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
    Peer Reviewed

    Othello (Modern)

    Enter Roderigo and Iago.
    Tush, never tell me! I take it much unkindly
    5That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
    As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.
    'Sblood, but you'll not hear me! If ever I did dream of such a matter, abhor me.
    Thou told'st me 10thou didst hold him in thy hate.
    Despise me if I do not. Three great ones of the city,
    In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
    Off-capped to him--and by the faith of man
    15I know my price; I am worth no worse a place--
    But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
    Evades them with a bombast circumstance
    Horribly stuffed with epithets of war,
    Non-suits my mediators. For "Certes," says he,
    20"I have already chose my officer."
    20.1And what was he?
    Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
    One Michael Cassio, a Florentine--
    A fellow almost damned in a fair wife--
    That never set a squadron in the field,
    25Nor the division of a battle knows
    More than a spinster, unless the bookish theoric
    Wherein the tonguèd consuls can propose
    As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practise
    Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had th'election;
    30And I--of whom his eyes had seen the proof
    At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds,
    Christened and heathen--must be beleed and calmed
    By debitor and creditor. This countercaster,
    He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
    35And I, God bless the mark, his Moorship's ancient.
    By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
    Why, there's no remedy. 'Tis the curse of service;
    Preferment goes by letter and affection,
    40And not by old gradation, where each second
    Stood heir to th'first. Now sir, be judge yourself
    Whether I in any just term am affined
    To love the Moor.
    I would not follow him then.
    Oh, sir, content you.
    I follow him to serve my turn upon him.
    We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
    Cannot be truly followed. You shall mark
    Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave
    50That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
    Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,
    For naught but provender, and when he's old--cashiered.
    Whip me such honest knaves! Others there are
    Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty,
    55Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
    And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
    Do well thrive by them--and, when they have lined their coats,
    Do themselves homage. 60These fellows have some soul,
    And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir,
    It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
    Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago.
    In following him, I follow but myself.
    65Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
    But seeming so for my peculiar end.
    For when my outward action doth demonstrate
    The native act and figure of my heart
    In complement extern, 'tis not long after
    70But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
    For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.
    What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe
    If he can carry't thus!
    Call up her father.
    75Rouse him, make after him, poison his delight,
    Proclaim him in the streets. Incense her kinsmen,
    And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
    Plague him with flies; though that his joy be joy,
    Yet throw such chances of vexation on't
    80As it may lose some color.
    Here is her father's house. I'll call aloud.
    Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell
    As when, by night and negligence, the fire
    Is spied in populous cities.
    What ho! Brabantio, Signor Brabantio, ho!
    Awake! What ho, Brabantio! Thieves, thieves!
    Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags!
    Thieves, thieves!
    [Enter Brabantio above at a window.]
    What is the reason of this terrible 90summons?
    What is the matter there?
    Signor, is all your family within?
    Are your doors locked?
    Why? Wherefore ask you this?
    Zounds, sir, you're robbed! For shame, put on your gown!
    95Your heart is burst; you have lost half your soul.
    Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
    Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise!
    Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
    Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you.
    100Arise, I say!
    What, have you lost your wits?
    Most reverend signor, do you know my voice?
    Not I. What are you?
    My name is Roderigo.
    The worser welcome.
    I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors.
    In honest plainness thou hast heard me say
    My daughter is not for thee. And now in madness,
    Being full of supper and distempering drafts,
    110Upon malicious bravery dost thou come
    To start my quiet.
    Sir, sir, sir--
    But thou must needs be sure
    My spirit and my place have in their power
    115To make this bitter to thee.
    Patience, good sir.
    What tell'st thou me of robbing? This is Venice;
    My house is not a grange.
    Most grave Brabantio,
    120In simple and pure soul, I come to you.
    Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not serve God if the devil bid you. Because we come to do you service and you think we are ruffians, you'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse, you'll have your 125nephews neigh to you, you'll have coursers for cousins and jennets for germans.
    What profane wretch art thou?
    I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are making the beast with two backs.
    Thou art a villain.
    You are a senator.
    This thou shalt answer. I know thee, Roderigo.
    Sir, I will answer anything. But I beseech you,
    If't be your pleasure and most wise consent,
    135As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter,
    At this odd-even and dull watch o'th'night,
    Transported with no worse nor better guard
    But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
    To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor--
    140If this be known to you and your allowance,
    We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs.
    But if you know not this, my manners tell me
    We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe
    That from the sense of all civility
    145I thus would play and trifle with your reverence.
    Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,
    I say again, hath made a gross revolt,
    Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes
    In an extravagant and wheeling stranger
    150Of here and everywhere. Straight satisfy yourself:
    If she be in her chamber or your house,
    Let loose on me the justice of the state
    For thus deluding you.
    Strike on the tinder, ho!
    155Give me a taper. Call up all my people.
    This accident is not unlike my dream;
    Belief of it oppresses me already.
    Light, I say, light!
    Exit [Brabantio].
    Farewell, for I must leave you.
    160It seems not meet nor wholesome to my place
    To be produced--as, if I stay, I shall--
    Against the Moor. For I do know the state,
    However this may gall him with some check,
    Cannot with safety cast him, for he's embarked
    165With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,
    Which even now stands in act, that for their souls
    Another of his fathom they have none
    To lead their business. In which regard,
    Though I do hate him as I do hell pains,
    170Yet, for necessity of present life,
    I must show out a flag and sign of love--
    Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him,
    Lead to the Sagittary the raisèd search,
    And there will I be with him. So farewell.
    Exit [Iago].
    175Enter Brabantio in his nightgown, and servants with torches.
    It is too true an evil. Gone she is,
    And what's to come of my despisèd time
    Is naught but bitterness. Now Roderigo,
    Where didst thou see her?‚--Oh, unhappy girl!--
    180With the Moor sayst thou?--Who would be a father?--
    How didst thou know 'twas she?--Oh, she deceives me
    Past thought!--What said she to you? Get more tapers;
    Raise all my kindred! Are they married think you?
    Truly, I think they are.
    O heaven! How got she out? Oh, treason of the blood!
    Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds
    By what you see them act. Is there not charms
    By which the property of youth and maidhood
    190May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo,
    Of some such thing?
    Yes, sir, I have indeed.
    Call up my brother.--Oh, would you had had her!--
    Some one way, some another.--Do you know
    195Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?
    I think I can discover him, if you please
    To get good guard and go along with me.
    Pray you, lead on. At every house I'll call--
    I may command at most. Get weapons, ho,
    200And raise some special officers of night!
    On, good Roderigo; I will deserve your pains.