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Othello

Othello Translation Act 2, Scene 3

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Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and attendants

OTHELLO

Good Michael, look you to the guard tonight.Let’s teach ourselves that honorable stopNot to outsport discretion.

OTHELLO

Good Michael, take care of the guard duties tonight. Let's show some self-restraint and not celebrate to the point of excess.

CASSIO

Iago hath direction what to do, But notwithstanding with my personal eyeWill I look to ’t.

CASSIO

Iago knows what he is supposed to do. But nonetheless, I will personally look after things.

OTHELLO

Iago is most honest. Michael, good night. Tomorrow with your earliest Let me have speech with you.— Come, my dear love, The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue: That profit’s yet to come ’tween me and you. Good night.

OTHELLO

Iago is most honest. Good night, Michael. Come speak with me tomorrow as soon as you're up. 

[To DESDEMONA] Come with me, my dear love. Now that we're married, the consummation is to follow. We have not yet enjoyed that benefit. Good night.

Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and attendants

Enter IAGO

CASSIO

Welcome, Iago. We must to the watch.

CASSIO

Welcome, Iago. We must go be on the lookout.

IAGO

Not this hour, lieutenant, ’tis not yet ten o' the clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love of his Desdemona—who let us not therefore blame. He hath not yet made wanton the night with her, and she is sportfor Jove.

IAGO

Not now, lieutenant. It's not ten o'clock yet. Our general left us so early so he could spend time with his love Desdemona—and who could blame him? They haven't slept together yet, and she's beautiful enough to catch Jove's eye.

CASSIO

She’s a most exquisite lady.

CASSIO

She's a most beautiful lady. 

IAGO

And, I’ll warrant her, full of game.

IAGO

And I'll bet she has a trick or two up her sleeve.

CASSIO

Indeed she’s a most fresh and delicate creature.

CASSIO

Indeed, she's a young, delicate creature.

IAGO

What an eye she has! Methinks it sounds a parley to provocation.

IAGO

What nice eyes she has! They could provoke a war.

CASSIO

An inviting eye, and yet methinks right modest.

CASSIO

She has an inviting eye, and yet I think she's very modest.

IAGO

And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?

IAGO

And when she speaks, isn't it like a call to arms for lovers?

CASSIO

She is indeed perfection.

CASSIO

She really is perfect.

IAGO

Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I have a stoup of wine, and here without are a brace of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to the health of black Othello.

IAGO

Well, may she and Othello be happy in bed! Come now, lieutenant—I have a jug of wine and there are a couple of gentlemen from Cyprus here who'd gladly want to drink a toast to the health of black Othello.

CASSIO

Not tonight, good Iago. I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking. I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.

CASSIO

Not tonight, good Iago. I'm not a very good drinker. I wish it was customary to celebrate in some other way.

IAGO

Oh, they are our friends. But one cup. I’ll drink for you.

IAGO

Oh, but they're our friends. Just one drink. I'll even drink it for you.

CASSIO

I have drunk but one cup tonight, and that was craftilyqualified too, and behold what innovation it makes here. I am unfortunate in the infirmity, and dare not task my weakness with any more.

CASSIO

I've had one drink so far tonight, and it was a strong one. And see how much it's affected me? I unfortunately don't have a very good tolerance for alcohol, and I don't want to risk drinking any more.

IAGO

What, man, ’tis a night of revels! The gallants desire it.

IAGO

What? It's a night of celebration, man! The gentlemen want you to join.

CASSIO

Where are they?

CASSIO

Where are they?

IAGO

Here at the door. I pray you call them in.

IAGO

Here at the door. Please, call them in.

CASSIO

I’ll do ’t, but it dislikes me.

CASSIO

I will, but I don't like where this is going.

Exit

IAGO

If I can fasten but one cup upon him, With that which he hath drunk tonight already, He’ll be as full of quarrel and offense As my young mistress' dog. Now my sick fool Roderigo, Whom love hath turned almost the wrong side out, To Desdemona hath tonight caroused Potations pottle-deep, and he’s to watch. Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits (That hold their honors in a wary distance, The very elements of this warlike isle) Have I tonight flustered with flowing cups, And they watch too. Now ’mongst this flock of drunkards Am I to put our Cassio in some action That may offend the isle. But here they come. If consequence do but approve my dream My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.

IAGO

If I can get him to have just one drink, together with what he's already had to drink, he'll be as belligerent and testy as a badly trained as a young girl's pet dog. Now my fool Roderigo—whom love has practically turned inside out, has drunk whole pots full of wine in toasts to Desdemona—and he's on guard duty. I've gotten three men from Cyprus drunk as well, noble men who are worried about maintaining their honor (which is important in this warlike island), and they are also on guard duty. Now among this flock of drunkards, I will put Cassio, and I'll have him do something to offend the men of Cyprus. But here they come. If things turn out as I want them to, I've got smooth sailing ahead.

Enter CASSIO, MONTANO and gentlemen

CASSIO

'Fore heaven, they have given me a rouse already.

CASSIO

By heaven, they have already given me a drink.

MONTANO

Good faith, a little one, not past a pint, As I am a soldier.

MONTANO

Just a little one, really, no more than a pint I promise, on my soldier's honor.

IAGO

Some wine, ho! (sings) And let me the cannikin clink, clink, And let me the cannikin clink. A soldier’s a man, A life’s but a span, Why then let a soldier drink. Some wine, boys!

IAGO

Hey, more wine!
[Singing]
And let me clink, clink the little can,
And let me clink the little can,
A soldier's a man,
With a short life span,
So why don't we soldiers drink!

Some more wine, boys!

CASSIO

Fore heaven, an excellent song.

CASSIO

By heaven, that's an excellent song.

IAGO

I learned it in England, where indeed they are most potent in potting. Your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander—Drink, ho!—are nothing to your English.

IAGO

I learned it in England, where they really are strong drinkers. The Danes, the Germans, and the pot-bellied Dutch—drink, everybody!—can't compare to the English in drinking.

CASSIO

Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?

CASSIO

Are the English really so good at drinking?

IAGO

Why, he drinks you with facility your Dane dead drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain. He gives your Hollander a vomit ere the next pottle can be filled.

IAGO

Why, an Englishman could easily drink a Dane under the table, and wouldn't sweat out-drinking a German. And if a Dutchman tried to go drink for drink with an Englishman, the Dutchman would end up vomiting before they could even refill his cup.

CASSIO

To the health of our general!

CASSIO

A toast, to the health of our general!

MONTANO

I am for it, lieutenant, and I’ll do you justice.

MONTANO

I'll toast to that, lieutenant! And I'll match you, drink for drink.

IAGO

Oh, sweet England! (sings) King Stephen was a worthy peer, His breeches cost him but a crown, He held them sixpence all too dear, With that he called the tailor lown. He was a wight of high renown, And thou art but of low degree, 'Tis pride that pulls the country down, Then take thine auld cloak about thee. Some wine, ho!

IAGO

Oh, sweet England!
[Singing]
King Stephen was a good fellow,
He paid just a dollar for his pants,
But still thought he'd been overcharged,
So he called the tailor a rogue.
He was a man with a good reputation,
And you're just a lowly man,
It's pride that brings the country down,
So wrap yourself up in your old cloak.

Some more wine!

CASSIO

Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.

CASSIO

Why, that song is even better than the last.

IAGO

Will you hear ’t again?

IAGO

Do you want to hear it again?

CASSIO

No, for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that does those things. Well, heaven’s above all, and there be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

CASSIO

No, I find men who do things like that to be acting below their social rank. Anyways, heaven is the final judge of us all, and some souls must go to heaven while others go to hell.

IAGO

It’s true, good lieutenant.

IAGO

That's true, good lieutenant.

CASSIO

For mine own part, no offence to the general nor any man of quality, I hope to be saved.

CASSIO

As far as I'm concerned, I hope to go to heaven—no offense to the general or any noble man.

IAGO

And so do I too, lieutenant.

IAGO

I hope to go to heaven, too, lieutenant.

CASSIO

Ay, but (by your leave) not before me. The lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let’s have no more ofthis, let’s to our affairs.—Forgive us our sins!—Gentlemen, let’s look to our business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk. This is my ancient, this is my right hand, and this is my left. I am not drunk now. I can stand well enough, and I speak well enough.

CASSIO

Yes, but, if you don't mind, not before me. A lieutenant's must get into heaven before the flag-bearer. But enough of this, let's get down to business. Forgive us our sins, God! Gentlemen, let's get to work. Don't think I'm drunk now, gentlemen. Here's my flag-bearer. This is my right hand, and this is my left hand. I'm not drunk. I can stand well enough, and my words aren't slurred.

ALL

Excellent well!

ALL

Very good!

CASSIO

Why, very well then. You must not think then that I am drunk.

CASSIO

Very well, then. You must not think that I am drunk.

Exit

MONTANO

To th' platform, masters. Come, let’s set the watch.

MONTANO

To the platform, gentlemen. Come on, let's take up our posts for tonight's guard.

Exit GENTLEMEN

IAGO

You see this fellow that is gone before, He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar And give direction. And do but see his vice, 'Tis to his virtue a just equinox, The one as long as th' other. 'Tis pity of him. I fear the trust Othello puts him in On some odd time of his infirmity Will shake this island.

IAGO

You see this man who just left, Cassio? He is such a good soldier he could be a commander in and help lead Caesar's army. But his vice is equal to his virtue. It's too bad. I worry, though, that the trust Othello puts in him will cause a lot of trouble on this island at some point when Cassio is drunk.

MONTANO

But is he often thus?

MONTANO

But is he often this drunk?

IAGO

'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep.He’ll watch the horologe a double setIf drink rock not his cradle.

IAGO

He's always drunk before going to bed. He can't sleep unless he's had something to drink.

MONTANO

It were well The general were put in mind of it. Perhaps he sees it not, or his good nature Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio And looks not on his evils. Is not this true?

MONTANO

The general should know about this. Perhaps he doesn't see this, or he only sees the virtues in Cassio and is blind to his faults. What do you think?

Enter RODERIGO

IAGO

[aside] How now, Roderigo?I pray you, after the lieutenant, go!

IAGO

[To RODERIGO so that only he can hear] What's going on, Roderigo? Please, follow the lieutenant, go!

Exit RODERIGO

MONTANO

And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor Should hazard such a place as his own second With one of an ingraft infirmity. It were an honest action to say So to the Moor.

MONTANO

And it's such a pity that the noble Moor has made someone with such a weakness for alcohol his second in command. I really ought to tell Othello about this.

IAGO

Not I, for this fair island.I do love Cassio well, and would do muchTo cure him of this evil—

IAGO

I wouldn't tell him, not if you gave me this beautiful island in return. I love Cassio, and would do anything to cure him of his alcoholism—

Cry within “Help! help!”

IAGO

But, hark! What noise?

IAGO

But listen! What is that noise?

Enter CASSIO, pursuing RODERIGO

CASSIO

Zounds! You rogue! You rascal!

CASSIO

Christ! You scoundrel! You rascal!

MONTANO

What’s the matter, lieutenant?

MONTANO

What's the matter, lieutenant?

CASSIO

A knave teach me my duty?I’ll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.

CASSIO

A rogue is going to tell me what to do? I'll beat the scoundrel to a pulp.

RODERIGO

Beat me?

RODERIGO

Beat me?

CASSIO

Dost thou prate, rogue? [strikes him]

CASSIO

Did you say something, you rogue? [He hits RODERIGO]

MONTANO

Nay, good lieutenant! I pray you, sir, hold your hand. [stays him]

MONTANO

No, good lieutenant! Please, sir, stop hitting him! [He holds CASSIO back]

CASSIO

Let me go, sir, or I’ll knock you o'er the mazzard.

CASSIO

Let me go, sir, or I'll strike you on your head.

MONTANO

Come, come, you're drunk.

MONTANO

Stop that. You're drunk.

CASSIO

Drunk?

CASSIO

Drunk?

They fight

IAGO

(aside to RODERIGO) Away, I say, go out, and cry a mutiny.

IAGO

[To RODERIGO so that only he can hear] Go away, I tell you. Run off and shout out that there's a brawl.

Exit RODERIGO

Nay, good lieutenant! Alas, gentlemen—Help, ho!— Lieutenant—sir, Montano—Help, masters!—Here’s a goodly watch indeed!

Hey, good lieutenant! No, gentlemen! Hey, help! Lieutenant—sir Montano—Gentlemen, help!—Some fine guards these guys are.

Bell rings

Who’s that which rings the bell?—Diablo, ho! The town will rise. Fie, Fie, lieutenant,You’ll be ashamed for ever.

Who's ringing that bell? The devil! It's going to wake up the town. For shame, lieutenant, stop or you'll never live this down.

Enter OTHELLO and attendants

OTHELLO

What is the matter here?

OTHELLO

What's the matter here?

MONTANO

I bleed still,I am hurt to the death. He dies!

MONTANO

I'm bleeding. I'm mortally wounded. Cassio must die!

OTHELLO

Hold, for your lives!

OTHELLO

Stop, for God's sake!

IAGO

Hold, ho! Lieutenant—sir, Montano—gentlemen, Have you forgot all place of sense and duty? Hold! The general speaks to you. Hold, for shame!

IAGO

Stop, lieutenant! Sir Montano—Gentlemen, are you out of your minds? Have you forgotten your sense of duty? Stop! The general is talking to you. Stop, for shame!

OTHELLO

Why, how now, ho! From whence ariseth this? Are we turned Turks? And to ourselves do that Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites? For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl. He that stirs next to carve for his own rage Holds his soul light, he dies upon his motion. Silence that dreadful bell, it frights the isle From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?— Honest Iago, that looks dead with grieving, Speak, who began this? On thy love, I charge thee.

OTHELLO

What is going on? What is the reason for this fight? Have we become Turks? Are we attacking ourselves since fate stopped the Turks from attacking us? You are Christians; stop this barbarous brawl. The next one of you to raise a fist must not value his life very much, for I'll kill whoever moves. Silence that annoying bell. It will worry everyone on the island. What is the matter, gentlemen? Honest Iago, you look sick with worry. Tell me, who started this? I command you to tell me, if you care for me.

IAGO

I do not know. Friends all but now, even now, In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom Divesting them for bed. And then, but now, As if some planet had unwitted men, Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breasts In opposition bloody. I cannot speak Any beginning to this peevish odds, And would in action glorious I had lost Those legs that brought me to a part of it.

IAGO

I don't know who started it. We were all friends just a moment ago, as close as a bride and groom going to bed. But then, just now, as if some cosmic shift of the planets had affected them, they drew their swords and started lunging at each other in a bloody fight. I can't say what was the cause of it, and I wish I didn't have the legs that brought me here to take part in it.

OTHELLO

How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

OTHELLO

How have you become so out of your mind, Michael?

CASSIO

I pray you pardon me, I cannot speak.

CASSIO

Please, forgive me. There's nothing I can say in my defense.

OTHELLO

Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil. The gravity and stillness of your youth The world hath noted, and your name is great In mouths of wisest censure. What’s the matter That you unlace your reputation thus And spend your rich opinion for the name Of a night-brawler? Give me answer to it.

OTHELLO

Noble Montano, you are usually civil. You are famous for the discipline and restraint you show in your youth. Even those who are fond of criticizing can't help but praise you. What's the matter? What has caused you to throw away your reputation and trade in your good name for that of a night-brawler? Tell me.

MONTANO

Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger. Your officer Iago can inform you, While I spare speech, which something now offends me, Of all that I do know. Nor know I aught By me that’s said or done amiss this night, Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice, And to defend ourselves it be a sin When violence assails us.

MONTANO

Noble Othello, I am seriously injured. So that I save my energy by not speaking, your officer Iago can tell you all that I know. I don't know of anything I said or did wrong, unless taking care of yourself is a vice, and defending ourselves when someone attacks us is a sin.

OTHELLO

Now, by heaven, My blood begins my safer guides to rule, And passion, having my best judgment collied, Assays to lead the way. If I once stir, Or do but lift this arm, the best of you Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know How this foul rout began, who set it on, And he that is approved in this offence, Though he had twinned with me, both at a birth, Shall lose me. What, in a town of war Yet wild, the people’s hearts brimful of fear, To manage private and domestic quarrel? In night, and on the court and guard of safety? 'Tis monstrous. Iago, who began ’t?

OTHELLO

Now, by heaven, my anger starts to overwhelm my reason, and passion is working to take over my good judgment. I have the ability to make either of you regret this. Tell me how this foul brawl began and who started it. I'll sever my ties with whoever started this fight—even if it were my twin brother, I'd do this. We're in a town during wartime, and the citizens are all nervous, and you decide to have a fight between yourselves? At night, when you should be on guard duty? This is a horrible offense. Iago, who started the fight?

MONTANO

If partially affined or leagued in officeThou dost deliver more or less than truthThou art no soldier.

MONTANO

If you don't tell the truth because you're partial to Cassio, then you don't deserve the title of soldier.

IAGO

Touch me not so near. I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio. Yet I persuade myself to speak the truth Shall nothing wrong him. This it is, general: Montano and myself being in speech, There comes a fellow crying out for help And Cassio following him with determined sword To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman Steps in to Cassio and entreats his pause, Myself the crying fellow did pursue, Lest by his clamor—as it so fell out— The town might fall in fright. He, swift of foot, Outran my purpose, and I returned then rather For that I heard the clink and fall of swords And Cassio high in oath, which till tonight I ne'er might say before. When I came back— For this was brief— I found them close together At blow and thrust, even as again they were When you yourself did part them. More of this matter cannot I report. But men are men, the best sometimes forget. Though Cassio did some little wrong to him, As men in rage strike those that wish them best, Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received From him that fled some strange indignity Which patience could not pass.

IAGO

Don't accuse me of such a thing. I would rather have my tongue cut out of my mouth than speak ill of Michael Cassio. But I think that speaking the truth cannot wrong him. This is the truth, general: Montano and I were talking, and all of a sudden a man came crying out for help, and Cassio was chasing after him with his sword drawn. Sir, this gentleman stepped in to stop Cassio, while I chased after the shouting man, because I was worried his clamor would awaken and scare the townspeople. He was too fast for me, though, so I returned here, as I heard the clink of swords and Cassio swearing oaths. I've never heard Cassio talk like that before. When I got back here I found these two fighting, just as they were when you got here and separated them. That's all I know. In his rage, Cassio wronged Montano, who was only trying to help, but I think that Cassio must have received some strange insult from the man who ran away that he simply couldn't tolerate.

OTHELLO

I know, Iago, Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love theeBut never more be officer of mine.—

OTHELLO

Iago, I realize that your affection for Cassio makes you downplay what he has done. Cassio, I love you, but you are no longer one of my officers.

Enter DESDEMONA, attended

Look, if my gentle love be not raised up!I’ll make thee an example.

Look, my gentle wife was woken up by this! I'll make an example out of you, Cassio.

DESDEMONA

What’s the matter, dear?

DESDEMONA

What's the matter, dear?

OTHELLO

All’s well, sweeting,Come away to bed.— [To MONTANO] Sir, for your hurtsMyself will be your surgeon. Lead him off.

OTHELLO

Everything is fine, my sweet. Go back to bed. 

[To MONTANO] Sir, I myself will tend to your wounds. Someone lead him away.

MONTANO is led off

Iago, look with care about the town And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.— Come, Desdemona, ’tis the soldiers' life To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.

Iago, look carefully around town, and calm down anyone who feels riled up after this awful fight. Come on, Desdemona, it's typical for a soldier to have his sleep interrupted by strife and turmoil.

Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO

IAGO

What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

IAGO

Are you hurt, lieutenant?

CASSIO

Ay, past all surgery.

CASSIO

Yes, beyond anything a doctor can help with.

IAGO

Marry, heaven forbid!

IAGO

Oh God, no! God forbid it!

CASSIO

Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, andwhat remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

CASSIO

I mean my reputation. Reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I've lost the only part of me that will live on after my death, and what remains is some kind of beast. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

IAGO

As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily wound. There is more sense in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving. You have lost no reputation at all unless yourepute yourself such a loser. What, man, there are waysto recover the general again. You are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his offenseless dog to affright an imperious lion. Sue to him again and he’s yours.

IAGO

I'm an honest man who takes things literally, so I thought you had been seriously wounded. That would be worse than losing your reputation. Reputation is an empty, stupid idea. Often people get good reputations when they don't deserve it, and people lose their reputations unfairly. You haven't lost your reputation unless you consider yourself to have lost it. Come on, man, there are ways to gain back the general's favor. He's just in a bad mood, and he punished you because he had to in front of the men of Cyprus, not because he dislikes you. It's like someone beating their dog in front of a strong lion, when the dog did nothing wrong, just to show the lion that he's powerful. Ask Othello's pardon, and he'll be your friend again.

CASSIO

I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drunk? And speak parrot? And squabble? Swagger? Swear? And discourse fustian with one’s own shadow? O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!

CASSIO

I'd rather ask him to hate me than ask him to have a commander who is as feeble, drunk, and indiscreet as I am. I got drunk, and spoke nonsense, and squabbled, swaggered, and swore. I practically ranted at my own shadow. Oh, wine, you invisible spirit—if you don't have a name, then I will call you devil!

IAGO

What was he that you followed with your sword? What hadhe done to you?

IAGO

Who was it that you were chasing after with your sword? What did he do to you?

CASSIO

I know not.

CASSIO

I don't know.

IAGO

Is ’t possible?

IAGO

Really?

CASSIO

I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly. A quarrel, but nothing wherefore. Oh, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should, with joy, pleasance revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!

CASSIO

I remember everything in a big haze. I can't recall the particulars. I remember the fight, but not the reason for it. Oh, why do men drink their enemy, which robs them of their senses! Why do we celebrate by willingly turning ourselves into beasts?

IAGO

Why, but you are now well enough. How came you thus recovered?

IAGO

But you seem fine now. How did you sober up so fast?

CASSIO

It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place tothe devil wrath. One unperfectness shows me another, tomake me frankly despise myself.

CASSIO

The devil of drunkenness decided to give up his place to the devil of anger. One vice leads to another, and now I hate myself.

IAGO

Come, you are too severe a moraler. As the time, the place, and the condition of this country stands, I couldheartily wish this had not befallen. But since it is asit is, mend it for your own good.

IAGO

Oh stop, you're being too hard on yourself. Given the circumstances, I wholeheartedly wish this hadn't happened. But it has happened, so make the best of the situation.

CASSIO

I will ask him for my place again, he shall tell me I am a drunkard. Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, byand by a fool, and presently a beast! Oh, strange! Every inordinate cup is unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.

CASSIO

If I ask him for my place as lieutenant back, he'll say that I am a drunkard. If I had as many mouths as the Hydra to ask him with, he'd say no to each one. How strange it is that I should be a sensible man, but occasionally foolish, and then just now a beast! Every drink is unblessed, and alcohol is a devil.

IAGO

Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used. Exclaim no more against it. And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.

IAGO

Come on, good wine isn't bad if you don't drink too much of it. Stop swearing against wine. Now, good lieutenant, am I right in thinking that you know I care about you?

CASSIO

I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!

CASSIO

I know you are my friend. I can't believe I got drunk!

IAGO

You or any man living may be drunk at a time, man. I tell you what you shall do. Our general’s wife is now the general. I may say so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and given up himself to the contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and graces. Confess yourself freely to her, importune her help to put you inyour place again. She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested. This broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to splinter, and, my fortunes against any lay worth naming,this crack of your love shall grow stronger than it wasbefore.

IAGO

You or any man may get drunk now and then. I'll tell you what to do. Our general's wife is now the one who's actually in charge. What I mean by this is that he is totally devoted to her and obsessed with contemplating and describing her qualities and graces. Apologize to her, and beg her to help you regain your place as lieutenant. She is noble, kind, clever, and blessed. She thinks it is wrong not to do as she is asked. Ask her to help mend your relationship with her husband, and—I'll bet anything on it—the friendship between Othello and you will grow stronger now than ever before.

CASSIO

You advise me well.

CASSIO

That's good advice.

IAGO

I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.

IAGO

I give it out of sincere kindness and affection for you.

CASSIO

I think it freely, and betimes in the morning I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me. I amdesperate of my fortunes if they check me.

CASSIO

I think you're right, and in the morning I will ask the virtuous Desdemona to plead on my behalf. But I worry for my fortunes if they hold me back.

IAGO

You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant, I must tothe watch.

IAGO

You're on the right track. Good night, lieutenant. I must go and keep a lookout.

CASSIO

Good night, honest Iago.

CASSIO

Good night, honest Iago.

Exit

IAGO

And what’s he then that says I play the villain? When this advice is free I give and honest, Probal to thinking and indeed the course To win the Moor again? For ’tis most easy Th' inclining Desdemona to subdue In any honest suit. She’s framed as fruitful As the free elements. And then for her To win the Moor, were to renounce his baptism, All seals and symbols of redeemèd sin, His soul is so enfettered to her love, That she may make, unmake, do what she list, Even as her appetite shall play the god With his weak function. How am I then a villain To counsel Cassio to this parallel course, Directly to his good? Divinity of hell! When devils will the blackest sins put on They do suggest at first with heavenly shows As I do now. For whiles this honest fool Plies Desdemona to repair his fortune And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor, I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear: That she repeals him for her body’s lust. And by how much she strives to do him good She shall undo her credit with the Moor. So will I turn her virtue into pitch And out of her own goodness make the net That shall enmesh them all.

IAGO

Who could say that I'm a villain, when I give free and honest advice that is helpful for Cassio in winning back the Moor's favor? For it really is easy to persuade Desdemona to help you in anything. She gives rise to as many good things as nature itself. And Othello is such a slave to his love for her that he would renounce his baptism and reject all symbols of Christian redemption to win her over. She can do whatever she wants, and whatever she desires he will carry out. How then could I be a villain, when I am advising Cassio to do what is in his best interest? That's Satan's theology! When devils do the worst sins, they first put on the pretense of goodness and innocence, as I am doing now. For while this honest fool begs Desdemona to fix his misfortune and while she pleads on his behalf to the Moor, I'll poison Othello's thoughts by whispering into his ear. I'll say that Desdemona is standing up for Cassio because she is attracted to him. The more that she argues for Cassio, the guiltier she'll seem to the Moor. In this way I'll turn her own virtue into a sort of tar, to entrap her—and everyone else—with her own goodness.

Enter RODERIGO

How now, Roderigo!

How are things going, Roderigo?

RODERIGO

I do follow here in the chase not like a hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is almostspent, I have been tonight exceedingly well cudgeled, and I think the issue will be I shall have so much experience for my pains. And so, with no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.

RODERIGO

I come here exhausted, like a dog bringing up the rear of the pack during a hunt. I've spent almost all my money, have been thoroughly beaten up tonight, and all I have for all this is some painful life experience. So, I'm going to return to Venice a little wiser and a lot poorer.

IAGO

How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees? Thou know’st we work by wit and not by witchcraft, And wit depends on dilatory time. Does’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee. And thou, by that small hurt, hath cashiered Cassio. Though other things grow fair against the sun, Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe. Content thyself awhile. In troth, ’tis morning. Pleasure and action make the hours seem short. Retire thee, go where thou art billeted. Away, I say, thou shalt know more hereafter. Nay, get thee gone.

IAGO

How poor are those who don't have any patience! Every wound must heal gradually. You know that our plan is based on cleverness and not magic, and cleverness needs time to work. Aren't things actually going well? Cassio has beaten you up, yes. But because of this he's been fired from his position as lieutenant. The fruits that blossom first are the first to ripen, and before long, we'll reap the fruits of our labors. Be patient a while longer. It's already morning, in fact. Excitement and action make time fly. Go back to your room and get some sleep. Go, I tell you. I'll fill you in more later. Now, get going.

Exit RODERIGO

Two things are to be done: My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress. I’ll set her on. Myself, the while, to draw the Moor apart And bring him jump when he may Cassio find Soliciting his wife. Ay, that’s the way. Dull not device by coldness and delay.

I must do two things. First, my wife has to advocate for Cassio to Desdemona. I'll get her to do that. Meanwhile, I need to take the Moor aside and orchestrate it so that he happens upon Cassio pleading to his wife. Yes, that's the way to do it. I have no time to waste!

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.