Othello, by William Shakespeare

Act II

Scene I. A Sea-port in Cyprus. An open place near the quay.

Enter Montano and two Gentlemen

Montano

What from the cape can you discern at sea?

First Gentleman

Nothing at all: it is a highwrought flood;
I cannot, ’twixt the heaven and the main,
Descry a sail.

Montano

Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;
A fuller blast ne’er shook our battlements:
If it hath ruffian’d so upon the sea,
What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?

Second Gentleman

A segregation of the Turkish fleet:
For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;
The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous mane,
Seems to cast water on the burning bear,
And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole:
I never did like molestation view
On the enchafed flood.

Montano

If that the Turkish fleet
Be not enshelter’d and embay’d, they are drown’d:
It is impossible they bear it out.

Enter a third Gentleman

Third Gentleman

News, lads! our wars are done.
The desperate tempest hath so bang’d the Turks,
That their designment halts: a noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.

Montano

How! is this true?

Third Gentleman

The ship is here put in,
A Veronesa; Michael Cassio,
Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello,
Is come on shore: the Moor himself at sea,
And is in full commission here for Cyprus.

Montano

I am glad on’t; ’tis a worthy governor.

Third Gentleman

But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort
Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly,
And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted
With foul and violent tempest.

Montano

Pray heavens he be;
For I have served him, and the man commands
Like a full soldier. Let’s to the seaside, ho!
As well to see the vessel that’s come in
As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
Even till we make the main and the aerial blue
An indistinct regard.

Third Gentleman

Come, let’s do so:
For every minute is expectancy
Of more arrivance.

Enter Cassio

Cassio

Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle,
That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens
Give him defence against the elements,
For I have lost us him on a dangerous sea.

Montano

Is he well shipp’d?

Cassio

His bark is stoutly timber’d, his pilot
Of very expert and approved allowance;
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
Stand in bold cure.

A cry within ‘A sail, a sail, a sail!’

Enter a fourth Gentleman

Cassio

What noise?

Fourth Gentleman

The town is empty; on the brow o’ the sea
Stand ranks of people, and they cry ‘A sail!’

Cassio

My hopes do shape him for the governor.

Guns heard

Second Gentlemen

They do discharge their shot of courtesy:
Our friends at least.

Cassio

I pray you, sir, go forth,
And give us truth who ’tis that is arrived.

Second Gentleman

I shall.

Exit

Montano

But, good lieutenant, is your general wived?

Cassio

Most fortunately: he hath achieved a maid
That paragons description and wild fame;
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in the essential vesture of creation
Does tire the ingener.

Re-enter second Gentleman

How now! who has put in?

Second Gentleman

’Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.

Cassio

Has had most favourable and happy speed:
Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
The gutter’d rocks and congregated sands —
Traitors ensteep’d to clog the guiltless keel —
As having sense of beauty, do omit
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
The divine Desdemona.

Montano

What is she?

Cassio

She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain,
Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,
Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
A se’nnight’s speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
Make love’s quick pants in Desdemona’s arms,
Give renew’d fire to our extincted spirits
And bring all Cyprus comfort!

Enter Desdemona, Emilia, Iago, Roderigo, and Attendants

O, behold,
The riches of the ship is come on shore!
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
Hail to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand,
Enwheel thee round!

Desdemona

I thank you, valiant Cassio.
What tidings can you tell me of my lord?

Cassio

He is not yet arrived: nor know I aught
But that he’s well and will be shortly here.

Desdemona

O, but I fear — How lost you company?

Cassio

The great contention of the sea and skies
Parted our fellowship — But, hark! a sail.

Within ‘A sail, a sail!’ Guns heard

Second Gentleman

They give their greeting to the citadel;
This likewise is a friend.

Cassio

See for the news.

Exit Gentleman

Good ancient, you are welcome.

To Emilia

Welcome, mistress.
Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
That I extend my manners; ’tis my breeding
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.

Kissing her

Iago

Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You’ll have enough.

Desdemona

Alas, she has no speech.

Iago

In faith, too much;
I find it still, when I have list to sleep:
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,
She puts her tongue a little in her heart,
And chides with thinking.

Emilia

You have little cause to say so.

Iago

Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,
Bells in your parlors, wild-cats in your kitchens,
Saints m your injuries, devils being offended,
Players in your housewifery, and housewives’ in your beds.

Desdemona

O, fie upon thee, slanderer!

Iago

Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:
You rise to play and go to bed to work.

Emilia

You shall not write my praise.

Iago

No, let me not.

Desdemona

What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?

Iago

O gentle lady, do not put me to’t;
For I am nothing, if not critical.

Desdemona

Come on assay. There’s one gone to the harbour?

Iago

Ay, madam.

Desdemona

I am not merry; but I do beguile
The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.
Come, how wouldst thou praise me?

Iago

I am about it; but indeed my invention
Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frize;
It plucks out brains and all: but my Muse labours,
And thus she is deliver’d.
If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit,
The one’s for use, the other useth it.

Desdemona

Well praised! How if she be black and witty?

Iago

If she be black, and thereto have a wit,
She’ll find a white that shall her blackness fit.

Desdemona

Worse and worse.

Emilia

How if fair and foolish?

Iago

She never yet was foolish that was fair;
For even her folly help’d her to an heir.

Desdemona

These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’ the alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for her that’s foul and foolish?

Iago

There’s none so foul and foolish thereunto,
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

Desdemona

O heavy ignorance! thou praisest the worst best. But what praise couldst thou bestow on a deserving woman indeed, one that, in the authority of her merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?

Iago

She that was ever fair and never proud,
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
Never lack’d gold and yet went never gay,
Fled from her wish and yet said ‘Now I may,’
She that being anger’d, her revenge being nigh,
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
She that in wisdom never was so frail
To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail;
She that could think and ne’er disclose her mind,
See suitors following and not look behind,
She was a wight, if ever such wight were —

Desdemona

To do what?

Iago

To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.

Desdemona

O most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal counsellor?

Cassio

He speaks home, madam: You may relish him more in the soldier than in the scholar.

Iago

[Aside] He takes her by the palm: ay, well said, whisper: with as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own courtship. You say true; ’tis so, indeed: if such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again you are most apt to play the sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent courtesy! ’tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers to your lips? would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!

Trumpet within

The Moor! I know his trumpet.

Cassio

’Tis truly so.

Desdemona

Let’s meet him and receive him.

Cassio

Lo, where he comes!

Enter Othello and Attendants

Othello

O my fair warrior!

Desdemona

  My dear Othello!

Othello

It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul’s joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken’d death!
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high and duck again as low
As hell’s from heaven! If it were now to die,
’Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.

Desdemona

The heavens forbid
But that our loves and comforts should increase,
Even as our days do grow!

Othello

Amen to that, sweet powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content;
It stops me here; it is too much of joy:
And this, and this, the greatest discords be

Kissing her

That e’er our hearts shall make!

Iago

[Aside] O, you are well tuned now!
But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music,
As honest as I am.

Othello

  Come, let us to the castle.
News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown’d.
How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
Honey, you shall be well desired in Cyprus;
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago,
Go to the bay and disembark my coffers:
Bring thou the master to the citadel;
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona,
Once more, well met at Cyprus.

Exeunt Othello, Desdemona, and Attendants

Iago

Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come hither. If thou be’st valiant — as, they say, base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them — list me. The lieutenant tonight watches on the court of guard:— first, I must tell thee this — Desdemona is directly in love with him.

Roderigo

With him! why, ’tis not possible.

Iago

Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor, but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies: and will she love him still for prating? let not thy discreet heart think it. Her eye must be fed; and what delight shall she have to look on the devil? When the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should be, again to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favour, sympathy in years, manners and beauties; all which the Moor is defective in: now, for want of these required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will find itself abused, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will instruct her in it and compel her to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted — as it is a most pregnant and unforced position — who stands so eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio does? a knave very voluble; no further conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming, for the better compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection? why, none; why, none: a slipper and subtle knave, a finder of occasions, that has an eye can stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never present itself; a devilish knave. Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after: a pestilent complete knave; and the woman hath found him already.

Roderigo

I cannot believe that in her; she’s full of most blessed condition.

Iago

Blessed fig’s-end! the wine she drinks is made of grapes: if she had been blessed, she would never have loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? didst not mark that?

Roderigo

Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.

Iago

Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure prologue to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met so near with their lips that their breaths embraced together. Villanous thoughts, Roderigo! when these mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes the master and main exercise, the incorporate conclusion, Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me: I have brought you from Venice. Watch you to-night; for the command, I’ll lay’t upon you. Cassio knows you not. I’ll not be far from you: do you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline; or from what other course you please, which the time shall more favourably minister.

Roderigo

Well.

Iago

Sir, he is rash and very sudden in choler, and haply may strike at you: provoke him, that he may; for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny; whose qualification shall come into no true taste again but by the displanting of Cassio. So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by the means I shall then have to prefer them; and the impediment most profitably removed, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity.

Roderigo

I will do this, if I can bring it to any opportunity.

Iago

I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel:
I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.

Roderigo

Adieu.

Exit

Iago

That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
That she loves him, ’tis apt and of great credit:
The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,
And I dare think he’ll prove to Desdemona
A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure
I stand accountant for as great a sin,
But partly led to diet my revenge,
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap’d into my seat; the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards;
And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am even’d with him, wife for wife,
Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb —
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too —
Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me.
For making him egregiously an ass
And practising upon his peace and quiet
Even to madness. ’Tis here, but yet confused:
Knavery’s plain face is never seen tin used.

Exit

Scene II. A street.

Enter a Herald with a proclamation; People following

Herald

It is Othello’s pleasure, our noble and valiant general, that, upon certain tidings now arrived, importing the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet, every man put himself into triumph; some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and revels his addiction leads him: for, besides these beneficial news, it is the celebration of his nuptial. So much was his pleasure should be proclaimed. All offices are open, and there is full liberty of feasting from this present hour of five till the bell have told eleven. Heaven bless the isle of Cyprus and our noble general Othello!

Exeunt

Scene III. A hall in the castle.

Enter Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Attendants

Othello

Good Michael, look you to the guard to-night:
Let’s teach ourselves that honourable stop,
Not to outsport discretion.

Cassio

Iago hath direction what to do;
But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
Will I look to’t.

Othello

  Iago is most honest.
Michael, good night: to-morrow with your earliest
Let me have speech with you.

To Desdemona

Come, my dear love,
The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
That profit’s yet to come ’tween me and you.
Good night.

Exeunt Othello, Desdemona, and Attendants

Enter Iago

Cassio

Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.

Iago

Not this hour, lieutenant; ’tis not yet ten o’ the clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love of his Desdemona; who let us not therefore blame: he hath not yet made wanton the night with her; and she is sport for Jove.

Cassio

She’s a most exquisite lady.

Iago

And, I’ll warrant her, fun of game.

Cassio

Indeed, she’s a most fresh and delicate creature.

Iago

What an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley of provocation.

Cassio

An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.

Iago

And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?

Cassio

She is indeed perfection.

Iago

Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I have a stoup of wine; and here without are a brace of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to the health of black Othello.

Cassio

Not to-night, good Iago: I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.

Iago

O, they are our friends; but one cup: I’ll drink for you.

Cassio

I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was craftily qualified too, and, behold, what innovation it makes here: I am unfortunate in the infirmity, and dare not task my weakness with any more.

Iago

What, man! ’tis a night of revels: the gallants desire it.

Cassio

Where are they?

Iago

Here at the door; I pray you, call them in.

Cassio

I’ll do’t; but it dislikes me.

Exit

Iago

If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
With that which he hath drunk to-night already,
He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence
As my young mistress’ dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
Whom love hath turn’d almost the wrong side out,
To Desdemona hath to-night caroused
Potations pottle-deep; and he’s to watch:
Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,
That hold their honours in a wary distance,
The very elements of this warlike isle,
Have I to-night fluster’d with flowing cups,
And they watch too. Now, ’mongst this flock of drunkards,
Am I to put our Cassio in some action
That may offend the isle. — But here they come:
If consequence do but approve my dream,
My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.

Re-enter Cassio; with him Montano and Gentlemen; servants following with wine

Cassio

’Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.

Montano

Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am a soldier.

Iago

Some wine, ho!

Sings

And let me the canakin clink, clink;
And let me the canakin clink
A soldier’s a man;
A life’s but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink.
Some wine, boys!

Cassio

’Fore God, an excellent song.

Iago

I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander — Drink, ho! — are nothing to your English.

Cassio

Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?

Iago

Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle can be filled.

Cassio

To the health of our general!

Montano

I am for it, lieutenant; and I’ll do you justice.

Iago

O sweet England!
King Stephen was a worthy peer,
His breeches cost him but a crown;
He held them sixpence all too dear,
With that he call’d the tailor lown.
He was a wight of high renown,
And thou art but of low degree:
’Tis pride that pulls the country down;
Then take thine auld cloak about thee.
Some wine, ho!

Cassio

Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.

Iago

Will you hear’t again?

Cassio

No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that does those things. Well, God’s above all; and there be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

Iago

It’s true, good lieutenant.

Cassio

For mine own part — no offence to the general, nor any man of quality — I hope to be saved.

Iago

And so do I too, lieutenant.

Cassio

Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let’s have no more of this; let’s to our affairs. — Forgive us our sins! — Gentlemen, let’s look to our business. Do not think, gentlemen. I am drunk: this is my ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left: I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and speak well enough.

All

Excellent well.

Cassio

Why, very well then; you must not think then that I am drunk.

Exit

Montano

To the platform, masters; come, let’s set the watch.

Iago

You see this fellow that is gone before;
He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
And give direction: and do but see his vice;
’Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
The one as long as the other: ’tis pity of him.
I fear the trust Othello puts him in.
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.

Montano

But is he often thus?

Iago

’Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
He’ll watch the horologe a double set,
If drink rock not his cradle.

Montano

It were well
The general were put in mind of it.
Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
And looks not on his evils: is not this true?

Enter Roderigo

Iago

[Aside to him] How now, Roderigo!
I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.

Exit Roderigo

Montano

And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor
Should hazard such a place as his own second
With one of an ingraft infirmity:
It were an honest action to say
So to the Moor.

Iago

  Not I, for this fair island:
I do love Cassio well; and would do much
To cure him of this evil — But, hark! what noise?

Cry within: ‘Help! help!’

Re-enter Cassio, driving in Roderigo

Cassio

You rogue! you rascal!

Montano

What’s the matter, lieutenant?

Cassio

A knave teach me my duty!
I’ll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.

Roderigo

Beat me!

Cassio

  Dost thou prate, rogue?

Striking Roderigo

Montano

Nay, good lieutenant;

Staying him

I pray you, sir, hold your hand.

Cassio

Let me go, sir,
Or I’ll knock you o’er the mazzard.

Montano

Come, come, you’re drunk.

Cassio

Drunk!

They fight

Iago

[Aside to Roderigo] Away, I say; go out, and cry a mutiny.

Exit Roderigo

Nay, good lieutenant — alas, gentlemen; —
Help, ho! — Lieutenant — sir — Montano — sir;
Help, masters! — Here’s a goodly watch indeed!

Bell rings

Who’s that which rings the bell? — Diablo, ho!
The town will rise: God’s will, lieutenant, hold!
You will be shamed for ever.

Re-enter Othello and Attendants

Othello

What is the matter here?

Montano

’Zounds, I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.

Faints

Othello

Hold, for your lives!

Iago

Hold, ho! Lieutenant — sir — Montano — gentlemen —
Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!

Othello

Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
Are we turn’d Turks, and to ourselves do that
Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
Silence that dreadful bell: it frights the isle
From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
Honest Iago, that look’st dead with grieving,
Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.

Iago

I do not know: friends all but now, even now,
In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
Devesting them for bed; and then, but now —
As if some planet had unwitted men —
Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breast,
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
Any beginning to this peevish odds;
And would in action glorious I had lost
Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

Othello

How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

Cassio

I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.

Othello

Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil;
The gravity and stillness of your youth
The world hath noted, and your name is great
In mouths of wisest censure: what’s the matter,
That you unlace your reputation thus
And spend your rich opinion for the name
Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.

Montano

Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger:
Your officer, Iago, can inform you —
While I spare speech, which something now offends me —
Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
By me that’s said or done amiss this night;
Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
And to defend ourselves it be a sin
When violence assails us.

Othello

Now, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
And passion, having my best judgment collied,
Assays to lead the way: if I once stir,
Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
How this foul rout began, who set it on;
And he that is approved in this offence,
Though he had twinn’d with me, both at a birth,
Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,
Yet wild, the people’s hearts brimful of fear,
To manage private and domestic quarrel,
In night, and on the court and guard of safety!
’Tis monstrous. Iago, who began’t?

Montano

If partially affined, or leagued in office,
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
Thou art no soldier.

Iago

Touch me not so near:
I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general.
Montano and myself being in speech,
There comes a fellow crying out for help:
And Cassio following him with determined sword,
To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause:
Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
Lest by his clamour — as it so fell out —
The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
Outran my purpose; and I return’d the rather
For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
And Cassio high in oath; which till to-night
I ne’er might say before. When I came back —
For this was brief — I found them close together,
At blow and thrust; even as again they were
When you yourself did part them.
More of this matter cannot I report:
But men are men; the best sometimes forget:
Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
From him that fled some strange indignity,
Which patience could not pass.

Othello

I know, Iago,
Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee
But never more be officer of mine.

Re-enter Desdemona, attended

Look, if my gentle love be not raised up!
I’ll make thee an example.

Desdemona

What’s the matter?

Othello

All’s well now, sweeting; come away to bed.
Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon:
Lead him off.

To Montano, who is led off

Iago, look with care about the town,
And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.
Come, Desdemona: ’tis the soldiers’ life
To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.

Exeunt all but Iago and Cassio

Iago

What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

Cassio

Ay, past all surgery.

Iago

Marry, heaven forbid!

Cassio

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

Iago

As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily wound; there is more sense in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition: oft got without merit, and lost without deserving: you have lost no reputation at all, unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man! there are ways to recover the general again: you are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion: sue to him again, and he’s yours.

Cassio

I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot? and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse fustian with one’s own shadow? O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!

Iago

What was he that you followed with your sword?
What had he done to you?

Cassio

I know not.

Iago

Is’t possible?

Cassio

I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!

Iago

Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus recovered?

Cassio

It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me another, to make me frankly despise myself.

Iago

Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time, the place, and the condition of this country stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen; but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.

Cassio

I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.

Iago

Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used: exclaim no more against it. And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.

Cassio

I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!

Iago

You or any man living may be drunk! at a time, man. I’ll tell you what you shall do. Our general’s wife is now the general: may say so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and given up himself to the contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and graces: confess yourself freely to her; importune her help to put you in your place again: she is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested: this broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my fortunes against any lay worth naming, this crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.

Cassio

You advise me well.

Iago

I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.

Cassio

I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me: I am desperate of my fortunes if they cheque me here.

Iago

You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I must to the watch. Cassio: Good night, honest Iago.

Exit

Iago

And what’s he then that says I play the villain?
When this advice is free I give and honest,
Probal to thinking and indeed the course
To win the Moor again? For ’tis most easy
The inclining Desdemona to subdue
In any honest suit: she’s framed as fruitful
As the free elements. And then for her
To win the Moor — were’t to renounce his baptism,
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
His soul is so enfetter’d to her love,
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
Even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function. How am I then a villain
To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
When devils will the blackest sins put on,
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear,
That she repeals him for her body’s lust;
And by how much she strives to do him good,
She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
And out of her own goodness make the net
That shall enmesh them all.

Re-enter Roderigo

How now, Roderigo!

Roderigo

I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall have so much experience for my pains, and so, with no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.

Iago

How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou know’st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
And wit depends on dilatory time.
Does’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier’d Cassio:
Though other things grow fair against the sun,
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
Content thyself awhile. By the mass, ’tis morning;
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
Nay, get thee gone.

Exit Roderigo

Two things are to be done:
My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress;
I’ll set her on;
Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
Soliciting his wife: ay, that’s the way
Dull not device by coldness and delay.

Exit

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:30