Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jessica Slights
Not Peer Reviewed

Othello (Modern)


5.2
Enter Othello [with a light], and Desdemona in her bed.
3240Othello It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul.
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars.
It is the cause. Yet I'll not shed her blood,
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow
And smooth as monumental alabaster--
3245Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then put out the light--
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore
Should I repent me. But once put out thy light,
3250Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume. When I have plucked thy rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again;
3255It needs must wither. I'll smell thee on the tree.
[He kisses her.]
O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword--one more, one more.
[He kisses her.]
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee
And love thee after--one more, and that's the last.
[He kisses her.]
3260So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly;
It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.
Desdemona
Who's there? Othello?
Othello
Ay, Desdemona.
3265Desdemona Will you come to bed, my lord?
Othello
Have you prayed tonight, Desdemon?
Desdemona
Ay, my lord.
Othello If you bethink yourself of any crime
Unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace,
3270Solicit for it straight.
Desdemona Alack, my lord, what may you mean by that?
Othello Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by.
I would not kill thy unpreparèd spirit.
3275No, heavens forfend! --I would not kill thy soul.
Desdemona
Talk you of killing?
Othello
Ay, I do.
Desdemona
Then heaven have mercy on me.
Othello
Amen, with all my heart.
3280Desdemona If you say so, I hope you will not kill me.
Othello Humh.
Desdemona And yet I fear you, for you're fatal then
When your eyes roll so. Why I should fear I know not,
3285Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.
Othello
Think on thy sins.
Desdemona
They are loves I bear to you.
Othello Ay, and for that thou diest.
Desdemona That death's unnatural that kills for loving.
3290Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame.
These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope,
They do not point on me.
Othello
Peace, and be still.
3295Desdemona I will so. What's the matter?
Othello That handkerchief which I so loved and gave thee,
Thou gav'st to Cassio.
Desdemona
No, by my life and soul!
Send for the man and ask him.
3300Othello
Sweet soul, take heed;
Take heed of perjury; thou art on thy deathbed.
Desdemona
Ay, but not yet to die.
Othello
Yes, presently.
Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin;
3305For to deny each article with oath
Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.
Desdemona
O heaven have mercy on me!
Othello
I say amen.
3310Desdemona And have you mercy too. I never did
Offend you in my life, never loved Cassio
But with such general warranty of heaven
As I might love. I never gave him token.
Othello By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in's hand.
3315O perjured woman, thou dost stone my heart,
And makes me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice.
I saw the handkerchief.
Desdemona
He found it then.
3320I never gave it him. Send for him hither.
Let him confess a truth.
Othello
He hath confessed.
Desdemona
What, my lord?
Othello
That he hath--'ud's death!--used thee.
3325Desdemona
How? Unlawfully?
Othello
Ay.
Desdemona
He will not say so.
Othello No, his mouth is stopped.
Honest Iago hath ta'en order for't.
3330Desdemona Oh, my fear interprets. What, is he dead?
Othello Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge
Had stomach for them all.
Desdemona Alas, he is betrayed, and I undone.
Othello Out, strumpet! Weep'st thou for him to my face?
3335Desdemona Oh, banish me, my lord, but kill me not.
Othello Down, strumpet.
Desdemona Kill me tomorrow; let me live tonight.
Othello
Nay, if you strive.
Desdemona
But half an hour.
3340Othello
Being done, there is no pause.
Desdemona
But while I say one prayer.
Othello It is too late.
[Othello] smothers her.
Emilia [is heard] at the door.
Emilia [Within] My lord, my lord? What ho? 3345My lord, my lord!
Othello What noise is this? Not dead? Not yet quite dead?
I that am cruel am yet merciful;
I would not have thee linger in thy pain--
[Smothering her again] So, so.
3350Emilia
(Within) What ho? My lord, my lord?
Othello
Who's there?
Emilia O good my lord, I would speak a word with you.
Othello Yes--'Tis Emilia.--By and by! --She's dead.
3355'Tis like she comes to speak of Cassio's death.
The noise was high. Ha, no more moving?
Still as the grave. Shall she come in? Were't good?
I think she stirs again. No. What's best to do?
If she come in, she'll sure speak to my wife--
3360My wife, my wife--what wife? I have no wife.
O insupportable! O heavy hour!
Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse
Of sun and moon, and that th'affrighted globe
Did yawn at alteration.
3365Emilia
[Within] I do beseech you
That I may speak with you. O good my lord.
Othello I had forgot thee. O come in, Emilia.
Soft,--By and by!--let me the curtains draw.
[He closes the bed curtains.]
Where art thou? What's the matter with thee now?
3370
[He unlocks the door.] Enter Emilia.
Emilia O my good lord, yonder's foul murders done.
Othello
What? Now?
Emilia
But now, my lord.
3375Othello It is the very error of the moon;
She comes more nearer Earth than she was wont,
And makes men mad.
Emilia
Cassio, my lord, hath kill'd
A young Venetian called Roderigo.
3380Othello Roderigo killed? And Cassio killed?
Emilia No, Cassio is not killed.
Othello Not Cassio killed? Then murder's out of tune,
And sweet revenge grows harsh.
Desdemona Oh, falsely, falsely murdered.
3385Emilia
O Lord! What cry is that?
Othello
That? What?
Emilia Out and alas, that was my lady's voice!
[She opens the bed curtains.]
Help, help, ho, help! O lady, speak again.
Sweet Desdemona, O sweet mistress, speak.
3390Desdemona A guiltless death I die.
Emilia Oh, who hath done this deed?
Desdemona Nobody--I myself. Farewell--
Commend me to my kind lord--Oh, farewell.
[Desdemona dies.]
Othello
Why, how should she be murdered?
3395Emilia
Alas, who knows?
Othello You heard her say herself, it was not I.
Emilia She said so; I must needs report the truth.
Othello She's like a liar gone to burning hell;
'Twas I that killed her.
3400Emilia O the more angel she, and you the blacker devil.
Othello She turned to folly, and she was a whore.
Emilia Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil.
Othello
She was false as water.
3405Emilia
Thou art rash as fire
To say that she was false. Oh, she was heavenly true.
Othello Cassio did top her; ask thy husband else.
Oh, I were damned beneath all depth in hell,
But that I did proceed upon just grounds
3410To this extremity. Thy husband knew it all.
Emilia
My husband?
Othello
Thy husband.
Emilia
That she was false to wedlock?
Othello Ay, with Cassio. Had she been true,
3415If heaven would make me such another world
Of one entire and perfect chrysolite,
I'd not have sold her for it.
Emilia
My husband?
Othello Ay, 'twas he that told me on her first.
3420An honest man he is, and hates the slime
That sticks on filthy deeds.
Emilia
My husband?
Othello What needs this iterance, woman? I say, thy husband.
3425Emilia O mistress, villainy hath made mocks with love--
My husband say she was false?
Othello
He, woman;
I say thy husband--dost understand the word?--
3430My friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago.
Emilia If he say so, may his pernicious soul
Rot half a grain a day; he lies to th'heart.
She was too fond of her most filthy bargain.
Othello Ha?
3435Emilia Do thy worst.
This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven,
Than thou wast worthy her.
Othello
Peace, you were best.
Emilia Thou hast not half that power to do me harm
3440As I have to be hurt. O gull, O dolt,
As ignorant as dirt, thou hast done a deed--
[Othello threatens Emilia with his sword.]
I care not for thy sword; I'll make thee known
Though I lost twenty lives. Help, help, ho, help!
The Moor hath killed my mistress. Murder, murder!
3445
Enter Montano, Gratiano, and Iago.
Montano What is the matter? How now, general?
Emilia Oh, are you come, Iago? You have done well,
That men must lay their murders on your neck.
Gratiano What is the matter?
3450Emilia [To Iago] Disprove this villain, if thou be'st a man.
He says thou told'st him that his wife was false.
I know thou didst not; thou'rt not such a villain.
Speak, for my heart is full.
Iago I told him what I thought, 3455and told no more
Than what he found himself was apt and true.
Emilia But did you ever tell him she was false?
Iago I did.
3460Emilia You told a lie, an odious damnèd lie,
Upon my soul, a lie, a wicked lie.
She false with Cassio? Did you say with Cassio?
Iago With Cassio, mistress. 3465Go to, charm your tongue.
Emilia I will not charm my tongue; I am bound to speak.
My mistress here lies murdered in her bed.
All O heavens forfend!
3470Emilia And your reports have set the murder on.
Othello Nay, stare not, masters; it is true indeed.
Gratiano
'Tis a strange truth.
Montano
O monstrous act!
3475Emilia Villainy, villainy, villainy!
I think upon't, I think I smell't. O villainy--
I thought so then--I'll kill myself for grief!
O villainy! Villainy!
Iago What, are you mad? 3480I charge you get you home.
Emilia Good gentlemen, let me have leave to speak.
'Tis proper I obey him, but not now.
Perchance, Iago, I will ne'er go home.
Othello
Oh, Oh, Oh!
[Othello falls on the bed.]
3485Emilia
Nay, lay thee down and roar,
For thou hast killed the sweetest innocent
That ere did lift up eye.
Othello
Oh, she was foul!
I scarce did know you, uncle. There lies your niece,
3490Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly stopped.
I know this act shows horrible and grim.
Gratiano Poor Desdemon, I am glad thy father's dead;
Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief
3495Shore his old thread in twain. Did he live now,
This sight would make him do a desperate turn;
Yea, curse his better angel from his side
And fall to reprobance.
Othello 'Tis pitiful, but yet Iago knows
3500That she with Cassio hath the act of shame
A thousand times committed. Cassio confessed it,
And she did gratify his amorous works
With that recognizance and pledge of love
Which I first gave her;--I saw it in his hand--
3505It was a handkerchief, an antique token
My father gave my mother.
Emilia
O God, O heavenly God!
Iago
Zounds, hold your peace.
Emilia 'Twill out, 'twill out. I peace?
3510No, I will speak as liberal as the north;
Let heaven and men and devils, let them all,
All, all cry shame against me, yet I'll speak.
Iago
Be wise, and get you home.
Emilia
I will not.
[Iago threatens Emilia with his sword.]
3515Gratiano Fie, your sword upon a woman?
Emilia O thou dull Moor, that handkerchief thou speak'st of
I found by fortune, and did give my husband;
For often, with a solemn earnestness--
3520More than indeed belonged to such a trifle--
He begged of me to steal't.
Iago
Villainous whore!
Emilia She give it Cassio? No, alas, I found it,
And I did giv't my husband.
3525Iago
Filth, thou liest.
Emilia By heaven, I do not. I do not, gentlemen.--
O murderous coxcomb, what should such a fool
Do with so good a wife?
[Othello runs at Iago and is disarmed by Montano. Iago stabs Emilia.]
Othello
Are there no stones in heaven
3530But what serves for the thunder? Precious villain!
Gratiano The woman falls; sure he hath killed his wife.
Emilia Ay, ay. Oh, lay me by my mistress's side.
[Exit Iago.]
3535Gratiano He's gone, but his wife's killed.
Montano 'Tis a notorious villain. Take you this weapon
Which I have here recovered from the Moor.
Come guard the door without; let him not pass,
But kill him rather. I'll after that same villain,
3540For 'tis a damnèd slave.
Exeunt [Montano and Gratiano].
Othello
I am not valiant neither,
Exeunt [Montano and Gratiano].
But every puny whipster gets my sword.
But why should honor outlive honesty?
Let it go all.
3545Emilia
What did thy song bode, lady?
Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan,
And die in music:
[Singing] Willow, willow, willow.
Moor, she was chaste. She loved thee, cruel Moor.
So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true;
3550So speaking as I think, alas, I die.
[Emilia dies.]
Othello I have another weapon in this chamber;
It was a sword of Spain, the ice-brook's temper--
Oh, here it is. Uncle, I must come forth.
Gratiano [Within] If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear;
3555Thou hast no weapon and perforce must suffer.
Othello Look in upon me then, and speak with me,
Or naked as I am I will assault thee.
[Enter Gratiano.]
Gratiano
What is the matter?
Othello
Behold, I have a weapon;
3560A better never did itself sustain
Upon a soldier's thigh. I have seen the day
That with this little arm and this good sword
I have made my way through more impediments
Than twenty times your stop. But--O vain boast!--
3565Who can control his fate? 'Tis not so now.
Be not afraid, though you do see me weaponed.
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt
And very seamark of my utmost sail.
Do you go back dismayed? 'Tis a lost fear.
3570Man but a rush against Othello's breast
And he retires. Where should Othello go?
Now, how dost thou look now? O ill-starred wench,
Pale as thy smock; when we shall meet at compt,
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven
3575And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl?
Even like thy chastity. O cursèd, cursèd slave!
Whip me, ye devils, from the possession of this heavenly sight,
Blow me about in winds, roast me in sulfur,
3580Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire--
O Desdemon! Dead Desdemon! Dead--Oh, Oh!
Enter Lodovico, Cassio [in a chair], Montano, and Iago with officers.
Lodovico Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?
3585Othello That's he that was Othello; here I am.
Lodovico Where is that viper? Bring the villain forth.
Othello I look down toward his feet, but that's a fable;
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee.
[Othello wounds Iago.]
3590Lodovico
Wrench his sword from him.
Iago
I bleed, sir, but not killed.
Othello I am not sorry neither; I'd have thee live,
For in my sense 'tis happiness to die.
Lodovico O thou Othello, that was once so good,
3595Fallen in the practice of a damnèd slave,
What shall be said to thee?
Othello
Why, anything--
An honorable murderer, if you will,
For naught I did in hate, but all in honor.
3600Lodovico This wretch hath part confessed his villainy.
Did you and he consent in Cassio's death?
Othello Ay.
Cassio Dear general, I never gave you cause.
Othello I do believe it, and I ask your pardon.
3605Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil
Why he hath thus ensnared my soul and body?
Iago Demand me nothing. What you know, you know.
From this time forth, I never will speak word.
Lodovico
What, not to pray?
3610Gratiano
Torments will ope your lips.
Othello Well, thou dost best.
Lodovico Sir, you shall understand what hath befallen,
Which, as I think, you know not. Here is a letter
3615Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo,
And here another. The one of them imports
The death of Cassio, to be undertook
By Roderigo.
Othello
O villain!
3620Cassio
Most heathenish and most gross!
Lodovico Now here's another discontented paper
Found in his pocket too; and this, it seems,
Roderigo meant t'have sent this damnèd villain,
But that, belike, Iago in the interim
3625Came in and satisfied him.
Othello O thou pernicious caitiff!
How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief
That was my wife's?
Cassio
I found it in my chamber,
3630And he himself confessed it but even now
That there he dropped it for a special purpose
Which wrought to his desire.
Othello
O fool, fool, fool!
Cassio There is besides in Roderigo's letter
3635How he upbraids Iago that he made him
Brave me upon the watch, whereon it came
That I was cast; and even but now he spake,
After long seeming dead, Iago hurt him,
Iago set him on.
3640Lodovico [To Othello] You must forsake this room and go with us.
Your power and your command is taken off,
And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave,
If there be any cunning cruelty
That can torment him much and hold him long,
3645It shall be his. You shall close prisoner rest,
Till that the nature of your fault be known
To the Venetian state. Come, bring away.
Othello Soft you, a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know't;
3650No more of that. I pray you in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak
3655Of one that loved not wisely, but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
Perplexed in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
3660Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drops tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinable gum. Set you down this,
And say besides that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turbaned Turk
3665Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by th'throat the circumcisèd dog
And smote him--thus.
[Othello stabs himself.]
Lodovico
O bloody period.
Gratiano
All that is spoke is marred.
3670Othello I kissed thee ere I killed thee-- no way but this,
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.
[Othello kisses Desdemona and] dies.
Cassio
This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon,
Lodovico
O Spartan dog,
For he was great of heart.
3675More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea,
Look on the tragic loading of this bed.
This is thy work. The object poisons sight;
Let it be hid. Gratiano, keep the house
3680And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor,
For they succeed on you. [To Cassio] To you, lord governor,
Remains the censure of this hellish villain;
The time, the place, the torture, oh, enforce it.
Myself will straight aboard, and to the state
3685This heavy act with heavy heart relate.
Exeunt.