Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Othello (Modern)
  • Editor: Jessica Slights
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-466-0

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Jessica Slights
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Othello (Modern)

    Enter Desdemona, Emilia, and Clown.
    Desdemona Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies?
    2140Clown I dare not say he lies anywhere.
    Desdemona Why, man?
    Clown He's a soldier, and for me to say a soldier lies, 'tis stabbing.
    Desdemona Go to! Where lodges he?
    2145Clown To tell you where he lodges is to tell you where I lie.
    Desdemona Can anything be made of this?
    Clown I know not where he lodges, and for me to devise a lodging, and say he lies here or he lies there, were 2150to lie in mine own throat.
    Desdemona Can you inquire him out and be edified by report?
    Clown I will catechize the world for him--that is, make questions and by them answer.
    2155Desdemona 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 therefore I will attempt the doing it.
    Exit Clown.
    2160Desdemona Where should I lose the handkerchief, Emilia?
    Emilia I know not, madam.
    Desdemona Believe me, I had rather lose my purse
    Full of crusadoes; and but my noble Moor
    2165Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
    As jealous creatures are, it were enough
    To put him to ill thinking.
    Is he not jealous?
    Desdemona Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
    2170Drew all such humors from him.
    Look where he comes.
    Enter Othello.
    Desdemona I will not leave him now till Cassio
    Be called to him. How is't with you, my lord?
    2175Othello Well, my good lady. [Aside] Oh, hardness to dissemble!
    How do you, Desdemona?
    Well, my good lord.
    Give me your hand.
    [Othello takes Desdemona's hand.]
    This hand is moist, my lady.
    2180Desdemona It hath felt no age, nor known no sorrow.
    Othello This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart--
    Hot, hot and moist. This hand of yours requires
    A sequester from liberty--fasting and prayer,
    Much castigation, exercise devout--
    2185For here's a young and sweating devil here
    That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand,
    A frank one.
    You may indeed say so,
    For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart.
    2190Othello A liberal hand. The hearts of old gave hands,
    But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.
    Desdemona I cannot speak of this. Come, now your promise.
    Othello What promise, chuck?
    2195Desdemona I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.
    Othello I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
    Lend me thy handkerchief.
    Here, my lord.
    That which I gave you.
    I have it not about me.
    Othello Not?
    Desdemona No, faith, my lord.
    Othello That's a fault. That handkerchief
    Did an Egyptian to my mother give.
    2205She was a charmer and could almost read
    The thoughts of people. She told her while she kept it
    'Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
    Entirely to her love, but if she lost it,
    Or made a gift of it, my father's eye
    2210Should hold her loathed, and his spirits should hunt
    After new fancies. She, dying, gave it me,
    And bid me, when my fate would have me wived,
    To give it her. I did so; and, take heed on't,
    Make it a darling like your precious eye.
    2215To lose't or give't away were such perdition
    As nothing else could match.
    Is't possible?
    Othello 'Tis true. There's magic in the web of it:
    A sybil that had numbered in the world
    2220The sun to course two hundred compasses,
    In her prophetic fury sewed the work;
    The worms were hallowed that did breed the silk,
    And it was dyed in mummy, which the skillful
    Conserved of maidens' hearts.
    I'faith, is't true?
    Othello Most veritable; therefore look to't well.
    Desdemona Then would to God that I had never seen't!
    Othello Ha? Wherefore?
    Desdemona Why do you speak so startingly and rash?
    2230Othello Is't lost? Is't gone? Speak, is't out o'th'way?
    Desdemona Heaven bless us!
    Othello Say you?
    Desdemona It is not lost; but what and if it were?
    Othello How?
    2235Desdemona I say it is not lost.
    Othello Fetch't, let me see't.
    Desdemona Why so I can; but I will not now.
    This is a trick to put me from my suit.
    Pray you, let Cassio be received again.
    2240Othello Fetch me the handkerchief, my mind misgives.
    Desdemona Come, come!
    You'll never meet a more sufficient man--
    The handkerchief.
    A man that all his time
    Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
    Shared dangers with you--
    The handkerchief.
    I'faith, you are to blame.
    Exit Othello.
    Is not this man jealous?
    I ne'er saw this before.
    Sure there's some wonder in this handkerchief;
    I am most unhappy in the loss.
    2255Emilia 'Tis not a year or two shows us a man.
    They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
    They eat us hungerly, and when they are full
    They belch us.
    Enter Iago and Cassio.
    2260Look you, Cassio and my husband.
    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?
    2265Cassio 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 honor. I would not be delayed.
    2270If my offense 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;
    2275So shall I clothe me in a forced content
    And shut myself up in some other course
    To fortune's alms.
    Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio,
    My advocation is not now in tune;
    2280My lord is not my lord, nor should I know him
    Were he in favor as in humor altered.
    So help me every spirit sanctified
    As I have spoken for you all my best,
    And stood within the blank of his displeasure
    2285For 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.
    Is my lord angry?
    He went hence but now,
    2290And 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
    Puffed his own brother--and is he angry?
    2295Something of moment then. I will go meet him;
    There's matter in't indeed if he be angry.
    I prithee do so.
    Exit [Iago].
    Something sure of state,
    Either from Venice or some unhatched practise
    Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,
    2300Hath puddled his clear spirit; and in such cases
    Men's natures wrangle with inferior things,
    Though great ones are their object. 'Tis even so.
    For let our finger ache and it endues
    Our other healthful members even to a sense
    2305Of pain. Nay, we must think men are not gods,
    Nor of them look for such observancy
    As fits the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia.
    I was, unhandsome warrior as I am,
    Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
    2310But now I find I had suborned the witness,
    And he's indicted falsely.
    Pray heaven it be
    State matters, as you think, and no conception
    Nor no jealous toy concerning you.
    2315Desdemona Alas the day! I never gave him cause.
    Emilia But jealous souls will not be answered so;
    They are not ever jealous for the cause,
    But jealous for they're jealous. It is a monster
    Begot upon itself, born on itself.
    2320Desdemona Heaven keep the monster from Othello's mind.
    Emilia Lady, amen.
    Desdemona I will go seek him. Cassio, walk here about.
    If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit And seek to effect it to my uttermost.
    2325Cassio I humbly thank your ladyship.
    Exeunt Desdemona and Emilia.
    Enter Bianca.
    'Save you, friend Cassio.
    What make you from home?
    How is't with you, my most fair Bianca?
    2330I'faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.
    Bianca And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
    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?
    2335Oh, weary reckoning!
    Pardon me, Bianca.
    I have this while with leaden thoughts been pressed,
    But I shall in a more continuate time
    Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,
    2340Take me this work out.
    [Cassio gives Desdemona's handkerchief to 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.
    Go to, woman!
    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, by my faith, Bianca.
    Why, whose is it?
    Cassio I know not neither; I found it in my chamber.
    I like the work well; ere it be demanded,
    As like enough it will, I would have it copied.
    2355Take it and do't, and leave me for this time.
    Bianca Leave you? Wherefore?
    Cassio I do attend here on the general,
    And think it no addition nor my wish
    To have him see me womaned.
    Why, I pray you?
    Not that I love you not.
    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.
    2365Cassio 'Tis but a little way that I can bring you,
    For I attend here, but I'll see you soon.
    Bianca 'Tis very good. I must be circumstanced.