A line-by-line translation

Othello

Othello Translation Act 2, Scene 1

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Enter MONTANO and two GENTLEMEN

MONTANO

What from the cape can you discern at sea?

MONTANO

What can you see out on the sea?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Nothing at all. It is a high-wrought flood.I cannot ’twixt the heaven and the mainDescry a sail.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Nothing at all. The waters are rough, and I can't see a single sail between the sky and the ocean.

MONTANO

Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land, A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements. If it hath ruffianed so upon the sea What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them, Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?

MONTANO

The wind's been blowing loudly on land, too. The strongest gust I've ever seen shook our walls. If the same kind of wind has been raging on the sea, what ships made of oak could hold together when waves as tall as mountains strike them? What do you think will happen?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

A segregation of the Turkish fleet. For do but stand upon the foaming shore, The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds, The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous mane, Seems to cast water on the burning bear, And quench the guards of th' ever-fixèd pole. I never did like molestation view On the enchafèd flood.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

The Turkish fleet will be dispersed. From the shore here, the billowing water seems to touch the clouds, and the wind-shaken, surging waves, with their high crests, seem to spray water on the constellations in the sky. I've never seen such a rough, raging sea.

MONTANO

If that the Turkish fleetBe not ensheltered and embayed, they are drowned.It is impossible they bear it out.

MONTANO

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Enter a THIRD GENTLEMAN

THIRD GENTLEMAN

News, lads, Our wars are done! The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks, That their designment halts. A noble ship of Venice Hath seen a grievous wreck and sufferance On most part of their fleet.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

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MONTANO

How? Is this true?

MONTANO

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THIRD GENTLEMAN

The ship is here put in, A Veronesa. Michael Cassio, Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello, Is come on shore. The Moor himself at sea And is in full commission here for Cyprus.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

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MONTANO

I am glad on ’t. 'Tis a worthy governor.

MONTANO

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THIRD GENTLEMAN

But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly And prays the Moor be safe. For they were parted With foul and violent tempest.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

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MONTANO

Pray heavens he be, For I have served him, and the man commands Like a full soldier. Let’s to the seaside, ho! As well to see the vessel that’s come in As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello, Even till we make the main and th' aerial blue An indistinct regard.

MONTANO

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THIRD GENTLEMAN

Come, let’s do so.For every minute is expectancyOf more arrivance.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

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Enter CASSIO

CASSIO

Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle That so approve the Moor. Oh, let the heavens Give him defense against the elements, For I have lost him on a dangerous sea.

CASSIO

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MONTANO

Is he well shipped?

MONTANO

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CASSIO

His bark is stoutly timbered and his pilot Of very expert and approved allowance Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death, Stand in bold cure.

CASSIO

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A VOICE

[within] A sail, a sail, a sail!

A VOICE

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Enter a MESSENGER

CASSIO

What noise?

CASSIO

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MESSENGER

The town is empty. On the brow o' th' sea Stand ranks of people, and they cry “A sail!”

MESSENGER

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CASSIO

My hopes do shape him for the governor.

CASSIO

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A shot

SECOND GENTLEMAN

They do discharge their shot of courtesy.Our friends at least.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

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CASSIO

I pray you sir, go forthAnd give us truth who ’tis that is arrived.

CASSIO

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SECOND GENTLEMAN

I shall.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

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Exit

MONTANO

But good lieutenant, is your general wived?

MONTANO

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CASSIO

Most fortunately. He hath achieved a maid That paragons description and wild fame, One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens, And in th' essential vesture of creation Does tire the ingener.

CASSIO

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Enter SECOND GENTLEMAN

How now? Who has put in?

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SECOND GENTLEMAN

'Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

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CASSIO

He’s had most favorable and happy speed. Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds, The guttered rocks and congregated sands, Traitors ensteeped to enclog the guiltless keel, As having sense of beauty, do omit Their mortal natures, letting go safely by The divine Desdemona.

CASSIO

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MONTANO

What is she?

MONTANO

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CASSIO

She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain, Left in the conduct of the bold Iago, Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts A se'nnight’s speed. Great Jove, Othello guard, And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath, That he may bless this bay with his tall ship, Make love’s quick pants in Desdemona’s arms, Give renewed fire to our extincted spirits And bring all Cyprus comfort!

CASSIO

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Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, IAGO, RODERIGO with attendants

Oh, behold, The riches of the ship is come on shore! You men of Cyprus, let her have your knees. Hail to thee, lady, and the grace of heaven, Before, behind thee, and on every hand, Enwheel thee round!

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DESDEMONA

I thank you, valiant Cassio.What tidings can you tell me of my lord?

DESDEMONA

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CASSIO

He is not yet arrived. Nor know I aughtBut that he’s well and will be shortly here.

CASSIO

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DESDEMONA

Oh, but I fear. How lost you company?

DESDEMONA

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CASSIO

The great contention of the sea and skiesParted our fellowship—

CASSIO

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A VOICE

[within] A sail, a sail!

A VOICE

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CASSIO

But, hark! a sail.

CASSIO

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A shot

SECOND GENTLEMAN

They give this greeting to the citadel.This likewise is a friend.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

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CASSIO

See for the news.

CASSIO

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Exit a SECOND GENTLEMEN

Good ancient, you are welcome.—Welcome, mistress. (kisses EMILIA) Let it not gall your patience, good Iago, That I extend my manners. 'Tis my breeding That gives me this bold show of courtesy.

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IAGO

Sir, would she give you so much of her lipsAs of her tongue she oft bestows on me, You would have have enough.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

Alas, she has no speech!

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

In faith, too much. I find it still, when I have leave to sleep. Marry, before your ladyship, I grant, She puts her tongue a little in her heart And chides with thinking.

IAGO

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EMILIA

You have little cause to say so.

EMILIA

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IAGO

Come on, come on. You are pictures out of door, Bells in your parlors, wild-cats in your kitchens, Saints in your injuries, devils being offended, Players in your housewifery, and hussies in your beds.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

Oh, fie upon thee, slanderer!

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk.You rise to play and go to bed to work.

IAGO

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EMILIA

You shall not write my praise.

EMILIA

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IAGO

No, let me not.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

What wouldst thou write of me, if thou should’st praise me?

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

O gentle lady, do not put me to ’t,For I am nothing, if not critical.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

Come on, assay. There’s one gone to the harbor?

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

Ay, madam.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

I am not merry, but I do beguileThe thing I am by seeming otherwise.Come, how wouldst thou praise me?

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

I am about it, but indeed my invention Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frieze, It plucks out brains and all. But my Muse labors And thus she is delivered: If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit, The one’s for use, the other useth it.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

Well praised! How if she be black and witty?

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

If she be black, and thereto have a wit,She’ll find a white that shall her blackness fit.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

Worse and worse!

DESDEMONA

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EMILIA

How if fair and foolish?

EMILIA

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IAGO

She never yet was foolish that was fair,For even her folly helped her to an heir.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i' th' alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for herThat’s foul and foolish?

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

There’s none so foul and foolish thereunto,But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

Oh, heavy ignorance! Thou praisest the worst best. But what praise couldst thou bestow on a deserving woman indeed, one that in the authority of her merit did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

She that was ever fair and never proud, Had tongue at will and yet was never loud, Never lacked gold and yet went never gay, Fled from her wish and yet said “Now I may,” She that being angered, her revenge being nigh, Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly, She that in wisdom never was so frail To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail, She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind, See suitors following and not look behind, She was a wight, if ever such wights were—

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

To do what?

DESDEMONA

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IAGO

To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.

IAGO

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DESDEMONA

Oh, most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say you, Cassio? Is he not a most profane and liberal counselor?

DESDEMONA

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CASSIO

He speaks home, madam. You may relish him more in the soldier than in the scholar.

CASSIO

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CASSIO takes DESDEMONA'S hand

IAGO

( aside ) He takes her by the palm. Ay, well said, whisper! With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do, I will gyve thee in thine own courtship. You say true, 'Tis so,indeed. If such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again you are mostapt to play the sir in. Very good, well kissed, and excellent courtesy! ’tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers to your lips? Would they were clyster-pipes foryour sake!

IAGO

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Trumpet within

The Moor! I know his trumpet.

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CASSIO

'Tis truly so.

CASSIO

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DESDEMONA

Let’s meet him and receive him.

DESDEMONA

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CASSIO

Lo, where he comes!

CASSIO

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Enter OTHELLO and attendants

OTHELLO

Oh my fair warrior!

OTHELLO

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DESDEMONA

My dear Othello!

DESDEMONA

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OTHELLO

It gives me wonder great as my content To see you here before me. Oh, my soul’s joy! If after every tempest come such calms, May the winds blow till they have wakened death, And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas Olympus-high, and duck again as low As hell’s from heaven! If it were now to die, 'Twere now to be most happy, for I fear My soul hath her content so absolute That not another comfort like to this Succeeds in unknown fate.

OTHELLO

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DESDEMONA

The heavens forbidBut that our loves and comforts should increase,Even as our days do grow.

DESDEMONA

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OTHELLO

Amen to that, sweet powers! I cannot speak enough of this content. It stops me here, it is too much of joy. And this, and this, the greatest discords be (kissing her) That e'er our hearts shall make!

OTHELLO

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IAGO

[aside] Oh, you are well tuned now,But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music,As honest as I am.

IAGO

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OTHELLO

Come, let us to the castle. News, friends! Our wars are done, the Turks are drowned. How does my old acquaintance of this isle?— Honey, you shall be well desired in Cyprus, I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet, I prattle out of fashion, and I dote In mine own comforts.— I prithee, good Iago, Go to the bay and disembark my coffers. Bring thou the master to the citadel. He is a good one, and his worthiness Does challenge much respect.— Come, Desdemona, Once more, well met at Cyprus.

OTHELLO

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Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and attendants

IAGO

(to the attendant) Do thou meet me presently at the harbor. (to RODERIGO) Come hither. If thou be’st valiant, as they say base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them, list me. The lieutenant tonight watches on the court of guard. First, I must tell thee this: Desdemona is directly in love with him.

IAGO

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RODERIGO

With him? Why, ’tis not possible.

RODERIGO

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IAGO

Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor, butfor bragging and telling her fantastical lies. To love him still for prating? Let not thy discreet heart think it. Her eye must be fed, and what delight shall she haveto look on the devil? When the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should be a game to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favor, sympathy in years, manners and beauties. All which the Moor is defective in. Now for want of these required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will finditself abused, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor. Very nature will instruct her in it and compel her to some second choice. Now sir, this granted—as it is a most pregnant and unforced position—who stands so eminent in the degree of this fortune as Cassio does? A knave very voluble, no furtherconscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming, for the better compassing of his salt and most hidden loose affection. Why, none, why, none! A slipper and subtle knave, a finder of occasions that has an eye, can stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never present itself. A devilish knave. Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after. A pestilent complete knave, and the woman hath found him already.

IAGO

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RODERIGO

I cannot believe that in her. She’s full of most blessed condition.

RODERIGO

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IAGO

Blessed fig’s-end! The wine she drinks is made of grapes. If she had been blessed, she would never have loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? Didst not mark that?

IAGO

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RODERIGO

Yes, that I did, but that was but courtesy.

RODERIGO

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IAGO

Lechery, by this hand, an index and obscure prologue tothe history of lust and foul thoughts. They met so nearwith their lips that their breaths embraced together. Villainous thoughts, Roderigo! When these mutabilities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes the master and main exercise, th' incorporate conclusion. Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me. I have brought you from Venice.Watch you tonight for the command, I’ll lay ’t upon you. Cassio knows you not. I’ll not be far from you. Do you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline, or from what other course you please, which the time shall more favorably minister.

IAGO

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RODERIGO

Well.

RODERIGO

Lorem

IAGO

Sir, he’s rash and very sudden in choler, and haply maystrike at you. Provoke him that he may. For even out ofthat will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny, whose qualification shall come into no true taste again but bythe displanting of Cassio. So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by the means I shall then have to prefer them, and the impediment most profitably removed, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity.

IAGO

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RODERIGO

I will do this, if you can bring it to any opportunity.

RODERIGO

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur ad

IAGO

I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel. I must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.

IAGO

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RODERIGO

Adieu.

RODERIGO

Lorem ip

Exit

IAGO

That Cassio loves her, I do well believe ’t. That she loves him, ’tis apt and of great credit. The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not, Is of a constant, loving, noble nature, And I dare think he’ll prove to Desdemona A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too, Not out of absolute lust—though peradventure I stand accountant for as great a sin— But partly led to diet my revenge, For that I do suspect the lusty Moor Hath leaped into my seat. The thought whereof Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards, And nothing can or shall content my soul Till I am evened with him, wife for wife. Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor At least into a jealousy so strong That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do, If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace For his quick hunting, stand the putting on, I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip, Abuse him to the Moor in the right garb (For I fear Cassio with my night-cape too) Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me For making him egregiously an ass And practicing upon his peace and quiet Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confused. Knavery’s plain face is never seen till used.

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.