Internet Shakespeare Editions

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  • 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
    Peer Reviewed

    Othello (Modern)

    4.1
    2370 Enter Othello and Iago.
    Iago
    Will you think so?
    Othello
    Think so, Iago?
    Iago
    What,
    To kiss in private?
    Othello
    An unauthorized kiss?
    2375 Iago
    Or to be naked with her friend in bed
    An hour or more, not meaning any harm?
    Othello
    Naked in bed, Iago, and not mean harm?
    It is hypocrisy against the devil.
    They that mean virtuously and yet do so,
    2380The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven.
    Iago
    If they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip;
    But if I give my wife a handkerchief--
    Othello
    What then?
    Iago
    Why then 'tis hers, my lord, and, being hers,
    2385She may, I think, bestow't on any man.
    Othello
    She is protectress of her honor too;
    May she give that?
    Iago
    Her honor is an essence that's not seen;
    They have it very oft, that have it not.
    2390But for the handkerchief--
    Othello
    By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it!
    Thou saidst--Oh, it comes ore my memory
    As doth the raven o'er the infectious house,
    Boding to all--he had my handkerchief.
    2395 Iago
    Ay, what of that?
    Othello
    That's not so good now.
    Iago
    What if I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
    Or heard him say--as knaves be such abroad
    Who, having by their own importunate suit
    2400Or voluntary dotage of some mistress
    Convincèd or supplied them, cannot choose
    But they must blab--
    Othello
    Hath he said anything?
    Iago
    He hath, my lord, but be you well assured,
    2405No more than he'll unswear.
    Othello
    What hath he said?
    Iago
    Faith, that he did--I know not what he did.
    Othello
    What? What?
    Iago
    Lie.
    2410 Othello
    With her?
    Iago
    With her, on her--what you will.
    Othello
    Lie with her? Lie on her? We say "lie on her" when they belie her. Lie with her? Zounds, that's fulsome! Handkerchief! Confessions! Handkerchief!--To 2415confess and be hanged for his labor. First to be hanged and then to confess! I tremble at it. Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some instruction. It is not words that shakes me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips!--Is't possible? Confess? 2420Handkerchief? O devil!
    [Othello] falls in a trance.
    Iago
    Work on,
    My medicine works! Thus credulous fools are caught,
    And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,
    All guiltless, meet reproach. What ho! My lord?
    2425My lord, I say! Othello!
    Enter Cassio.
    How now, Cassio?
    Cassio
    What's the matter?
    Iago
    My lord is fallen into an epilepsy.
    2430This is his second fit; he had one yesterday.
    Cassio
    Rub him about the temples.
    2431.1 Iago
    No, forbear.
    The lethargy must have his quiet course;
    If not, he foams at mouth and by and by
    Breaks out to savage madness. Look, he stirs.
    2435Do you withdraw yourself a little while.
    He will recover straight. When he is gone,
    I would on great occasion speak with you.
    [Exit Cassio.]
    How is it, general? Have you not hurt your head?
    Othello
    Dost thou mock me?
    2440 Iago
    I mock you not, by heaven!
    Would you would bear your fortune like a man.
    Othello
    A hornèd man's a monster and a beast.
    Iago
    There's many a beast then in a populous city,
    And many a civil monster.
    2445 Othello
    Did he confess it?
    Iago
    Good sir, be a man.
    Think every bearded fellow that's but yoked
    May draw with you. There's millions now alive
    That nightly lie in those unproper beds,
    2450Which they dare swear peculiar. Your case is better.
    Oh, 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock,
    To lip a wanton in a secure couch
    And to suppose her chaste. No, let me know,
    And, knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.
    2455 Othello
    Oh, thou art wise, 'tis certain.
    Iago
    Stand you awhile apart;
    Confine yourself but in a patient list:
    Whilst you were here, o'erwhelmèd with your grief--
    A passion most unsuiting such a man--
    2460Cassio came hither. I shifted him away
    And laid good 'scuses upon your ecstasy,
    Bade him anon return and here speak with me,
    The which he promised. Do but encave yourself,
    And mark the fleers, the gibes and notable scorns
    2465That dwell in every region of his face.
    For I will make him tell the tale anew:
    Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when
    He hath and is again to cope your wife.
    I say, but mark his gesture--marry, patience!
    2470Or I shall say you're all in all in spleen
    And nothing of a man.
    Othello
    Dost thou hear, Iago?
    I will be found most cunning in my patience,
    But--dost thou hear?--most bloody.
    2475 Iago
    That's not amiss,
    But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?
    [Othello withdraws.]
    Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,
    A huswife that by selling her desires
    Buys herself bread and cloth. It is a creature
    2480That dotes on Cassio--as 'tis the strumpet's plague
    To beguile many and be beguiled by one.
    He, when he hears of her, cannot restrain
    From the excess of laughter. Here he comes.
    Enter Cassio.
    2485As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad;
    And his unbookish jealousy must conster
    Poor Cassio's smiles, gestures, and light behaviors
    Quite in the wrong. How do you, lieutenant?
    Cassio
    The worser that you give me the addition
    2490Whose want even kills me.
    Iago
    Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on't.
    Now if this suit lay in Bianca's power,
    How quickly should you speed.
    Cassio
    Alas, poor caitiff!
    2495 Othello
    [Aside] Look how he laughs already.
    Iago
    I never knew a woman love man so.
    Cassio
    Alas, poor rogue, I think i'faith she loves me.
    Othello
    [Aside] Now he denies it faintly and laughs it out.
    Iago
    Do you hear, Cassio?
    2500 Othello
    [Aside] Now he importunes him
    To tell it o'er. Go to, well said, well said.
    Iago
    She gives it out that you shall marry her.
    Do you intend it?
    Cassio
    Ha, ha, ha!
    2505 Othello
    [Aside] Do you triumph, Roman? Do you triumph?
    Cassio
    I marry? What, a customer?
    Prithee bear some charity to my wit;
    Do not think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!
    Othello
    [Aside] So, so, so, so! They laugh that wins.
    2510 Iago
    Faith, the cry goes that you marry her.
    Cassio
    Prithee say true.
    Iago
    I am a very villain else.
    Othello
    [Aside] Have you scored me? Well.
    Cassio
    This is the monkey's own giving out.
    2515She is persuaded I will marry her
    Out of her own love and flattery, not out of my promise.
    Othello
    [Aside] Iago beckons me; now he begins the story.
    Cassio
    She was here even now; she haunts me in every place. I was the other day talking on the 2520seabank with certain Venetians, and thither comes the bauble and, by this hand, she falls me thus about my neck.
    Othello
    [Aside] Crying "O dear Cassio!" as it were; his gesture imports it.
    Cassio
    So hangs, and lolls, and weeps upon me; 2525so shakes and pulls me. Ha, ha, ha!
    Othello
    [Aside] Now he tells how she plucked him to my chamber. Oh, I see that nose of yours, but not that dog I shall throw it to.
    Cassio
    Well, I must leave her company.
    2530 Iago
    Before me! Look where she comes.
    Enter Bianca.
    Cassio
    'Tis such another fitchew--marry, a perfumed one!
    What do you mean by this haunting of me?
    Bianca
    Let the devil and his dam haunt you! What 2535did you mean by that same handkerchief you gave me even now? I was a fine fool to take it! I must take out the work? A likely piece of work, that you should find it in your chamber and know not who left it there. This is some minx's token, and I must take out the work? 2540There, give it your hobby-horse!
    [Bianca throws down the handkerchief.]
    Wheresoever you had it, I'll take out no work on't.
    Cassio
    How now, my sweet Bianca? How now? How now?
    Othello
    [Aside] By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!
    2545 Bianca
    If you'll come to supper tonight, you may; if you will not, come when you are next prepared for.
    Exit [Bianca].
    Iago
    After her, after her!
    Cassio
    Faith, I must; she'll rail in the streets else.
    Iago
    Will you sup there?
    2550 Cassio
    Faith, I intend so.
    Iago
    Well, I may chance to see you, for I would very fain speak with you.
    Cassio
    Prithee come, will you?
    Iago
    Go to, say no more.
    [Exit Cassio.]
    2555 Othello
    [Coming forward] How shall I murder him, Iago?
    Iago
    Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?
    Othello
    Oh, Iago!
    Iago
    And did you see the handkerchief?
    Othello
    Was that mine?
    2560 Iago
    Yours, by this hand--and to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife; she gave it him, and he hath given it his whore.
    Othello
    I would have him nine years a-killing! A fine woman, a fair woman, a sweet woman!
    2565 Iago
    Nay, you must forget that.
    Othello
    Ay, let her rot and perish and be damned tonight, for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned to stone; I strike it and it hurts my hand. Oh, the world hath not a sweeter creature! She might lie by an 2570emperor's side and command him tasks.
    Iago
    Nay, that's not your way.
    Othello
    Hang her, I do but say what she is: so delicate with her needle, an admirable musician--Oh, she will sing the savageness out of a bear--of so high 2575plenteous wit and invention!
    Iago
    She's the worse for all this.
    Othello
    Oh, a thousand, a thousand times--and then of so gentle a condition!
    Iago
    Ay, too gentle.
    2580 Othello
    Nay, that's certain--but yet the pity of it, Iago! Oh, Iago, the pity of it, Iago!
    Iago
    If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her patent to offend; for if it touch not you, it comes near 2585nobody.
    Othello
    I will chop her into messes--cuckold me?
    Iago
    Oh, 'tis foul in her.
    Othello
    With mine officer?
    Iago
    That's fouler.
    2590 Othello
    Get me some poison, Iago, this night. I'll not expostulate with her lest her body and beauty unprovide my mind again. This night, Iago.
    Iago
    Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated.
    2595 Othello
    Good, good--the justice of it pleases! Very good.
    Iago
    And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker. You shall hear more by midnight.
    2600 Othello
    Excellent good--
    [A trumpet sounds.]
    What trumpet is that same?
    Iago
    I warrant something from Venice.
    Enter Lodovico, Desdemona, and attendants.
    'Tis Lodovico, this, comes from the duke.
    See, your wife's with him.
    Lodovico
    God save you, worthy general.
    2605 Othello
    With all my heart, sir.
    Lodovico
    [Giving Othello a letter] The Duke and the Senators of Venice greet you.
    Othello
    I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.
    Desdemona
    And what's the news, good cousin Lodovico?
    Iago
    I am very glad to see you, signor.
    2610Welcome to Cyprus.
    Lodovico
    I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?
    Iago
    Lives, sir.
    Desdemona
    Cousin, there's fallen between him and my lord
    An unkind breach, but you shall make all well.
    2615 Othello
    Are you sure of that?
    Desdemona
    My lord?
    Othello
    [Reading]
    "This fail you not to do, as you will . . . "
    Lodovico
    He did not call; he's busy in the paper.
    Is there division 'twixt my lord and Cassio?
    2620 Desdemona
    A most unhappy one. I would do much
    T'atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.
    Othello
    Fire and brimstone!
    Desdemona
    My lord?
    Othello
    Are you wise?
    2625 Desdemona
    What, is he angry?
    Lodovico
    Maybe the letter moved him.
    For, as I think, they do command him home,
    Deputing Cassio in his government.
    Desdemona
    By my troth, I am glad on't.
    2630 Othello
    Indeed?
    Desdemona
    My lord?
    Othello
    I am glad to see you mad.
    Desdemona
    Why, sweet Othello?
    Othello
    [Striking her] Devil!
    2635 Desdemona
    I have not deserved this.
    Lodovico
    My lord, this would not be believed in Venice,
    Though I should swear I saw't. 'Tis very much.
    Make her amends; she weeps.
    Othello
    O devil, devil!
    2640If that the earth could teem with woman's tears,
    Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.--
    Out of my sight!
    Desdemona
    [Starting to exit] I will not stay to offend you.
    Lodovico
    Truly obedient lady!
    2645I do beseech your lordship call her back.
    Othello
    Mistress!
    Desdemona
    [Returning] My lord?
    Othello
    What would you with her, sir?
    Lodovico
    Who I, my lord?
    2650 Othello
    Ay, you did wish that I would make her turn.
    Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on
    And turn again. And she can weep, sir, weep;
    And she's obedient, as you say, obedient,
    Very obedient.--Proceed you in your tears!--
    2655Concerning this, sir--O well-painted passion!--
    I am commanded home.--Get you away!
    I'll send for you anon.--Sir, I obey the mandate
    And will return to Venice.--Hence, avaunt!--
    [Exit Desdemona.]
    Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight
    2660I do entreat that we may sup together.
    You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.--Goats and monkeys!
    Exit [Othello].
    Lodovico
    Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate
    Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature
    2665Whom passion could not shake? Whose solid virtue
    The shot of accident nor dart of chance
    Could neither graze nor pierce?
    Iago
    He is much changed.
    Lodovico
    Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?
    2670 Iago
    He's that he is; I may not breathe my censure.
    What he might be--if what he might, he is not--
    I would to heaven he were.
    Lodovico
    What? Strike his wife?
    Iago
    Faith, that was not so well; yet would I knew
    2675That stroke would prove the worst.
    Lodovico
    Is it his use?
    Or did the letters work upon his blood
    And new-create his fault?
    Iago
    Alas, alas!
    2680It is not honesty in me to speak
    What I have seen and known. You shall observe him
    And his own courses will denote him so
    That I may save my speech; do but go after
    And mark how he continues.
    2685 Lodovico
    I am sorry that I am deceived in him.
    Exeunt.