A line-by-line translation

Othello

Othello Translation Act 1, Scene 3

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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

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SAILOR

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

SAILOR

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OFFICER

A messenger from the galleys.

OFFICER

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Enter SAILOR

DUKE

Now, what’s the business?

DUKE

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SAILOR

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

SAILOR

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DUKE

How say you by this change?

DUKE

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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

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DUKE

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

DUKE

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OFFICER

Here is more news.

OFFICER

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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

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FIRST SENATOR

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

FIRST SENATOR

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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

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DUKE

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

DUKE

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FIRST SENATOR

He’s now in Florence.

FIRST SENATOR

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DUKE

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

DUKE

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FIRST SENATOR

Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.

FIRST SENATOR

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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

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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

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DUKE

Why, what’s the matter?

DUKE

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BRABANTIO

My daughter! Oh, my daughter!

BRABANTIO

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ALL

Dead?

ALL

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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

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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

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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

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ALL

We are very sorry for’t.

ALL

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DUKE

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

DUKE

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BRABANTIO

Nothing, but this is so.

BRABANTIO

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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DUKE

Fetch Desdemona hither.

DUKE

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OTHELLO

Ancient, conduct them. You best know the place.

OTHELLO

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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.

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DUKE

Say it, Othello.

DUKE

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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DUKE

Why, at her father’s.

DUKE

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BRABANTIO

I’ll not have it so.

BRABANTIO

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OTHELLO

Nor I.

OTHELLO

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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

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DUKE

What would you, Desdemona?

DUKE

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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

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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

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DUKE

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

DUKE

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FIRST SENATOR

You must away tonight.

FIRST SENATOR

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OTHELLO

With all my heart.

OTHELLO

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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

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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

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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

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FIRST SENATOR

Adieu, brave Moor. Use Desdemona well.

FIRST SENATOR

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BRABANTIO

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

BRABANTIO

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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

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Exeunt OTHELLO and DESDEMONA

RODERIGO

Iago.

RODERIGO

Lorem

IAGO

What say’st thou, noble heart?

IAGO

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RODERIGO

What will I do, think’st thou?

RODERIGO

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IAGO

Why, go to bed, and sleep.

IAGO

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RODERIGO

I will incontinently drown myself.

RODERIGO

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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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

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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

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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

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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

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RODERIGO

It cannot be.

RODERIGO

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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

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RODERIGO

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

RODERIGO

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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

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RODERIGO

Where shall we meet i' th' morning?

RODERIGO

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IAGO

At my lodging.

IAGO

Lorem ipsum

RODERIGO

I’ll be with thee betimes.

RODERIGO

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IAGO

Go to, farewell.Do you hear, Roderigo?

IAGO

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RODERIGO

What say you?

RODERIGO

Lorem

IAGO

No more of drowning, do you hear?

IAGO

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RODERIGO

I am changed.

RODERIGO

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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RODERIGO

I’ll sell all my land.

RODERIGO

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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

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Exit

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.