Print Friendly, PDF & Email


ACT I SCENE IIAnother street.
Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants with torches.
IAGOThough in the trade of war I have slain men,
Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ the conscience
To do no contrived murder: I lack iniquity
Sometimes to do me service: nine or ten times
I had thought to have yerk’d him here under the ribs.
OTHELLO‘Tis better as it is.
IAGONay, but he prated,
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
Against your honour
That, with the little godliness I have,
I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray you, sir, 10
Are you fast married? Be assured of this,
That the magnifico is much beloved,
And hath in his effect a voice potential
As double as the duke’s: he will divorce you;
Or put upon you what restraint and grievance
The law, with all his might to enforce it on,
Will give him cable.
OTHELLOLet him do his spite:
My services which I have done the signiory
Shall out-tongue his complaints. ‘Tis yet to know,–
Which, when I know that boasting is an honour, 20
I shall promulgate–I fetch my life and being
From men of royal siege, and my demerits
May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune
As this that I have reach’d: for know, Iago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea’s worth. But, look! what lights come yond?
IAGOThose are the raised father and his friends:
You were best go in.
OTHELLONot I I must be found: 30
My parts, my title and my perfect soul
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?
IAGOBy Janus, I think no.
Enter CASSIO, and certain Officers with torches.
OTHELLOThe servants of the duke, and my lieutenant.
The goodness of the night upon you, friends!
What is the news?
CASSIOThe duke does greet you, general,
And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance,
Even on the instant.
OTHELLOWhat is the matter, think you?
CASSIOSomething from Cyprus as I may divine:
It is a business of some heat: the galleys 40
Have sent a dozen sequent messengers
This very night at one another’s heels,
And many of the consuls, raised and met,
Are at the duke’s already: you have been
hotly call’d for;
When, being not at your lodging to be found,
The senate hath sent about three several guests
To search you out.
OTHELLO‘Tis well I am found by you.
I will but spend a word here in the house,
And go with you.
CASSIOAncient, what makes he here?
IAGO‘Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land carack: 50
If it prove lawful prize, he’s made for ever.
CASSIOI do not understand.
IAGOHe’s married.
Re-enter OTHELLO.
IAGOMarry, to–Come, captain, will you go?
OTHELLOHave with you.
CASSIOHere comes another troop to seek for you.
IAGOIt is Brabantio. General, be advised;
He comes to bad intent.
Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers with torches and weapons.
OTHELLOHolla! stand there!
RODERIGOSignior, it is the Moor.
BRABANTIODown with him, thief!
They draw on both sides
IAGOYou, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you.
OTHELLOKeep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
Good signior, you shall more command with years 60
Than with your weapons.
BRABANTIOO thou foul thief, where hast thou stow’d my daughter?
Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her;
For I’ll refer me to all things of sense,
If she in chains of magic were not bound,
Whether a maid so tender, fair and happy,
So opposite to marriage that she shunned
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,
Would ever have, to incur a general mock,
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom 70
Of such a thing as thou, to fear, not to delight.
Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense
That thou hast practised on her with foul charms,
Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
That weaken motion: I’ll have’t disputed on;
‘Tis probable and palpable to thinking.
I therefore apprehend and do attach thee
For an abuser of the world, a practiser
Of arts inhibited and out of warrant.
Lay hold upon him: if he do resist, 80
Subdue him at his peril.
OTHELLOHold your hands,
Both you of my inclining, and the rest:
Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
Without a prompter. Where will you that I go
To answer this your charge?
BRABANTIOTo prison, till fit time
Of law and course of direct session
Call thee to answer.
OTHELLOWhat if I do obey?
How may the duke be therewith satisfied,
Whose messengers are here about my side,
Upon some present business of the state 90
To bring me to him?
First Officer‘Tis true, most worthy signior;
The duke’s in council and your noble self,
I am sure, is sent for.
BRABANTIOHow! the duke in council!
In this time of the night! Bring him away:
Mine’s not an idle cause: the duke himself,
Or any of my brothers of the state,
Cannot but feel this wrong as ’twere their own;
For if such actions may have passage free,
Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.

Othello, Act 1, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 2

From Othello. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard.

Abbreviations. — A.-S. = Anglo-Saxon: M.E. = Middle English (from the 13th to the 15th century) ; Fr. = French ; Ger. = German ; Gr. = Greek ; Cf. = compare (Lat. confer) ; Abbott refers to the excellent Shakespearean Grammar of Dr. Abbott; Schmidt, to Dr. Schmidt’s invaluable Shakespeare Lexicon.


2. Stuff, the essential point.

5. Yerk’d, to strike. Derived possibly from jerk.

9. I scarcely tolerated him.

12. The magnifico— i.e., Brabantio— has practically twice as much influence as the Doge.

17. Cable, from capere to hold; through Low Latin caplum, a holding-rope.

19. To know. Act. inf. for passive.

21. I am of high birth.

22. Demerits. A negative word, used in both senses. Cf. “Opinion shall of his demerits rob Cominius.” — Coriolanus, i.I. 276.

26, 27. I, now free, would not tie myself.

31. Parts, disposition or talents.

41. Sequent, one after another.

43. Consuls, counsellors.

50. Carack, or carrack, O.F. carraque, a ship of burden.

52. To who? In the Elizabethan period there was much confusion respecting the case-forms of the interrogative and. other pronouns.

53. Marry, by the Virgin Mary. The pun is probably intentional, though Shakespeare was dropping the habit.

60. Your words, as those of an old man, will do more than your weapons.

71. Fear and delight. Possibly nouns, but more probably, as Abbott, “Thou a thing (fit) to fear, not to delight.”

73. The use of philtres, or drugs, to produce feelings of love, was common among the ancients.

75. Readings vary between weaken and waken. The latter is the easier to understand, and therefore less likely to have been altered.

76. Probable, in its more strict sense, admitting proof. Palpable, that can be felt.

82. Of my inclining, who lean towards me.

83. Cue, derived from French queue, a tail. A stage word, the end of one speech waited for by the actor who has to carry on the dialogue without interrupting.

91. The officer addresses Brabantio.

98. If we tolerate such an offence against our dignity, we shall soon lose it.


How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1892.