A line-by-line translation

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

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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

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CASSIO

She’s a most exquisite lady.

CASSIO

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IAGO

And, I’ll warrant her, full of game.

IAGO

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CASSIO

Indeed she’s a most fresh and delicate creature.

CASSIO

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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CASSIO

An inviting eye, and yet methinks right modest.

CASSIO

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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CASSIO

She is indeed perfection.

CASSIO

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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

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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

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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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

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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CASSIO

Where are they?

CASSIO

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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CASSIO

I’ll do ’t, but it dislikes me.

CASSIO

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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

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Enter CASSIO, MONTANO and gentlemen

CASSIO

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

CASSIO

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MONTANO

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

MONTANO

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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

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CASSIO

Fore heaven, an excellent song.

CASSIO

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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

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CASSIO

Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?

CASSIO

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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

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CASSIO

To the health of our general!

CASSIO

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MONTANO

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

MONTANO

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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

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CASSIO

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

CASSIO

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IAGO

Will you hear ’t again?

IAGO

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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

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IAGO

It’s true, good lieutenant.

IAGO

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CASSIO

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

CASSIO

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IAGO

And so do I too, lieutenant.

IAGO

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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

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ALL

Excellent well!

ALL

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CASSIO

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

CASSIO

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Exit

MONTANO

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

MONTANO

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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

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MONTANO

But is he often thus?

MONTANO

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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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

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Enter RODERIGO

IAGO

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

IAGO

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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

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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Cry within “Help! help!”

IAGO

But, hark! What noise?

IAGO

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Enter CASSIO, pursuing RODERIGO

CASSIO

Zounds! You rogue! You rascal!

CASSIO

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MONTANO

What’s the matter, lieutenant?

MONTANO

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CASSIO

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

CASSIO

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RODERIGO

Beat me?

RODERIGO

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CASSIO

Dost thou prate, rogue? [strikes him]

CASSIO

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MONTANO

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

MONTANO

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CASSIO

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

CASSIO

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MONTANO

Come, come, you're drunk.

MONTANO

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CASSIO

Drunk?

CASSIO

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They fight

IAGO

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

IAGO

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Exit RODERIGO

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

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Bell rings

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

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Enter OTHELLO and attendants

OTHELLO

What is the matter here?

OTHELLO

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MONTANO

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

MONTANO

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OTHELLO

Hold, for your lives!

OTHELLO

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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

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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

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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

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OTHELLO

How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

OTHELLO

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CASSIO

I pray you pardon me, I cannot speak.

CASSIO

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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

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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

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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

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MONTANO

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

MONTANO

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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

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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

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Enter DESDEMONA, attended

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

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DESDEMONA

What’s the matter, dear?

DESDEMONA

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OTHELLO

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

OTHELLO

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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.

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Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO

IAGO

What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

IAGO

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CASSIO

Ay, past all surgery.

CASSIO

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IAGO

Marry, heaven forbid!

IAGO

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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

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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

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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

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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CASSIO

I know not.

CASSIO

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IAGO

Is ’t possible?

IAGO

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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

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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CASSIO

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

CASSIO

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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

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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

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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

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CASSIO

I have well approved it, sir. I drunk!

CASSIO

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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

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CASSIO

You advise me well.

CASSIO

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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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

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IAGO

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

IAGO

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CASSIO

Good night, honest Iago.

CASSIO

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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

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Enter RODERIGO

How now, Roderigo!

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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

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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

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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.

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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.