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)

    2370Enter Othello and Iago.
    Will you think so?
    Think so, Iago?
    To kiss in private?
    An unauthorized kiss?
    Or to be naked with her friend in bed
    An hour or more, not meaning any harm?
    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.
    If they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip;
    But if I give my wife a handkerchief--
    What then?
    Why then 'tis hers, my lord, and, being hers,
    2385She may, I think, bestow't on any man.
    She is protectress of her honor too;
    May she give that?
    Her honor is an essence that's not seen;
    They have it very oft, that have it not.
    2390But for the handkerchief--
    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.
    Ay, what of that?
    That's not so good now.
    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--
    Hath he said anything?
    He hath, my lord, but be you well assured,
    2405No more than he'll unswear.
    What hath he said?
    Faith, that he did--I know not what he did.
    What? What?
    With her?
    With her, on her--what you will.
    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.
    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?
    What's the matter?
    My lord is fallen into an epilepsy.
    2430This is his second fit; he had one yesterday.
    Rub him about the temples.
    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?
    Dost thou mock me?
    I mock you not, by heaven!
    Would you would bear your fortune like a man.
    A hornèd man's a monster and a beast.
    There's many a beast then in a populous city,
    And many a civil monster.
    Did he confess it?
    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.
    Oh, thou art wise, 'tis certain.
    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.
    Dost thou hear, Iago?
    I will be found most cunning in my patience,
    But--dost thou hear?--most bloody.
    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?
    The worser that you give me the addition
    2490Whose want even kills me.
    Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on't.
    Now if this suit lay in Bianca's power,
    How quickly should you speed.
    Alas, poor caitiff!
    [Aside] Look how he laughs already.
    I never knew a woman love man so.
    Alas, poor rogue, I think i'faith she loves me.
    [Aside] Now he denies it faintly and laughs it out.
    Do you hear, Cassio?
    [Aside] Now he importunes him
    To tell it o'er. Go to, well said, well said.
    She gives it out that you shall marry her.
    Do you intend it?
    Ha, ha, ha!
    [Aside] Do you triumph, Roman? Do you triumph?
    I marry? What, a customer?
    Prithee bear some charity to my wit;
    Do not think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!
    [Aside] So, so, so, so! They laugh that wins.
    Faith, the cry goes that you marry her.
    Prithee say true.
    I am a very villain else.
    [Aside] Have you scored me? Well.
    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.
    [Aside] Iago beckons me; now he begins the story.
    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.
    [Aside] Crying "O dear Cassio!" as it were; his gesture imports it.
    So hangs, and lolls, and weeps upon me; 2525so shakes and pulls me. Ha, ha, ha!
    [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.
    Well, I must leave her company.
    Before me! Look where she comes.
    Enter Bianca.
    'Tis such another fitchew--marry, a perfumed one!
    What do you mean by this haunting of me?
    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.
    How now, my sweet Bianca? How now? How now?
    [Aside] By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!
    If you'll come to supper tonight, you may; if you will not, come when you are next prepared for.
    Exit [Bianca].
    After her, after her!
    Faith, I must; she'll rail in the streets else.
    Will you sup there?
    Faith, I intend so.
    Well, I may chance to see you, for I would very fain speak with you.
    Prithee come, will you?
    Go to, say no more.
    [Exit Cassio.]
    [Coming forward] How shall I murder him, Iago?
    Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?
    Oh, Iago!
    And did you see the handkerchief?
    Was that mine?
    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.
    I would have him nine years a-killing! A fine woman, a fair woman, a sweet woman!
    Nay, you must forget that.
    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.
    Nay, that's not your way.
    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!
    She's the worse for all this.
    Oh, a thousand, a thousand times--and then of so gentle a condition!
    Ay, too gentle.
    Nay, that's certain--but yet the pity of it, Iago! Oh, Iago, the pity of it, Iago!
    If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her patent to offend; for if it touch not you, it comes near 2585nobody.
    I will chop her into messes--cuckold me?
    Oh, 'tis foul in her.
    With mine officer?
    That's fouler.
    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.
    Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated.
    Good, good--the justice of it pleases! Very good.
    And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker. You shall hear more by midnight.
    Excellent good--
    [A trumpet sounds.]
    What trumpet is that same?
    I warrant something from Venice.
    Enter Lodovico, Desdemona, and attendants.
    'Tis Lodovico, this, comes from the duke.
    See, your wife's with him.
    God save you, worthy general.
    With all my heart, sir.
    [Giving Othello a letter] The Duke and the Senators of Venice greet you.
    I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.
    And what's the news, good cousin Lodovico?
    I am very glad to see you, signor.
    2610Welcome to Cyprus.
    I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?
    Lives, sir.
    Cousin, there's fallen between him and my lord
    An unkind breach, but you shall make all well.
    Are you sure of that?
    My lord?
    "This fail you not to do, as you will . . . "
    He did not call; he's busy in the paper.
    Is there division 'twixt my lord and Cassio?
    A most unhappy one. I would do much
    T'atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.
    Fire and brimstone!
    My lord?
    Are you wise?
    What, is he angry?
    Maybe the letter moved him.
    For, as I think, they do command him home,
    Deputing Cassio in his government.
    By my troth, I am glad on't.
    My lord?
    I am glad to see you mad.
    Why, sweet Othello?
    [Striking her] Devil!
    I have not deserved this.
    My lord, this would not be believed in Venice,
    Though I should swear I saw't. 'Tis very much.
    Make her amends; she weeps.
    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!
    [Starting to exit] I will not stay to offend you.
    Truly obedient lady!
    2645I do beseech your lordship call her back.
    [Returning] My lord?
    What would you with her, sir?
    Who I, my lord?
    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].
    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?
    He is much changed.
    Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?
    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.
    What? Strike his wife?
    Faith, that was not so well; yet would I knew
    2675That stroke would prove the worst.
    Is it his use?
    Or did the letters work upon his blood
    And new-create his fault?
    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.
    I am sorry that I am deceived in him.