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Othello

Othello Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and attendants with torches

IAGO

Though in the trade of war I have slain men, Yet do I hold it very stuff o' th' conscience To do no contrived murder. I lack iniquity Sometimes to do me service. Nine or ten times I had thought t' have yerked him here under the ribs.

IAGO

Even though I have killed men while serving in war, still my conscience forbids me from committing any premeditated murder. I lack the evil disposition that would sometimes serve my purpose. Nine or ten times I've thought about just stabbing him right under the ribs.

OTHELLO

'Tis better as it is.

OTHELLO

It's better that you haven't.

IAGO

Nay, but he prated And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms Against your honor That, with the little godliness I have, I did full hard forbear him. But I pray you, sir, 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.

IAGO

No, he said such insulting, rude things against your sense of honor that it took all the goodness in me to hold back from hurting him. But I beg you to tell me, sir: are you safely married? Because you can be sure that Senator Barbantio is well-liked in the city, and has twice as much influence as the Duke. He will divorce you two, or at least subject you to whatever restraint and punishment he has the power to inflict.

OTHELLO

Let 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 honor, 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 reached. For know, Iago, But that I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhousèd free condition Put into circumscription and confine For the sea’s worth. But look, what lights come yond?

OTHELLO

Let him do his worst. My good deeds done in service to the city government will have more influence than his complaints. It's not yet well-known—and I won't spread this news until I hear that it's an honor to boast—but I am descended from men of royal lineage. So I'm worthy of the noble fortune of Desdemona's family. And know this, Iago: if I didn't love the gentle Desdemona, I wouldn't give up all my freedom for the confines and restrictions of marriage—not in return for all the treasure in the sea. But look, what light is that, coming from over there?

IAGO

Those are the raisèd father and his friends.You were best go in.

IAGO

That's the awakened father and his friends. You'd better go inside.

OTHELLO

Not I, I must be found.My parts, my title, and my perfect soulShall manifest me rightly. Is it they?

OTHELLO

Not me. I must let them find me. My qualities, my title and legal right to Desdemona as her husband, and my clear conscience will show for all to see. Is that them?

IAGO

By Janus, I think no.

IAGO

By Janus, I think not.

Enter CASSIO, with officers and torches

OTHELLO

The servants of the Duke and my lieutenant? The goodness of the night upon you, friends!What is the news?

OTHELLO

My lieutenant, and the servants of the Duke? May this good night be a blessing to you, friends! What's the news?

CASSIO

The Duke does greet you, general,And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance,Even on the instant.

CASSIO

The Duke sends his greetings, General. And he orders you to come appear before him immediately, right this very instant.

OTHELLO

What’s the matter, think you?

OTHELLO

What do you think is the matter?

CASSIO

Something from Cyprus as I may divine. It is a business of some heat. The galleys 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 called for. When being not at your lodging to be found The Senate hath sent about three several guests To search you out.

CASSIO

Something about Cyprus, I would guess. It's an urgent matter. The warships have sent a dozen successive messengers this very night, one after the other. Many of the senators have woken up and met, and are now already at the Duke's. You've been urgently called for. When you couldn't be found at your home, the Duke sent three separate search parties to look for you.

OTHELLO

'Tis well I am found by you.I will but spend a word here in the houseAnd go with you.

OTHELLO

It's a good thing I was found by you. I'll just go say one thing inside, and then I'll go with you.

Exit

CASSIO

Ancient, what makes he here?

CASSIO

Flag-bearer, what is Othello doing here?

IAGO

Faith, he tonight hath boarded a land carrack.If it prove lawful prize, he’s made for ever.

IAGO

In truth, tonight he's boarded a ship carrying lots of treasure. And if his prize turns out to be legal, he'll be well-off forever.

CASSIO

I do not understand.

CASSIO

I don't understand.

IAGO

He’s married.

IAGO

He got married.

CASSIO

To who?

CASSIO

To whom?

IAGO

Marry, to—

IAGO

Indeed, to—

Enter OTHELLO

Come, captain, will you go?

Come on, captain, will you go now?

OTHELLO

Have with you.

OTHELLO

Yes, I'll go with you.

CASSIO

Here comes another troop to seek for you.

CASSIO

Here comes another group of people looking for you.

Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and officers with torches and weapons

IAGO

It is Brabantio. General, be advised,He comes to bad intent.

IAGO

It's Brabantio. General, be advised that he comes with bad intentions.

OTHELLO

Holla! Stand there!

OTHELLO

Hey! Stop right there!

RODERIGO

Signior, it is the Moor.

RODERIGO

Sir, it is the Moor.

BRABANTIO

Down with him, thief!

BRABANTIO

Get him, the thief!

They draw their swords

IAGO

You, Roderigo! Come, sir, I am for you.

IAGO

You, Roderigo! Come on, sir, I'll fight you.

OTHELLO

Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.Good signior, you shall more command with yearsThan with your weapons.

OTHELLO

Sheathe your shiny swords, or the dew will make them rust. Good sir, your old age commands more respect than your weapons do.

BRABANTIO

O thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter? Damned 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 curlèd darlings of our nation, Would ever have, t' incur a general mock, Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom Of such a thing as thou—to fear, not to delight. Judge me the world if ’tis not gross in sense That thou hast practiced on her with foul charms, Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals That weakens 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 practicer Of arts inhibited and out of warrant.— Lay hold upon him. If he do resist, Subdue him at his peril!

BRABANTIO

Oh, you foul thief! Where have you hidden my daughter? Since you're damned yourself, you probably cast a spell on her! I'll stake my case on plain evidence and common sense as to whether such a tender, beautiful, and happy virgin girl—one who was so opposed to marriage that she shunned even the wealthy, good-looking young men of our city—would have ever risked her reputation to run away from her protected home into the dirty embrace of such a thing as you, a thing to be feared and not loved, unless she had been caught by magic. Let the world be my judge: isn't it completely obvious that you have practiced some evil magic on her, and abused her delicate youth with drugs or toxins that make her weak? I'll bring you to court. This is most likely what happened. Therefore, I hereby arrest you as a criminal and a practitioner of illegal black magic. 

[To the officers] Get a hold of him. If he resists you, subdue him even if it means hurting him.

OTHELLO

Hold your hands, Both you of my inclining and the rest. Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it Without a prompter. Whither will you that I go To answer this your charge?

OTHELLO

Hold on, everyone—both those supporting me, and the rest of you. If this were the time to fight, I'd know it without anyone telling me. So where do you want me to go to answer this accusation of yours?

BRABANTIO

To prison, till fit timeOf law and course of direct sessionCall thee to answer.

BRABANTIO

To prison, until it's time for you to go bear witness at your trial.

OTHELLO

What 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 To bring me to him?

OTHELLO

What happens if I obey you? How would the Duke like that, when he has just sent messengers here to bring me to him on urgent business of the city?

OFFICER

'Tis true, most worthy signior.The Duke’s in council and your noble self,I am sure, is sent for.

OFFICER

That's true, most noble sir. The Duke is in a council meeting, and I am sure you have also been sent for.

BRABANTIO

How? 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, Bondslaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.

BRABANTIO

What? The Duke is having a council meeting? At this hour of the night? Bring him along with us. My cause isn't a frivolous one. The Duke himself, and my fellow senators, will sympathize with my situation as if it were their own. For if we let people get away with things like this, our statesmen will be as good as slaves and pagans.

Exeunt

Othello
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Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.