othello. [To EMILIA] Some of your function, mistress; 2770
    Leave procreants alone and shut the door;
    Cough, or cry 'hem,' if any body come:
    Your mystery, your mystery: nay, dispatch.


  • Desdemona. Upon my knees, what doth your speech import? 2775
    I understand a fury in your words.
    But not the words.
  • Desdemona. Your wife, my lord; your true
    And loyal wife. 2780
  • Othello. Come, swear it, damn thyself
    Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves
    Should fear to seize thee: therefore be double damn'd:
    Swear thou art honest.
  • Othello. Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.
  • Desdemona. To whom, my lord? with whom? how am I false?
  • Othello. O Desdemona! away! away! away!
  • Desdemona. Alas the heavy day! Why do you weep?
    Am I the motive of these tears, my lord? 2790
    If haply you my father do suspect
    An instrument of this your calling back,
    Lay not your blame on me: If you have lost him,
    Why, I have lost him too.
  • Othello. Had it pleased heaven 2795
    To try me with affliction; had they rain'd
    All kinds of sores and shames on my bare head.
    Steep'd me in poverty to the very lips,
    Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes,
    I should have found in some place of my soul 2800
    A drop of patience: but, alas, to make me
    A fixed figure for the time of scorn
    To point his slow unmoving finger at!
    Yet could I bear that too; well, very well:
    But there, where I have garner'd up my heart, 2805
    Where either I must live, or bear no life;
    The fountain from the which my current runs,
    Or else dries up; to be discarded thence!
    Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
    To knot and gender in! Turn thy complexion there, 2810
    Patience, thou young and rose-lipp'd cherubin,—
    Ay, there, look grim as hell!
  • Desdemona. I hope my noble lord esteems me honest.
  • Othello. O, ay; as summer flies are in the shambles,
    That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed, 2815
    Who art so lovely fair and smell'st so sweet
    That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst
    ne'er been born!
  • Desdemona. Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?
  • Othello. Was this fair paper, this most goodly book, 2820
    Made to write 'whore' upon? What committed!
    Committed! O thou public commoner!
    I should make very forges of my cheeks,
    That would to cinders burn up modesty,
    Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed! 2825
    Heaven stops the nose at it and the moon winks,
    The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets
    Is hush'd within the hollow mine of earth,
    And will not hear it. What committed!
    Impudent strumpet! 2830
  • Desdemona. No, as I am a Christian:
    If to preserve this vessel for my lord
    From any other foul unlawful touch 2835
    Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.
  • Othello. I cry you mercy, then:
    I took you for that cunning whore of Venice
    That married with Othello.
    [Raising his voice]
    You, mistress, 2845
    That have the office opposite to Saint Peter,
    And keep the gate of hell!
    [Re-enter EMILIA]
    You, you, ay, you!
    We have done our course; there's money for your pains: 2850
    I pray you, turn the key and keep our counsel.


  • Emilia. Alas, what does this gentleman conceive?
    How do you, madam? how do you, my good lady?
  • Emilia. Good madam, what's the matter with my lord?
  • Emilia. Why, with my lord, madam.
  • Emilia. He that is yours, sweet lady. 2860
  • Desdemona. I have none: do not talk to me, Emilia;
    I cannot weep; nor answer have I none,
    But what should go by water. Prithee, tonight
    Lay on my bed my wedding sheets: remember;
    And call thy husband hither. 2865
  • Emilia. Here's a change indeed!


  • Desdemona. 'Tis meet I should be used so, very meet.
    How have I been behaved, that he might stick
    The small'st opinion on my least misuse? 2870

[Re-enter EMILIA with IAGO]

  • Iago. What is your pleasure, madam?
    How is't with you?
  • Desdemona. I cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes
    Do it with gentle means and easy tasks: 2875
    He might have chid me so; for, in good faith,
    I am a child to chiding.
  • Iago. What's the matter, lady?
  • Emilia. Alas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her.
    Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her, 2880
    As true hearts cannot bear.
  • Iago. What name, fair lady?
  • Desdemona. Such as she says my lord did say I was.
  • Emilia. He call'd her whore: a beggar in his drink 2885
    Could not have laid such terms upon his callat.
  • Iago. Why did he so?
  • Desdemona. I do not know; I am sure I am none such.
  • Iago. Do not weep, do not weep. Alas the day!
  • Emilia. Hath she forsook so many noble matches, 2890
    Her father and her country and her friends,
    To be call'd whore? would it not make one weep?
  • Iago. Beshrew him for't!
    How comes this trick upon him? 2895
  • Emilia. I will be hang'd, if some eternal villain,
    Some busy and insinuating rogue,
    Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
    Have not devised this slander; I'll be hang'd else. 2900
  • Iago. Fie, there is no such man; it is impossible.
  • Desdemona. If any such there be, heaven pardon him!
  • Emilia. A halter pardon him! and hell gnaw his bones!
    Why should he call her whore? who keeps her company?
    What place? what time? what form? what likelihood? 2905
    The Moor's abused by some most villanous knave,
    Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow.
    O heaven, that such companions thou'ldst unfold,
    And put in every honest hand a whip
    To lash the rascals naked through the world 2910
    Even from the east to the west!
  • Iago. Speak within door.
  • Emilia. O, fie upon them! Some such squire he was
    That turn'd your wit the seamy side without,
    And made you to suspect me with the Moor. 2915
  • Iago. You are a fool; go to.
  • Desdemona. O good Iago,
    What shall I do to win my lord again?
    Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,
    I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel: 2920
    If e'er my will did trespass 'gainst his love,
    Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,
    Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,
    Delighted them in any other form;
    Or that I do not yet, and ever did. 2925
    And ever will—though he do shake me off
    To beggarly divorcement—love him dearly,
    Comfort forswear me! Unkindness may do much;
    And his unkindness may defeat my life,
    But never taint my love. I cannot say 'whore:' 2930
    It does abhor me now I speak the word;
    To do the act that might the addition earn
    Not the world's mass of vanity could make me.
  • Iago. I pray you, be content; 'tis but his humour:
    The business of the state does him offence, 2935
    And he does chide with you.
  • Iago. 'Tis but so, I warrant.
    [Trumpets within]
    Hark, how these instruments summon to supper! 2940
    The messengers of Venice stay the meat;
    Go in, and weep not; all things shall be well.
    [Exeunt DESDEMONA and EMILIA]
    [Enter RODERIGO]
    How now, Roderigo! 2945
  • Roderigo. I do not find that thou dealest justly with me.
  • Iago. What in the contrary?
  • Roderigo. Every day thou daffest me with some device, Iago;
    and rather, as it seems to me now, keepest from me
    all conveniency than suppliest me with the least 2950
    advantage of hope. I will indeed no longer endure
    it, nor am I yet persuaded to put up in peace what
    already I have foolishly suffered.
  • Iago. Will you hear me, Roderigo?
  • Roderigo. 'Faith, I have heard too much, for your words and 2955
    performances are no kin together.
  • Iago. You charge me most unjustly.
  • Roderigo. With nought but truth. I have wasted myself out of
    my means. The jewels you have had from me to
    deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a 2960
    votarist: you have told me she hath received them
    and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden
    respect and acquaintance, but I find none.
  • Iago. Well; go to; very well.
  • Roderigo. Very well! go to! I cannot go to, man; nor 'tis 2965
    not very well: nay, I think it is scurvy, and begin
    to find myself fobbed in it.
  • Roderigo. I tell you 'tis not very well. I will make myself
    known to Desdemona: if she will return me my 2970
    jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my
    unlawful solicitation; if not, assure yourself I
    will seek satisfaction of you.
  • Iago. You have said now.
  • Roderigo. Ay, and said nothing but what I protest intendment of doing. 2975
  • Iago. Why, now I see there's mettle in thee, and even from
    this instant to build on thee a better opinion than
    ever before. Give me thy hand, Roderigo: thou hast
    taken against me a most just exception; but yet, I
    protest, I have dealt most directly in thy affair. 2980
  • Iago. I grant indeed it hath not appeared, and your
    suspicion is not without wit and judgment. But,
    Roderigo, if thou hast that in thee indeed, which I
    have greater reason to believe now than ever, I mean 2985
    purpose, courage and valour, this night show it: if
    thou the next night following enjoy not Desdemona,
    take me from this world with treachery and devise
    engines for my life.
  • Roderigo. Well, what is it? is it within reason and compass? 2990
  • Iago. Sir, there is especial commission come from Venice
    to depute Cassio in Othello's place.
  • Roderigo. Is that true? why, then Othello and Desdemona
    return again to Venice.
  • Iago. O, no; he goes into Mauritania and takes away with 2995
    him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be
    lingered here by some accident: wherein none can be
    so determinate as the removing of Cassio.
  • Roderigo. How do you mean, removing of him?
  • Iago. Why, by making him uncapable of Othello's place; 3000
    knocking out his brains.
  • Roderigo. And that you would have me to do?
  • Iago. Ay, if you dare do yourself a profit and a right.
    He sups to-night with a harlotry, and thither will I
    go to him: he knows not yet of his horrorable 3005
    fortune. If you will watch his going thence, which
    I will fashion to fall out between twelve and one,
    you may take him at your pleasure: I will be near
    to second your attempt, and he shall fall between
    us. Come, stand not amazed at it, but go along with 3010
    me; I will show you such a necessity in his death
    that you shall think yourself bound to put it on
    him. It is now high suppertime, and the night grows
    to waste: about it.
  • Roderigo. I will hear further reason for this. 3015
  • Iago. And you shall be satisfied.