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ACT IV SCENE IIA room in the castle.
OTHELLOYou have seen nothing then?
EMILIANor ever heard, nor ever did suspect.
OTHELLOYes, you have seen Cassio and she together.
EMILIABut then I saw no harm, and then I heard 5
Each syllable that breath made up between them.
OTHELLOWhat, did they never whisper?
EMILIANever, my lord.
OTHELLONor send you out o’ the way?
EMILIANever. 10
OTHELLOTo fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing?
EMILIANever, my lord.
OTHELLOThat’s strange.
EMILIAI durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other, 15
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!
For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true,
There’s no man happy; the purest of their wives 20
Is foul as slander.
OTHELLOBid her come hither: go.
She says enough; yet she’s a simple bawd
That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore,
A closet lock and key of villanous secrets 25
And yet she’ll kneel and pray; I have seen her do’t.
DESDEMONAMy lord, what is your will?
OTHELLOPray, chuck, come hither.
DESDEMONAWhat is your pleasure?
OTHELLOLet me see your eyes; 30
Look in my face.
DESDEMONAWhat horrible fancy’s this?
Leave procreants alone and shut the door;
Cough, or cry ‘hem,’ if any body come:
Your mystery, your mystery: nay, dispatch. 35
DESDEMONAUpon my knees, what doth your speech import?
I understand a fury in your words.
But not the words.
OTHELLOWhy, what art thou?
DESDEMONAYour wife, my lord; your true 40
And loyal wife.
OTHELLOCome, swear it, damn thyself
Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves
Should fear to seize thee: therefore be double damn’d:
Swear thou art honest. 45
DESDEMONAHeaven doth truly know it.
OTHELLOHeaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.
DESDEMONATo whom, my lord? with whom? how am I false?
OTHELLOO Desdemona! away! away! away!
DESDEMONAAlas the heavy day! Why do you weep? 50
Am I the motive of these tears, my lord?
If haply you my father do suspect
An instrument of this your calling back,
Lay not your blame on me: If you have lost him,
Why, I have lost him too. 55
OTHELLOHad it pleased heaven
To try me with affliction; had they rain’d
All kinds of sores and shames on my bare head.
Steep’d me in poverty to the very lips,
Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes, 60
I should have found in some place of my soul
A drop of patience: but, alas, to make me
A fixed figure for the time of scorn
To point his slow unmoving finger at!
Yet could I bear that too; well, very well: 65
But there, where I have garner’d up my heart,
Where either I must live, or bear no life;
The fountain from the which my current runs,
Or else dries up; to be discarded thence!
Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads 70
To knot and gender in! Turn thy complexion there,
Patience, thou young and rose-lipp’d cherubin,–
Ay, there, look grim as hell!
DESDEMONAI hope my noble lord esteems me honest.
OTHELLOO, ay; as summer flies are in the shambles, 75
That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed,
Who art so lovely fair and smell’st so sweet
That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst
ne’er been born!
DESDEMONAAlas, what ignorant sin have I committed? 80
OTHELLOWas this fair paper, this most goodly book,
Made to write ‘whore’ upon? What committed!
Committed! O thou public commoner!
I should make very forges of my cheeks,
That would to cinders burn up modesty, 85
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
Is hush’d within the hollow mine of earth,
And will not hear it. What committed! 90
Impudent strumpet!
DESDEMONABy heaven, you do me wrong.
OTHELLOAre you not a strumpet?
DESDEMONANo, as I am a Christian:
If to preserve this vessel for my lord 95
From any other foul unlawful touch
Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.
OTHELLOWhat, not a whore?
DESDEMONANo, as I shall be saved.
OTHELLOIs’t possible? 100
DESDEMONAO, heaven forgive us!
OTHELLOI cry you mercy, then:
I took you for that cunning whore of Venice
That married with Othello.
Raising his voice.
You, mistress, 105
That have the office opposite to Saint Peter,
And keep the gate of hell!
Re-enter EMILIA.
You, you, ay, you!
We have done our course; there’s money for your pains:
I pray you, turn the key and keep our counsel. 110
EMILIAAlas, what does this gentleman conceive?
How do you, madam? how do you, my good lady?
DESDEMONA‘Faith, half asleep.
EMILIAGood madam, what’s the matter with my lord?
DESDEMONAWith who? 115
EMILIAWhy, with my lord, madam.
DESDEMONAWho is thy lord?
EMILIAHe that is yours, sweet lady.
DESDEMONAI have none: do not talk to me, Emilia;
I cannot weep; nor answer have I none, 120
But what should go by water. Prithee, tonight
Lay on my bed my wedding sheets: remember;
And call thy husband hither.
EMILIAHere’s a change indeed!
DESDEMONA‘Tis meet I should be used so, very meet. 125
How have I been behaved, that he might stick
The small’st opinion on my least misuse?
Re-enter EMILIA with IAGO.
IAGOWhat is your pleasure, madam?
How is’t with you?
DESDEMONAI cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes 130
Do it with gentle means and easy tasks:
He might have chid me so; for, in good faith,
I am a child to chiding.
IAGOWhat’s the matter, lady?
EMILIAAlas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her. 135
Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her,
As true hearts cannot bear.
DESDEMONAAm I that name, Iago?
IAGOWhat name, fair lady?
DESDEMONASuch as she says my lord did say I was. 140
EMILIAHe call’d her whore: a beggar in his drink
Could not have laid such terms upon his callet.
IAGOWhy did he so?
DESDEMONAI do not know; I am sure I am none such.
IAGODo not weep, do not weep. Alas the day! 145
EMILIAHath she forsook so many noble matches,
Her father and her country and her friends,
To be call’d whore? would it not make one weep?
DESDEMONAIt is my wretched fortune.
IAGOBeshrew him for’t! 150
How comes this trick upon him?
DESDEMONANay, heaven doth know.
EMILIAI will be hang’d, if some eternal villain,
Some busy and insinuating rogue,
Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office, 155
Have not devised this slander; I’ll be hang’d else.
IAGOFie, there is no such man; it is impossible.
DESDEMONAIf any such there be, heaven pardon him!
EMILIAA halter pardon him! and hell gnaw his bones!
Why should he call her whore? who keeps her company? 160
What place? what time? what form? what likelihood?
The Moor’s abused by some most villanous knave,
Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow.
O heaven, that such companions thou’ldst unfold,
And put in every honest hand a whip 165
To lash the rascals naked through the world
Even from the east to the west!
IAGOSpeak within door.
EMILIAO, fie upon them! Some such squire he was
That turn’d your wit the seamy side without, 170
And made you to suspect me with the Moor.
IAGOYou are a fool; go to.
What shall I do to win my lord again?
Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven, 175
I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:
If e’er 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; 180
Or 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! Unkindness may do much;
And his unkindness may defeat my life, 185
But 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.
IAGOI pray you, be content; ’tis but his humour: 190
The business of the state does him offence,
And he does chide with you.
DESDEMONAIf ’twere no other–
IAGO‘Tis but so, I warrant.
Trumpets within.
Hark, how these instruments summon to supper! 195
The messengers of Venice stay the meat;
Go in, and weep not; all things shall be well.
How now, Roderigo!
RODERIGOI do not find that thou dealest justly with me.
IAGOWhat in the contrary? 200
RODERIGOEvery day thou daffest me with some device, Iago;
and rather, as it seems to me now, keepest from me
all conveniency than suppliest me with the least
advantage of hope. I will indeed no longer endure
it, nor am I yet persuaded to put up in peace what 205
already I have foolishly suffered.
IAGOWill you hear me, Roderigo?
RODERIGO‘Faith, I have heard too much, for your words and
performances are no kin together.
IAGOYou charge me most unjustly. 210
RODERIGOWith nought but truth. I have wasted myself out of
my means. The jewels you have had from me to
deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a
votarist: you have told me she hath received them
and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden 215
respect and acquaintance, but I find none.
IAGOWell; go to; very well.
RODERIGOVery well! go to! I cannot go to, man; nor ’tis
not very well: nay, I think it is scurvy, and begin
to find myself fobbed in it. 220
IAGOVery well.
RODERIGOI tell you ’tis not very well. I will make myself
known to Desdemona: if she will return me my
jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my
unlawful solicitation; if not, assure yourself I 225
will seek satisfaction of you.
IAGOYou have said now.
RODERIGOAy, and said nothing but what I protest intendment of doing.
IAGOWhy, now I see there’s mettle in thee, and even from
this instant to build on thee a better opinion than 230
ever before. Give me thy hand, Roderigo: thou hast
taken against me a most just exception; but yet, I
protest, I have dealt most directly in thy affair.
RODERIGOIt hath not appeared.
IAGOI grant indeed it hath not appeared, and your 235
suspicion is not without wit and judgment. But,
Roderigo, if thou hast that in thee indeed, which I
have greater reason to believe now than ever, I mean
purpose, courage and valour, this night show it: if
thou the next night following enjoy not Desdemona, 240
take me from this world with treachery and devise
engines for my life.
RODERIGOWell, what is it? is it within reason and compass?
IAGOSir, there is especial commission come from Venice
to depute Cassio in Othello’s place. 245
RODERIGOIs that true? why, then Othello and Desdemona
return again to Venice.
IAGOO, no; he goes into Mauritania and takes away with
him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be
lingered here by some accident: wherein none can be 250
so determinate as the removing of Cassio.
RODERIGOHow do you mean, removing of him?
IAGOWhy, by making him uncapable of Othello’s place;
knocking out his brains.
RODERIGOAnd that you would have me to do? 255
IAGOAy, 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 horrorable
fortune. If you will watch his going thence, which
I will fashion to fall out between twelve and one, 260
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 you shall think yourself bound to put it on 265
him. It is now high suppertime, and the night grows
to waste: about it.
RODERIGOI will hear further reason for this.
IAGOAnd you shall be satisfied.

Othello, Act 4, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 4, 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.


4. She. Shakespeare’s inflexion of pronouns is very irregular.

14. Durst to wager. See note on ii. 3, 190.

15. Other, otherwise.

35. Mystery, business, trade, profession.

57. They, the gods in heaven.

64, 65. Text doubtful here. Proposed changes numerous and unsatisfactory.

71. Knot and gender, to breed. Turn, change.

115. With who. See note on line 3, supra.

121. Water, tears.

126. Have I been behaved. A relic of the passive is still kept up in well-behaved.

127. Opinion, ill opinion.

142. Callet, a bad woman, a strumpet.

150. Beshrew, curse.

153. Eternal. Some think this word an inaccuracy here for infernal.

155. Cog, cheat. Cozen, act as a cousin, thence, to sponge upon, beguile.

162. Abused, cheated.

201. Daff, put off. Same word as doff.

203. Conveniency, enjoyment of advantage.

214. Votarist, one vowed to a life of religion, a recluse.

220. Fobbed, cozened, cheated.


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