A line-by-line translation

Othello

Othello Translation Act 1, Scene 3

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter DUKE, SENATORS, and OFFICERS

DUKE

There’s no composition in this newsThat gives them credit.

DUKE

This news is so inconsistent that it doesn't have any credibility.

FIRST SENATOR

Indeed, they are disproportioned.My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.

FIRST SENATOR

Indeed, it is inconsistent. My letters say a hundred and seven ships.

DUKE

And mine a hundred and forty.

DUKE

And my letters say a hundred and forty.

SECOND SENATOR

And mine, two hundred. But though they jump not on a just account— As in these cases, where the aim reports 'Tis oft with difference—yet do they all confirm A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.

SECOND SENATOR

And mine say two hundred. But, although our letters do not agree on the exact number, that's often the case with estimates. And all the reports confirm that there is a Turkish fleet heading toward Cyprus.

DUKE

Nay, it is possible enough to judgment. I do not so secure me in the error, But the main article I do approve In fearful sense.

DUKE

Indeed, that's clear to see. I am not at ease with the discrepancy in the reports, but I understand the general idea of all of them, and it makes me worried.

SAILOR

[within] What, ho, what, ho, what, ho!

SAILOR

[Offstage] Hey! Hey!

OFFICER

A messenger from the galleys.

OFFICER

It's a messenger from the ship.

Enter SAILOR

DUKE

Now, what’s the business?

DUKE

What's going on now?

SAILOR

The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes, So was I bid report here to the stateBy Signior Angelo.

SAILOR

The Turkish forces are heading for Rhodes. Sir Angelo ordered me to bring this news here to the city government.

DUKE

How say you by this change?

DUKE

What do you think of this change?

FIRST SENATOR

This cannot be, By no assay of reason. 'Tis a pageant, To keep us in false gaze. When we consider Th' importancy of Cyprus to the Turk, And let ourselves again but understand That as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes So may he with more facile question bear it, For that it stands not in such warlike brace But altogether lacks th' abilities That Rhodes is dressed in. If we make thought of this We must not think the Turk is so unskillful To leave that latest which concerns him first, Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain To wake and wage a danger profitless.

FIRST SENATOR

This can't be true. It makes no sense. It must be a trick, to draw our attention in the wrong direction. Think about how important Cyprus is to the Turks, and think how much more the Turks care about Cyprus than Rhodes. And also consider that they can take over Cyprus more easily than Rhodes, since it doesn't have the same military defenses that Rhodes has. Considering all this, we cannot think that the Turks would be so foolish as to leave Cyprus for later when it would be easiest to take first. They wouldn't neglect an easy, profitable mission to undertake a dangerous one that wouldn't benefit them as much.

DUKE

Nay, in all confidence, he’s not for Rhodes.

DUKE

I agree completely. The Turks cannot be headed for Rhodes.

OFFICER

Here is more news.

OFFICER

Here comes more news.

Enter a MESSENGER

MESSENGER

The Ottomites, reverend and gracious, Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes,Have there injointed them with an after fleet.

MESSENGER

Your Honor, the Ottomites have steered their fleet of ships toward the island of Rhodes, and added a second fleet to that one.

FIRST SENATOR

Ay, so I thought. How many, as you guess?

FIRST SENATOR

Just as I thought. How many of them do you think are there?

MESSENGER

Of thirty sail. And now they do re-stem Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance Their purposes toward Cyprus. Signior Montano, Your trusty and most valiant servitor, With his free duty recommends you thus, And prays you to believe him.

MESSENGER

Thirty ships. And now they are retracing their course backwards, clearly sailing towards Cyprus. Sir Montano, your trusty and bravest servant, has sent me to bring you this news, and he prays you will believe him.

DUKE

'Tis certain then for Cyprus.Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town?

DUKE

Then it's certain that they are going for Cyprus. Is Marcus Luccicos not in town?

FIRST SENATOR

He’s now in Florence.

FIRST SENATOR

He's in Florence now.

DUKE

Write from us to him. Post-post-haste, dispatch.

DUKE

Write him a letter from us. Right away, hurry now.

FIRST SENATOR

Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.

FIRST SENATOR

Here comes Brabantio and the brave Moor.

Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, CASSIO, IAGO, RODERIGO, and officers

DUKE

Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you Against the general enemy Ottoman— [to BRABANTIO] I did not see you. Welcome, gentle signior. We lacked your counsel and your help tonight.

DUKE

Brave Othello, we must send you immediately to go fight against the Ottoman forces, enemy to us all.

[To BRABANTIO]
 I didn't see you. Welcome, noble sir. We missed your advice and help tonight.

BRABANTIO

So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me. Neither my place nor aught I heard of business Hath raised me from my bed, nor doth the general care Take hold on me, for my particular grief Is of so flood-gate and o'erbearing nature That it engluts and swallows other sorrows And it is still itself.

BRABANTIO

And I missed your help, too. Your Grace, pardon me. It is neither my official position nor anything I heard about business that has gotten me out of bed. And it is not the general problem of war that brought me here. Rather, my own particular trouble is so great that it is overwhelming, and takes precedence over other problems.

DUKE

Why, what’s the matter?

DUKE

Why? What's the matter?

BRABANTIO

My daughter! Oh, my daughter!

BRABANTIO

My daughter! Oh, my daughter!

ALL

Dead?

ALL

Is she dead?

BRABANTIO

Ay, to me. She is abused, stol'n from me, and corrupted By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks. For nature so prepost'rously to err, Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense, Sans witchcraft could not.

BRABANTIO

She's dead to me. She has been abused, stolen from me, and corrupted by spells and potions bought from charlatans. For Desdemona is neither lacking in common sense, nor blind to it.  She could not make such a mistake naturally, without some kind of witchcraft. 

DUKE

Whoe'er he be that in this foul proceeding Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself And you of her, the bloody book of law You shall yourself read in the bitter letter, After your own sense, yea, though our proper son Stood in your action.

DUKE

Whoever he is that has tricked your daughter in this foul way and robbed you of her, you will get to punish him according  whatever your own interpretation is of the law books, which have the power of the death penalty. Yes, even if it turns out to be my own son who is the perpetrator.

BRABANTIO

Humbly I thank your grace. Here is the man, this Moor, whom now it seems, Your special mandate for the state affairs Hath hither brought.

BRABANTIO

I humbly thank you, your Grace. Here is the culprit: this Moor, who it seems your orders have brought here for state business.

ALL

We are very sorry for’t.

ALL

We are very sorry to hear this.

DUKE

[to OTHELLO] What, in your own part, can you say to this?

DUKE

[To OTHELLO] What can you say about this on your own behalf?

BRABANTIO

Nothing, but this is so.

BRABANTIO

There's nothing he can say, except that what I've said is true.

OTHELLO

Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, My very noble and approved good masters, That I have ta'en away this old man’s daughter, It is most true. True, I have married her. The very head and front of my offending Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech, And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace, For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used Their dearest action in the tented field, And little of this great world can I speak, More than pertains to feats of broils and battle, And therefore little shall I grace my cause In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience, I will a round unvarnished tale deliver Of my whole course of love. What drugs, what charms, What conjuration and what mighty magic— For such proceeding I am charged withal— I won his daughter.

OTHELLO

Most powerful, serious, and honorable sirs—my very noble masters who have proved to be good to me—I tell you it is absolutely true that I have taken away this old man's daughter. It is true that I have married her. But this is the extent of my offense—no more. I am not good with words, and haven't been blessed with the skill of peaceful speech. My skill is in war: from the time I was seven-years-old to just nine months ago, I have used the strength of my arms on the battlefield. I cannot speak about much in this great big world besides wartime deeds and battle. Therefore, I probably won't help my case much by speaking for myself. Nonetheless, if you will be patient, I will tell you the whole straightforward story of my love with Desdemona, and won't embellish it at all. I will tell you what sort of spells, what kind of powerful magic, what drugs, and what charms I have used to win this man's daughter—since that is the accusation.

BRABANTIO

A maiden never bold, Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion Blushed at herself. And she, in spite of nature, Of years, of country, credit, everything, To fall in love with what she feared to look on? It is a judgment maimed and most imperfect That will confess perfection so could err. Against all rules of nature, and must be driven To find out practices of cunning hell Why this should be. I therefore vouch again That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood Or with some dram, conjured to this effect, He wrought upon her.

BRABANTIO

My daughter is a young girl who has never been bold. She is so still and quiet and naturally inclined to blushing. Is it possible that she, in spite of her nature, in spite of her young age, in spite of her nationality, in spite of her reputation—in spite of everything—would fall in love with something she feared to even look at? It would be a foolish misjudgment to think that my perfect daughter could make such a mistake, contrary to all rules of nature. We must find out what cunning evil plots have brought this about. Therefore I say again that he has used some potion on her that affects the blood, or some drug magically enchanted for his purpose.

DUKE

To vouch this is no proof, Without more wider and more overt test Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods Of modern seeming do prefer against him.

DUKE

You say this, but you have no proof. You have no clear evidence beyond your thin accusations and poor guesses based on his appearance.

FIRST SENATOR

But, Othello, speak. Did you by indirect and forcèd courses Subdue and poison this young maid’s affections? Or came it by request and such fair question As soul to soul affordeth?

FIRST SENATOR

Speak up, Othello. Did you subdue and poison this young girl by trickery and force? Or did the marriage come about voluntarily, as two souls are accustomed to come together?

OTHELLO

I do beseech you, Send for the lady to the Sagittary, And let her speak of me before her father. If you do find me foul in her report The trust, the office I do hold of you, Not only take away, but let your sentence Even fall upon my life.

OTHELLO

I beg you, send someone to get Desdemona from the Sagittary Inn, and let her talk about me in front of her father. If she speaks badly of me, then you can take away my official position, lose all your trust in me, and even sentence me to death.

DUKE

Fetch Desdemona hither.

DUKE

Bring Desdemona here.

OTHELLO

Ancient, conduct them. You best know the place.

OTHELLO

Flag-bearer, lead them to her. You know the place where she is the best.

Exeunt IAGO and attendants

And till she come, as truly as to heaven I do confess the vices of my blood So justly to your grave ears I’ll present How I did thrive in this fair lady’s love And she in mine.

And until she comes, I'll tell you the story of how Desdemona and I fell in love as truthfully as I confess my sins to God.

DUKE

Say it, Othello.

DUKE

Go ahead and speak, Othello.

OTHELLO

Her father loved me, oft invited me, Still questioned me the story of my life From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes, That I have passed. I ran it through, even from my boyish days, To th' very moment that he bade me tell it, Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances, Of moving accidents by flood and field, Of hair-breadth ’scapes i' th' imminent deadly breach, Of being taken by the insolent foe And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence And portance in my traveler’s history. Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle, Rough quarries, rocks, hills whose heads touch heaven It was my hint to speak—such was my process— And of the Cannibals that each others eat, The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads Grew beneath their shoulders. These things to hear Would Desdemona seriously incline. But still the house affairs would draw her hence, Which ever as she could with haste dispatch, She’d come again, and with a greedy ear Devour up my discourse, which I, observing, Took once a pliant hour and found good means To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart That I would all my pilgrimage dilate, Whereof by parcels she had something heard But not intentively. I did consent, And often did beguile her of her tears When I did speak of some distressful stroke That my youth suffered. My story being done She gave me for my pains a world of sighs. She swore, in faith, ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange, 'Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful. She wished she had not heard it, yet she wished That heaven had made her such a man. She thanked me And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her, I should but teach him how to tell my story And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake. She loved me for the dangers I had passed, And I loved her that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I have used. Here comes the lady. Let her witness it.

OTHELLO

Her father loved me and often invited me to his house, where he would ask about the story of my life, about the battles and sieges I've fought in, and the good and bad fortune I've had. I told him everything, even from when I was a boy, and spoke about disastrous turns of events, moving events on land and on sea, and about times I barely escaped imminent death by a hair's breadth. I told him about how I was taken prisoner by my enemy and sold into slavery, about how I was ransomed back and how I traveled around through vast caverns and empty deserts, through rough, rocky quarries and hills so high they touch heaven itself. I told him about the cannibals that eat other humans, called the Anthropophagi, and about strange men whose heads grow beneath their shoulders. Desdemona was always fascinated by these stories, but household chores would call her away. She did her chores quickly so she could come back and listen voraciously to my stories again. When I had some spare time, she asked me to expand on the story of my travels and fill her in on what she had only heard parts of. I agreed, and my tales often brought her to tears. When I finished my stories, she would sigh. She would always say things like, "That was strange, very strange," or "That was pitiful, so pitiful." She wished she hadn't heard the moving stories, but also wished that God had made her that kind of a man. She thanked me and told me that if I knew anyone who loved her, all he would have to do to woo her was to tell her my stories. Picking up on her hint, I spoke to her. She loved me for the dangers I had endured, and I loved her because she pitied me for having endured them. This is the only witchcraft I have used. Here comes the woman herself. Let her testify.

Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and attendants

DUKE

I think this tale would win my daughter too. Good Brabantio. Take up this mangled matter at the best. Men do their broken weapons rather use Than their bare hands.

DUKE

I think such a story would win over my daughter, too. Good Brabantio, try to make the best of a bad situation. As they say, a broken weapon is better than none at all.

BRABANTIO

I pray you, hear her speak. If she confess that she was half the wooer, Destruction on my head if my bad blame Light on the man.— Come hither, gentle mistress. Do you perceive in all this noble company Where most you owe obedience?

BRABANTIO

Please, hear her speak. If she admits that she flirted back, then I will no longer place all the blame on Othello. Come here, sweet girl. Do you see to whom, out of everyone here, you should be most obedient?

DESDEMONA

My noble father, I do perceive here a divided duty. To you I am bound for life and education. My life and education both do learn me How to respect you. You are the lord of duty. I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband. And so much duty as my mother showed To you, preferring you before her father, So much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord.

DESDEMONA

My noble father, I feel that my loyalty is divided. I owe you for my very life and my upbringing. And because of this I respect you.  I have a duty to you, as I am your daughter. But here is my husband. And as my mother showed duty to you, prioritizing you above her own father, so must I show duty to my husband, the Moor.

BRABANTIO

God be with you. I have done. Please it your grace, on to the state affairs. I had rather to adopt a child than get it.— Come hither, Moor. I here do give thee that with all my heart Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel, I am glad at soul I have no other child. For thy escape would teach me tyranny, To hang clogs on them.— I have done, my lord.

BRABANTIO

God be with you. I'm finished with my business. If you please, your Grace, you can move on to the state affairs. I'd rather adopt a child than father my own. Come here, Moor. I now give you with all my heart my daughter, whom I'd keep from you with all my heart if you didn't already have her. For your sake, precious Desdemona, I am glad that I don't have another daughter. For what you have done would make me a tyrannical parent, and I'd lock her up like a prisoner.

[To the DUKE]
 I'm done with my business, my lord.

DUKE

Let me speak like yourself and lay a sentence Which, as a grise or step, may help these lovers Into your favor. When remedies are past, the griefs are ended By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended. To mourn a mischief that is past and gone Is the next way to draw new mischief on. What cannot be preserved when fortune takes, Patience her injury a mock'ry makes. The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief, He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.

DUKE

Let me speak, as you have, and offer some proverbs that may help you to be happier with these two lovers. When there's nothing you can do to fix a situation, there's no use crying about it anymore, because you've already survived seeing the worst outcome of your former hopes. To be sad after something bad happens only makes it worse. When fortune takes something away from you, you make a mockery of your trouble by being patient. If you've been robbed, it's better to smile and take away the thief's pleasure of making you upset than to grieve about it, and rob yourself even further of good cheer.

BRABANTIO

So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile, We lose it not, so long as we can smile. He bears the sentence well that nothing bears But the free comfort which from thence he hears. But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow. These sentences to sugar or to gall, Being strong on both sides, are equivocal. But words are words. I never yet did hear That the bruised heart was piercèd through the ears. I humbly beseech you, proceed to th' affairs of state.

BRABANTIO

If that's true, then let the Turks take Cyprus from us, and we'll be fine as long as we smile. It's easy to use a proverb when you're not the one suffering a loss, and not so easy when you're the one suffering grief. These sayings mean nothing. I've never heard of a time someone's broken heart was made better by words. I humbly beg you to move on to the state business.

DUKE

The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best known to you, and though we have there a substitute of most allowed sufficiency, yet opinion, a sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer voice on you. You must therefore be content to slubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this more stubborn and boist'rousexpedition.

DUKE

The Turks are heading for Cyprus with a strong fleet. Othello, you know the strengths of the place the best. And although we have someone stationed there who is very skilled, everyone seems to think that you would be better in that position. So, you must tinge the happiness of your recent marriage with this difficult mission.

OTHELLO

The tyrant custom, most grave senators, Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war My thrice-driven bed of down. I do agnize A natural and prompt alacrity I find in hardness, and do undertake These present wars against the Ottomites. Most humbly therefore bending to your state, I crave fit disposition for my wife. Due reference of place and exhibition, With such accommodation and besort As levels with her breeding.

OTHELLO

Honorable senators, I'm so used to the difficult, cruel war that it's as comfortable to me as a soft down bed. I am naturally eager to take on difficult challenges, and I will undertake this mission against the Ottomites. As I am obeying you, I humbly ask for appropriate arrangements for my wife. She should have a place to live that is worthy of her nobility, as well as suitable company.

DUKE

Why, at her father’s.

DUKE

She can have all this at her father's house.

BRABANTIO

I’ll not have it so.

BRABANTIO

I won't allow it.

OTHELLO

Nor I.

OTHELLO

Neither will I.

DESDEMONA

Nor would I there reside, To put my father in impatient thoughts By being in his eye. Most gracious Duke, To my unfolding lend your prosperous ear And let me find a charter in your voice, T' assist my simpleness.

DESDEMONA

And I wouldn't want to stay at my father's house, either, as my presence would irritate him. Most gracious Duke, listen to my proposal, and please voice your support for my simple idea.

DUKE

What would you, Desdemona?

DUKE

What is your idea, Desdemona?

DESDEMONA

That I did love the Moor to live with him, My downright violence and storm of fortunes May trumpet to the world. My heart’s subdued Even to the very quality of my lord. I saw Othello’s visage in his mind, And to his honors and his valiant parts Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate. So that, dear lords, if I be left behind A moth of peace and he go to the war, The rites for which I love him are bereft me, And I a heavy interim shall support By his dear absence. Let me go with him.

DESDEMONA

The quickness and boldness with which I have taken control of my future clearly show that I married the Moor so that I could live with him. My heart is completely under his control. I saw Othello's true nature in his mind, and dedicated my soul and all my fortune to his honor and bravery.  So, my dear lords, if I am left behind while he goes off to war, I will be deprived of seeing the very things I married him for. And I will have a horrible time here without him. Let me go with him.

OTHELLO

Let her have your voice. Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not To please the palate of my appetite, Nor to comply with heat the young affects In my defunct and proper satisfaction, But to be free and bounteous to her mind, And heaven defend your good souls, that you think I will your serious and great business scant When she is with me. No, when light-winged toys Of feathered Cupid seel with wanton dullness My speculative and officed instrument, That my disports corrupt and taint my business, Let housewives make a skillet of my helm And all indign and base adversities Make head against my estimation.

OTHELLO

Give your support to her idea. I swear by heaven that I am asking for her to come with me not to satisfy my appetite or fulfill hot urges, since those feelings of youth are defunct in me. I am asking in order to be liberal and open to her ideas. And if any of you think that I will be distracted from my serious and great business there if she is with me, may heaven protect your souls, for you are wrong. If winged Cupid should ever sew shut my eyes and blind me so that I am more concerned with my pleasures than with business, let housewives use my helmet as a skillet and let my reputation be completely ruined.

DUKE

Be it as you shall privately determine, Either for her stay or going. Th' affair cries hasteAnd speed must answer it.

DUKE

As to whether she will stay or go, it shall be as you decide privately. But this business is urgent, and we must act quickly.

FIRST SENATOR

You must away tonight.

FIRST SENATOR

You must depart tonight.

OTHELLO

With all my heart.

OTHELLO

With all my heart, I will.

DUKE

At nine i' th' morning here we’ll meet again. Othello, leave some officer behind And he shall our commission bring to you, And such things else of quality and respect As doth import you.

DUKE

The rest of us will meet here again at nine in the morning. Othello, leave an officer behind here, and later he can bring you our instructions, and anything else you feel you need.

OTHELLO

So please your grace, my ancient. A man he is of honesty and trust. To his conveyance I assign my wife, With what else needful your good grace shall think To be sent after me.

OTHELLO

If you don't mind, I'll leave my flag-bearer behind for the task. He is an honest, trustworthy man, and I'll let him bring my wife to Cyprus, along with whatever else your good grace thinks I might need.

DUKE

Let it be so. Good night to every one.— [to BRABANTIO] And, noble signior, If virtue no delighted beauty lack, Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.

DUKE

Let it be so. Good night to everyone.

[To BRABANTIO]
And, noble sir, if virtue is a beautiful thing, then your son-in-law is much more fair than he is black.

FIRST SENATOR

Adieu, brave Moor. Use Desdemona well.

FIRST SENATOR

Farewell, brave Moor. Be good to Desdemona.

BRABANTIO

Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see.She has deceived her father, and may thee.

BRABANTIO

Look out, Moor, and keep an eye on her. She has deceived her father, and may deceive you.

Exeunt DUKE, BRABANTIO, CASSIO, SENATORS, and officers

OTHELLO

My life upon her faith!—Honest Iago, My Desdemona must I leave to thee. I prithee, let thy wife attend on her, And bring them after in the best advantage. Come, Desdemona, I have but an hour Of love, of worldly matter and direction, To spend with thee. We must obey the time.

OTHELLO

I would bet my life on her honesty! Honest Iago, I must leave Desdemona with you. Please, have your wife look after her, and bring them along after me when you get the chance. Come with me, Desdemona. I have only an hour to spend with you in love, and to teach you some worldly things. We can't be late.

Exeunt OTHELLO and DESDEMONA

RODERIGO

Iago.

RODERIGO

Iago.

IAGO

What say’st thou, noble heart?

IAGO

What is it, noble man?

RODERIGO

What will I do, think’st thou?

RODERIGO

What do you think I should do?

IAGO

Why, go to bed, and sleep.

IAGO

Well, go to bed and sleep.

RODERIGO

I will incontinently drown myself.

RODERIGO

I will drown myself right now.

IAGO

If thou dost I shall never love thee after. Why, thou silly gentleman!

IAGO

If you do that, I'll never love you again. Why would you do such a thing, you silly gentleman?

RODERIGO

It is silliness to live when to live is torment, and then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.

RODERIGO

It is silliness to live when life is torture? When death is the only remedy, then the best prescription is to die.

IAGO

Oh, villainous! I have looked upon the world for four times seven years, and since I could distinguish betwixta benefit and an injury I never found man that knew howto love himself. Ere I would say I would drown myself for the love of a guinea hen, I would change my humanitywith a baboon.

IAGO

Oh, please! I've been around for twenty-eight years, and ever since I've known the difference between a good thing and a bad thing, I've never yet found a man who knew what was good for him. I'd trade in my humanity to become a baboon before I'd ever say that I'd drown myself for the love of some hen.

RODERIGO

What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so fond, but it is not in my virtue to amend it.

RODERIGO

What should I do? I admit it's embarrassing to be so in love, but I can't help it.

IAGO

Virtue? A fig! 'Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our willsare gardeners. So that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many—either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with industry—why, the power and corrigible authority of thislies in our wills. If the balance of our lives had not one scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us to most prepost'rous conclusions. But we have reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings, our unbittedlusts. Whereof I take this that you call love to be a sect or scion.

IAGO

You can't help it? A lie! It's all up to you. Our bodies are like gardens, and our willpower is the gardener. We can have all sorts of different plants in the garden, but whether they grow well or not is up to our will. If we didn't have an ounce of reason to counterbalance our passions, our base urges would make us ridiculous. But we have rationality to cool our raging emotions, carnal desires, and uncontrollable lust. And what you call love is just an offshoot of this kind of lust.

RODERIGO

It cannot be.

RODERIGO

That can't be true.

IAGO

It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will. Come, be a man. Drown thyself? Drown cats and blind puppies! I have professed me thy friend, and I confess me knit to thy deserving with cables of perdurable toughness. I could never better stead thee than now. Put money in thy purse. Follow thou the wars,defeat thy favor with an usurped beard. I say, put money in thy purse. It cannot be long that Desdemona should continue her love to the Moor—put money in thy purse—nor he his to her. It was a violent commencement in her, and thou shalt see an answerable sequestration—put but money in thy purse. These Moors are changeable in their wills—fill thy purse with money. The food that to him now is as luscious as locusts shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida. She must change for youth. When she is sated with his body she will find the errors of her choice. Therefore, put money in thy purse. If thou wiltneeds damn thyself, do it a more delicate way than drowning. Make all the money thou canst. If sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt an erring barbarian and supersubtle Venetian be not too hard for my wits and allthe tribe of hell, thou shalt enjoy her. Therefore make money. A pox of drowning thyself! 'Tis clean out of the way. Seek thou rather to be hanged in compassingthy joy than to be drowned and go without her.

IAGO

It's just lust, and your will is letting it control you. Come on, be a man. Drown yourself? Drown cats and blind puppies instead! I have told you that I am your friend, and our bond is strong. I am being a good friend to you right now. Sell some things to put money in your wallet. Desdemona can't stay in love with the Moor for long—get money in your wallet—and he can't stay in love with her. It was such a sudden union, and you'll see an equally quick separation. Put money in your wallet. He now finds her sweet, but before long he'll think she's bitter. She'll want to exchange him for a younger man. Once she's had her fill of his body, she'll realize the errors of her decision. So put money in your wallet. If you absolutely must kill yourself, do it a better way than drowning. Gather all the money you can. If a little marriage vow between a wandering barbarian and a gentle Venetian isn't too much for my clever wits, you'll have her soon. So sell your things for some money! To hell with drowning yourself! That's a ridiculous idea. It would be better to get hanged for committing a crime in an attempt to win her than to drown for being without her.

RODERIGO

Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on the issue?

RODERIGO

Will you be loyal to me, if I need your help?

IAGO

Thou art sure of me. Go, make money. I have told thee often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I hate the Moor. My cause is hearted. Thine hath no less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge against him. If thou canst cuckold him, thou dost thyself a pleasure, mea sport. There are many events in the womb of time which will be delivered. Traverse, go, provide thy money. We will have more of this tomorrow. Adieu.

IAGO

You can rely on me. Go, get some money. I've said it before, and I'll say it again and again: I hate the Moor. My objective is set in my heart. And you are equally determined in yours. Let's work together to get our revenge on him. If you can get Desdemona to cheat on him with you, you'd get some pleasure and I'd get some amusement. There's still much that may happen. Now go, go and scrounge up your money. We can discuss this further tomorrow. Goodbye.

RODERIGO

Where shall we meet i' th' morning?

RODERIGO

Where will we meet in the morning?

IAGO

At my lodging.

IAGO

At my house.

RODERIGO

I’ll be with thee betimes.

RODERIGO

I'll meet you there early.

IAGO

Go to, farewell.Do you hear, Roderigo?

IAGO

Go on, now. Bye. Now are you listening to me?

RODERIGO

What say you?

RODERIGO

What?

IAGO

No more of drowning, do you hear?

IAGO

No more of this drowning nonsense, you hear?

RODERIGO

I am changed.

RODERIGO

I've changed my mind about that.

IAGO

Go to, farewell. Put money enough in your purse.

IAGO

Then go, goodbye. Get enough money together in your wallet.

RODERIGO

I’ll sell all my land.

RODERIGO

I'll sell all my land.

Exit

IAGO

Thus do I ever make my fool my purse. For I mine own gained knowledge should profane If I would time expend with such a snipe But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor, And it is thought abroad that ’twixt my sheets He has done my office. I know not if ’t be true, But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety. He holds me well. The better shall my purpose work on him. Cassio’s a proper man. Let me see now, To get his place and to plume up my will In double knavery. How? How? Let’s see. After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear That he is too familiar with his wife. He hath a person and a smooth dispose To be suspected, framed to make women false. The Moor is of a free and open nature That thinks men honest that but seem to be so, And will as tenderly be led by th' nose As asses are. I have ’t. It is engendered! Hell and night Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.

IAGO

Thus I make this fool into my bank account. I'd be wasting my cleverness if I spent time with such an idiot without getting some amusement and money out of it. I hate the Moor, and there's a rumor going around that he's slept with my wife. I don't know if this is true, but even just on suspicion, I'll think of it like a sure thing. He holds me in high esteem. This will be even better for my plan. Cassio is an attractive fellow. Let me think now: how can I get his place as lieutenant and raise up my own status through trickery? How? How? Let's see. In a little while, I can lie to Othello, telling him that Cassio is getting too close with Desdemona. Cassio has the good looks and smooth manners to be suspected of such a thing. He looks like he could get a woman to cheat on her husband. The Moor is gullible and trusting. He thinks men are honest when they only appear to be. I can lead him around like a donkey. That's it. I've laid the seeds of my plan, and it will come to fruition with the help of Hell.

Exit

Othello
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Othello Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 1146 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 25,393 quotes covering 1146 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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.