Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

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
    Peer Reviewed

    Othello (Modern)

    Enter Othello and Emilia.
    You have seen nothing then?
    Nor ever heard, nor ever did suspect.
    Yes, you have seen Cassio and she together.
    But then I saw no harm; and then I heard
    Each syllable that breath made up between them.
    What? Did they never whisper?
    Never, my lord.
    Nor send you out o'th'way?
    To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing?
    Never, my lord.
    That's strange.
    I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
    Lay down my soul at stake. If you think other,
    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,
    2705For if she be not honest, chaste, and true,
    There's no man happy. The purest of their wives
    Is foul as slander.
    Bid her come hither--go.
    Exit Emilia.
    She says enough; yet she's a simple bawd
    2710That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore,
    A closet lock and key of villainous secrets,
    And yet she'll kneel and pray--I have seen her do't.
    Enter Desdemona and Emilia.
    My lord, what is your will?
    Pray you, chuck, come hither.
    What is your pleasure?
    Let me see your eyes;
    Look in my face.
    What horrible fancy's this?
    [To Emilia] Some of your function, mistress,
    2720Leave procreants alone and shut the door,
    Cough or cry "hem!" if anybody come.
    Your mystery, your mystery--nay, dispatch!
    Exit Emilia.
    [Kneeling] Upon my knee, what doth your speech import?
    I understand a fury in your words,
    But not the words.
    Why? What art thou?
    Your wife, my lord, your true and loyal wife.
    Come, swear it; damn thyself,
    Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves
    Should fear to seize thee. Therefore be double damned:
    2730Swear thou art honest.
    Heaven doth truly know it.
    Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.
    [Rising] To whom, my lord? With whom? How am I false?
    Ah Desdemon, away, away, away.
    Alas the heavy day! Why do you weep?
    Am I the motive of these tears, my lord?
    If haply you my father do suspect
    An instrument of this your calling back,
    2740Lay not your blame on me; if you have lost him,
    I have lost him too.
    Had it pleased heaven
    To try me with affliction, had they rained
    All kind of sores and shames on my bare head,
    2745Steeped 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
    A drop of patience. But, alas, to make me
    The fixèd figure for the time of scorn
    2750To point his slow and moving finger at!
    Yet could I bear that too, well, very well;
    But there where I have garnered up my heart,
    Where either I must live or bear no life,
    The fountain from the which my current runs
    2755Or 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,
    Patience, thou young and rose-lipped cherubin;
    I here look grim as hell.
    I hope my noble lord esteems me honest.
    Oh ay, as summer flies are in the shambles,
    That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed,
    Who art so lovely fair and smell'st so sweet
    That the sense aches at thee,
    2765Would thou had'st ne'er been born!
    Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?
    Was this fair paper, this most goodly book,
    Made to write "whore" upon? What committed?
    Committed? O thou public commoner,
    2770I should make very forges of my cheeks
    That would to cinders burn up modesty
    Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed?
    Heaven stops the nose at it and the moon winks;
    The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets
    2775Is hushed within the hollow mine of earth
    And will not hear't--what committed?--impudent strumpet!
    By heaven, you do me wrong.
    Are not you a strumpet?
    No, as I am a Christian.
    2780If to preserve this vessel for my lord
    From any other foul unlawful touch
    Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.
    What, not a whore?
    No, as I shall be saved.
    Is't possible?
    O heaven, forgive us.
    I cry you mercy then.
    I took you for that cunning whore of Venice
    That married with Othello.
    2790Enter Emilia.
    [To Emilia] You, mistress,
    That have the office opposite to Saint Peter
    And keeps the gate of hell. You, you! Ay, you.
    We have done our course. [Giving her money] There's money for your pains.
    I pray you turn the key and keep our counsel.
    Exit [Othello].
    Alas, what does this gentleman conceive?
    How do you, madam? How do you, my good lady?
    Faith, half asleep.
    Good madam, what's the matter with my lord?
    With who?
    Why, with my lord, madam.
    Who is thy lord?
    He that is yours, sweet lady.
    I have none. Do not talk to me, Emilia.
    2805I cannot weep, nor answers have I none
    But what should go by water. Prithee tonight
    Lay on my bed my wedding sheets, remember,
    And call thy husband hither.
    Here's a change indeed.
    Exit [Emilia].
    'Tis meet I should be used so, very meet.
    How have I been behaved that he might stick
    The smallest opinion on my least misuse?
    Enter Iago and Emilia.
    What is your pleasure, madam? 2815How is't with you?
    I cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes
    Do it with gentle means and easy tasks.
    He might have chid me so, for in good faith
    I am a child to chiding.
    What is the matter, lady?
    Alas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her,
    Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her
    That true hearts cannot bear it.
    Am I that name, Iago?
    What name, fair lady?
    Such as she said my lord did say I was.
    He called her whore! A beggar in his drink
    Could not have laid such terms upon his callet.
    Why did he so?
    I do not know; I am sure I am none such.
    Do not weep, do not weep--alas the day!
    Hath she forsook so many noble matches,
    Her father, and her country, and her friends,
    To be called whore? Would it not make one weep?
    It is my wretched fortune.
    Beshrew him for't!
    How comes this trick upon him?
    Nay, heaven doth know.
    I will be hanged if some eternal villain,
    2840Some busy and insinuating rogue,
    Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
    Have not devised this slander; I will be hanged else.
    Fie, there is no such man! It is impossible.
    If any such there be, heaven pardon him.
    A halter pardon him and hell gnaw his bones.
    Why should he call her whore? Who keeps her company?
    What place? What time? 2850What form? What likelihood?
    The Moor's abused by some most villainous knave,
    Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow.
    O heavens, that such companions thou'd'st unfold
    And put in every honest hand a whip
    2855To lash the rascals naked through the world
    Even from the east to th'west.
    Speak within door.
    Oh, fie upon them! Some such squire he was
    That turned your wit the seamy side without
    2860And made you to suspect me with the Moor.
    You are a fool; go to.
    Alas, Iago,
    What shall I do to win my lord again?
    Good friend, go to him; for by this light of heaven,
    2865I know not how I lost him.
    [She kneels.]
    Here I kneel.
    If ere 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,
    2870Or that I do not yet, and ever did,
    And ever will--though he do shake me off
    To beggarly divorcement--love him dearly,
    Comfort forswear me. [She stands.] Unkindness may do much,
    And his unkindness may defeat my life,
    2875But never taint my love. I cannot say "whore."
    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.
    I pray you be content; 'tis but his humor.
    2880The business of the state does him offence,
    2880.1And he does chide with you.
    If 'twere no other--
    It is but so, I warrant.
    [Trumpets within]
    Hark how these instruments summon to supper.
    The messengers of Venice stays the meat.
    2885Go in, and weep not; all things shall be well.
    Exeunt Desdemona and Emilia.
    Enter Roderigo.
    How now Roderigo?
    I do not find 2890that thou deal'st justly with me.
    What in the contrary?
    Every day thou doff'st me with some device, Iago, and rather, as it seems to me now, keep'st from me all conveniency, then suppliest me with the least 2895advantage 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.
    Will you hear me, Roderigo?
    Faith, I have heard too much, and your words and 2900performances are no kin together.
    You charge me most unjustly.
    With naught but truth. I have wasted myself out of my means; the jewels you have had from me to deliver Desdemona would half have corrupted a 2905votarist. You have told me she hath received them, and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance, but I find none.
    Well, go to, very well.
    "Very well, go to!" I cannot "go to," man, nor 2910tis not "very well." By this hand, I say 'tis very scurvy, and begin to find myself fopped in it.
    Very well.
    I tell you, 'tis not very well! I will make myself known to Desdemona. If she will return me my 2915jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my unlawful solicitation. If not, assure yourself, I will seek satisfaction of you.
    You have said now.
    Ay, and said nothing but what I protest 2920intendment of doing.
    Why, now I see there's mettle in thee, and even from this instant do build on thee a better opinion than ever before. Give me thy hand, Roderigo. Thou hast taken against me a most just 2925exception, but yet I protest I have dealt most directly in thy affair.
    It hath not appeared.
    I grant indeed it hath not appeared, and your suspicion is not without wit and judgment. 2930But, Roderigo, if thou hast that in thee indeed which I have greater reason to believe now than ever--I mean purpose, courage, and valor--this night show it. If thou the next night following enjoy not Desdemona, take me from this world with 2935treachery and devise engines for my life.
    Well, what is it? Is it within reason and compass?
    Sir, there is especial commission come from Venice to depute Cassio in Othello's place.
    Is that true? Why then Othello and Desdemona return again to Venice.
    Oh no, he goes into Mauritania and taketh away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be lingered here by some accident, 2945wherein none can be so determinate as the removing of Cassio.
    How do you mean removing him?
    Why, by making him uncapable of Othello's place--knocking out his brains.
    And that you would have me to do.
    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 honorable fortune. If you will watch his going thence--which 2955I 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 me; I will show you such a necessity in his death that 2960you shall think yourself bound to put it on him. It is now high supper time, and the night grows to waste. About it.
    I will hear further reason for this.
    And you shall be satisfied.