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ACT III SCENE I Before the castle.
Enter CASSIO and some Musicians.
CASSIO Masters, play here; I will content your pains;
Something that’s brief; and bid ‘Good morrow, general.’
Enter Clown.
Clown Why masters, have your instruments been in Naples,
that they speak i’ the nose thus?  5
First Musician How, sir, how!
Clown Are these, I pray you, wind-instruments?
First Musician Ay, marry, are they, sir.
Clown O, thereby hangs a tail.
First Musician Whereby hangs a tale, sir?  10
Clown Marry. sir, by many a wind-instrument that I know.
But, masters, here’s money for you: and the general
so likes your music, that he desires you, for love’s
sake, to make no more noise with it.
First Musician Well, sir, we will not.  15
Clown If you have any music that may not be heard, to’t
again: but, as they say to hear music the general
does not greatly care.
First Musician We have none such, sir.
Clown Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I’ll away:  20
go; vanish into air; away!
Exeunt Musicians.
CASSIO Dost thou hear, my honest friend?
Clown No, I hear not your honest friend; I hear you.
CASSIO Prithee, keep up thy quillets. There’s a poor piece
of gold for thee: if the gentlewoman that attends  25
the general’s wife be stirring, tell her there’s
one Cassio entreats her a little favour of speech:
wilt thou do this?
Clown She is stirring, sir: if she will stir hither, I
shall seem to notify unto her.  30
CASSIO Do, good my friend.
Exit Clown.
Enter IAGO.
In happy time, Iago.
IAGO You have not been a-bed, then?
CASSIO Why, no; the day had broke
Before we parted. I have made bold, Iago,  35
To send in to your wife: my suit to her
Is, that she will to virtuous Desdemona
Procure me some access.
IAGO I’ll send her to you presently;
And I’ll devise a mean to draw the Moor  40
Out of the way, that your converse and business
May be more free.
CASSIO I humbly thank you for’t.
Exit IAGO.
I never knew
A Florentine more kind and honest.  45
EMILIA Good morrow, good Lieutenant: I am sorry
For your displeasure; but all will sure be well.
The general and his wife are talking of it;
And she speaks for you stoutly: the Moor replies,
That he you hurt is of great fame in Cyprus,  50
And great affinity, and that in wholesome wisdom
He might not but refuse you; but he protests he loves you
And needs no other suitor but his likings
To take the safest occasion by the front
To bring you in again.  55
CASSIO Yet, I beseech you,
If you think fit, or that it may be done,
Give me advantage of some brief discourse
With Desdemona alone.
EMILIA Pray you, come in;  60
I will bestow you where you shall have time
To speak your bosom freely.
CASSIO I am much bound to you.

Othello, Act 3, Scene 2


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 1

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.


24. Quillets, short for quidlibet, anything; you choose.

45. Iago was a Venetian, and Cassio a Florentine.
{Additional Note: This line has prompted some needless debate over Iago’s place of origin. Iago is identified as Venetian in two separate scenes in Acts 3 and 5. Cassio here is stating that he has never met someone — not even a fellow Florentine — as kind and honest as this Venetian Iago.}

47. Displeasure, the disfavor you are in.

61. Bestow, stow, place in secrecy.


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