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Othello

Othello Translation Act 3, Scene 3

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Enter DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and EMILIA

DESDEMONA

Be thou assured, good Cassio, I will doAll my abilities in thy behalf.

DESDEMONA

Rest assured, good Cassio,  I will do all I can for you.

EMILIA

Good madam, do. I warrant it grieves my husbandAs if the cause were his.

EMILIA

Please do, good madam. The situation has my husband troubled as if the problem were his own.

DESDEMONA

Oh, that’s an honest fellow. Do not doubt, Cassio,But I will have my lord and you againAs friendly as you were.

DESDEMONA

Oh, your husband's an honest fellow. Cassio, do not doubt that I will soon have you and my husband as close as you were before.

CASSIO

Bounteous madam,Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio,He’s never anything but your true servant.

CASSIO

Generous madam, whatever happens to me, I'll always be your loyal servant.

DESDEMONA

I know ’t, I thank you. You do love my lord. You have known him long, and be you well assured He shall in strangeness stand no farther off Than in a polite distance.

DESDEMONA

Thank you. I know you mean that. You really do love my husband. You've known him for a long time, and you can be sure that he is only keeping his distance from you for political reasons.

CASSIO

Ay, but, lady, That policy may either last so long, Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet, Or breed itself so out of circumstances, That, I being absent and my place supplied, My general will forget my love and service.

CASSIO

Yes, but, my lady, I worry that he may keep this distance for so long—because it is easier to keep doing it, or because some accident or other makes it necessary—that he will forget my love and service to him while I am gone and someone else is in my place.

DESDEMONA

Do not doubt that. Before Emilia here I give thee warrant of thy place. Assure thee, If I do vow a friendship, I’ll perform it To the last article. My lord shall never rest, I’ll watch him tame and talk him out of patience. His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift, I’ll intermingle everything he does With Cassio’s suit. Therefore be merry, Cassio, For thy solicitor shall rather die Than give thy cause away.

DESDEMONA

Don't worry about that. With Emilia here as my witness, I guarantee that you will have your place back as lieutenant. I assure you, when I promise to do something out of friendship, I deliver. My husband won't have a moment of rest because I'll keep him awake all night to talk his ear off about this. I'll lecture him until our bed feels like a school room and his table a confessional. I'll mention your case no matter what he's doing. So cheer up, Cassio. I'd rather die than fail on your behalf.

Enter OTHELLO and IAGO

EMILIA

Madam, here comes my lord.

EMILIA

Madam, here comes my husband.

CASSIO

Madam, I’ll take my leave.

CASSIO

Madam, I'll leave now.

DESDEMONA

Why, stay and hear me speak.

DESDEMONA

Why don't you stay here and hear me speak?

CASSIO

Madam, not now. I am very ill at ease,Unfit for mine own purposes.

CASSIO

Madam, not now. I don't have a good feeling about this, and don't think it's the right time.

DESDEMONA

Well, do your discretion.

DESDEMONA

Well, it's up to you.

Exit CASSIO

IAGO

Ha! I like not that.

IAGO

Huh. I don't like the looks of that.

OTHELLO

What dost thou say?

OTHELLO

What are you talking about?

IAGO

Nothing, my lord, or if—I know not what.

IAGO

Nothing, my lord, unless—I don't know.

OTHELLO

Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?

OTHELLO

Wasn't that Cassio who was just talking to my wife?

IAGO

Cassio, my lord? No, sure, I cannot think itThat he would steal away so guilty-likeSeeing you coming.

IAGO

Cassio, my lord? No, surely not. I can't imagine he would slink away looking so guilty after seeing you coming.

OTHELLO

I do believe ’twas he.

OTHELLO

I think it was him.

DESDEMONA

How now, my lord?I have been talking with a suitor here,A man that languishes in your displeasure.

DESDEMONA

How are you, my husband? I have been talking here with a man who, sadly, you are displeased with.

OTHELLO

Who is ’t you mean?

OTHELLO

Who do you mean?

DESDEMONA

Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord, If I have any grace or power to move you His present reconciliation take. For if he be not one that truly loves you, That errs in ignorance and not in cunning, I have no judgment in an honest face. I prithee, call him back.

DESDEMONA

Your lieutenant, Cassio. My good husband, if I have any grace or power to persuade you, please accept his apology. I swear he truly loves you and made a mistake on accident, not on purpose, or else I can't judge an honest face. Please, call him back here.

OTHELLO

Went he hence now?

OTHELLO

Was that him who just left?

DESDEMONA

Ay, sooth, so humbledThat he hath left part of his grief with me To suffer with him. Good love, call him back.

DESDEMONA

Yes, that's right. And he was so humbled and troubled that now I feel sad for him. My love, call him back here.

OTHELLO

Not now, sweet Desdemona. Some other time.

OTHELLO

Not now, sweet Desdemona. Some other time.

DESDEMONA

But shall ’t be shortly?

DESDEMONA

But will that time be soon?

OTHELLO

The sooner, sweet, for you.

OTHELLO

All the sooner because you asked, sweetheart.

DESDEMONA

Shall ’t be tonight at supper?

DESDEMONA

So, will that be tonight at dinner?

OTHELLO

No, not tonight.

OTHELLO

No, not tonight.

DESDEMONA

Tomorrow dinner, then?

DESDEMONA

Tomorrow at dinner, then?

OTHELLO

I shall not dine at home, I meet the captains at the citadel.

OTHELLO

I'm not eating dinner at home tomorrow. I'm meeting the captains at the castle.

DESDEMONA

Why, then, tomorrow night, or Tuesday morn. On Tuesday noon, or night, or Wednesday morn. I prithee name the time, but let it not Exceed three days. In faith, he’s penitent, And yet his trespass, in our common reason (Save that, they say, the wars must make example Out of her best) is not, almost, a fault T' incur a private check. When shall he come? Tell me, Othello. I wonder in my soul What you would ask me that I should deny Or stand so mamm'ring on. What? Michael Cassio That came a-wooing with you, and so many a time, When I have spoke of you dispraisingly, Hath ta'en your part, to have so much to do To bring him in? Trust me, I could do much—

DESDEMONA

Then do it tomorrow night, or Tuesday morning. Or Tuesday at noon, or Tuesday night, or even Wednesday morning. You name the time, but please sometime within the next three days. Truly, he regrets what he's done, and his error wasn't really that serious—except that, as they say, military discipline requires that you be most strict with the best soldiers—and should barely have even required a private scolding . When will Cassio come back? Tell me, Othello. If you asked me for something, I wouldn't just say no, or stand there hesitating. What do you say? Michael Cassio helped you when you were courting me, and whenever I criticized you he stood up for you. Why should it be so hard for him to get to talk with you? Trust me, I could do a lot—

OTHELLO

Prithee, no more. Let him come when he will,I will deny thee nothing.

OTHELLO

Please, don't talk anymore about this. Let Cassio come when he wants. I won't deny you what you want.

DESDEMONA

Why, this is not a boon, 'Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves, Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm, Or sue to you to do a peculiar profit To your own person. Nay, when I have a suit Wherein I mean to touch your love indeed It shall be full of poise and difficult weight And fearful to be granted.

DESDEMONA

This isn't a great favor you're doing me. It's as if I'm trying to persuade you to put on gloves when it's cold out, or to eat healthy food, or to keep yourself warm, or to do anything that's good for you. No, when I have something to ask of you that will really test your love, it will be a difficult, serious thing, one that you wouldn't grant easily.

OTHELLO

I will deny thee nothing! Whereon I do beseech thee, grant me this,To leave me but a little to myself.

OTHELLO

I will never say no to you! All I ask of you right now is that you leave me alone for a bit.

DESDEMONA

Shall I deny you? No. Farewell, my lord.

DESDEMONA

And will I say no to you? No, I won't. Goodbye, my husband.

OTHELLO

Farewell, my Desdemona. I’ll come to thee straight.

OTHELLO

Goodbye, my Desdemona. I'll come see you soon.

DESDEMONA

Emilia, come.—Be as your fancies teach you. Whate'er you be, I am obedient.

DESDEMONA

Emilia, come with me. Act however you want, Othello. Whatever you do, I'll be obedient to you.

Exeunt DESDEMONA and EMILIA

OTHELLO

Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soulBut I do love thee! And when I love thee notChaos is come again.

OTHELLO

Oh, that crazy girl. But I'll be damned if don't love her! The world will end before I stop loving her.

IAGO

My noble lord—

IAGO

My noble lord—

OTHELLO

What dost thou say, Iago?

OTHELLO

What is it, Iago?

IAGO

Did Michael Cassio, when you wooed my lady,Know of your love?

IAGO

Did Michael Cassio know about your love for Desdemona when you were courting her?

OTHELLO

He did, from first to last.Why dost thou ask?

OTHELLO

He did, from the very beginning. Why do you ask?

IAGO

But for a satisfaction of my thought,No further harm.

IAGO

Oh, no reason. I was just curious.

OTHELLO

Why of thy thought, Iago?

OTHELLO

Why were you curious, Iago?

IAGO

I did not think he had been acquainted with her.

IAGO

I didn't think he had met her.

OTHELLO

Oh, yes, and went between us very oft.

OTHELLO

Oh, yes he knew her, and often carried messages between Desdemona and me.

IAGO

Indeed?

IAGO

Really?

OTHELLO

Indeed? Ay, indeed! Discern’st thou aught in that? Is he not honest?

OTHELLO

What do you mean, "really?" Yes, really. You think something's strange about that? Isn't Cassio honest?

IAGO

Honest, my lord?

IAGO

Honest, my lord?

OTHELLO

Honest, ay, honest.

OTHELLO

Honest, yes, honest.

IAGO

My lord, for aught I know.

IAGO

My lord, for all I know.

OTHELLO

What dost thou think?

OTHELLO

What do you think?

IAGO

Think, my lord?

IAGO

Think, my lord?

OTHELLO

“Think, my lord?” Alas, thou echo’st me As if there were some monster in thy thought Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something. I heard thee say even now thou lik’st not that When Cassio left my wife. What didst not like? And when I told thee he was of my counsel Of my whole course of wooing, thou cried’st “Indeed?” And didst contract and purse thy brow together As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain Some horrible conceit. If thou dost love me Show me thy thought.

OTHELLO

"Think, my lord?" Come on, you're repeating everything I say like a strange monster in your mind that you're afraid is to hideous to show. You're hinting at something. You just said earlier that you didn't like how Cassio left my wife's side. What about it didn't you like? And when I told you that Cassio advised me the whole time I was courting Desdemona, you said, "Oh really?" And you raised your eyebrows like you had some secret thought about it. If you care about me at all, tell me what you're thinking.

IAGO

My lord, you know I love you.

IAGO

My lord, you know I care about you.

OTHELLO

I think thou dost. And for I know thou 'rt full of love and honesty And weigh’st thy words before thou giv’st them breath, Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more. For such things in a false disloyal knave Are tricks of custom, but in a man that’s just They are close dilations, working from the heart, That passion cannot rule.

OTHELLO

I think you do. And it's precisely because I know you are full of love and honesty and think carefully before you speak that I'm even more worried about the way you're hesitating. In some disloyal liar, it wouldn't mean anything, but in an honest man like you, these kinds of reactions are indications of thoughts that come from the heart which cannot be clouded by emotion.

IAGO

For Michael Cassio, I dare be sworn, I think, that he is honest.

IAGO

As far as Michael Cassio goes, I think I can swear that he is honest.

OTHELLO

I think so too.

OTHELLO

I think so too.

IAGO

Men should be what they seem,Or those that be not, would they might seem none!

IAGO

Men should be what they seem to be. And if they aren't, I wish they wouldn't pretend to be anything that they're not!

OTHELLO

Certain, men should be what they seem.

OTHELLO

Certainly, men should be what they seem to be.

IAGO

Why then I think Cassio’s an honest man.

IAGO

Well then, I think Cassio is an honest man.

OTHELLO

Nay, yet there’s more in this. I prithee speak to me as to thy thinkings, As thou dost ruminate, and give thy worst of thoughts The worst of words.

OTHELLO

No, there's something more going on. Please, tell me what you're thinking to yourself, and speak even the worst thoughts you are thinking.

IAGO

Good my lord, pardon me, Though I am bound to every act of duty I am not bound to that all slaves are free to. Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false, As where’s that palace whereinto foul things Sometimes intrude not? Who has that breast so pure Wherein uncleanly apprehensions Keep leets and law-days and in sessions sit With meditations lawful?

IAGO

My good lord, pardon me. I must obey your every order, but I don't have to do that which even slaves aren't obligated to do—divulge my thoughts. What if my thoughts are vile and untrue? After all, what palace is there that has never let a foul thing inside? Who has ever had a heart so pure that impure thoughts haven't held court with lawful thoughts?

OTHELLO

Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,If thou but think’st him wronged and mak’st his earA stranger to thy thoughts.

OTHELLO

Iago, if you think that a friend of yours is in trouble but you don't say anything, then you are wronging your friend.

IAGO

I do beseech you, Though I perchance am vicious in my guess, As, I confess, it is my nature’s plague To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy Shapes faults that are not, that your wisdom, From one that so imperfectly conceits, Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble Out of his scattering and unsure observance. It were not for your quiet nor your good, Nor for my manhood, honesty, and wisdom To let you know my thoughts.

IAGO

Since I am maybe wrong in my guess—and I admit it's my nature to look into possible misdeeds and often I imagine wrongs that aren't really there—I beg you in your wisdom not to put too much stock in what I say, since I often wrongly imagine things. Don't make a big deal out of my smattering of uncertain observations. It would not be good for you, and it wouldn't be wise, honest, or manly of me to let you know my thoughts.

OTHELLO

What dost thou mean?

OTHELLO

What do you mean?

IAGO

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls. Who steals my purse steals trash. 'Tis something, nothing: 'Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands. But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.

IAGO

A good reputation is the most precious jewel of a man's or a woman's soul, my dear lord. If someone steals money from me, it's not a big deal. It was mine, now it's his, and it's been held by thousands of others. But if someone steals my good reputation from me, then he really does make me truly poor, and steals something that doesn't even make him any richer.

OTHELLO

I’ll know thy thoughts.

OTHELLO

I want to know your thoughts.

IAGO

You cannot, if my heart were in your hand,Nor shall not, whilst ’tis in my custody.

IAGO

You cannot know, not even if you were squeezing my heart in your hand to make me tell you. And as long as I have my heart, I won't tell you.

OTHELLO

Ha!

OTHELLO

Ha!

IAGO

Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger, But, oh, what damnèd minutes tells he o'er Who dotes, yet doubts— suspects, yet soundly loves!

IAGO

Oh, my lord, beware of jealousy! It is a green-eyed monster that mocks whoever it eats away at. A man who knows for sure that his wife is cheating on him lives in bliss, since he knows not to love his wife. But, oh, what torture it is to love but doubt your wife, suspect her of something but still love her.

OTHELLO

Oh, misery!

OTHELLO

Oh, what misery!

IAGO

Poor and content is rich, and rich enough, But riches fineless is as poor as winter To him that ever fears he shall be poor. Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend From jealousy!

IAGO

To be poor but content is actually to be quite rich. But you can have endless riches and still be as poor as anyone if you are always afraid of losing your riches. Good heaven, defend us all from jealousy!

OTHELLO

Why, why is this? Think’st thou I’d make a life of jealousy, To follow still the changes of the moon With fresh suspicions? No! To be once in doubt Is to be resolved. Exchange me for a goat When I shall turn the business of my soul To such exsufflicate and blowed surmises, Matching thy inference. 'Tis not to make me jealous To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company, Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances. Where virtue is, these are more virtuous. Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt, For she had eyes and chose me. No, Iago, I’ll see before I doubt, when I doubt, prove, And on the proof there is no more but this: Away at once with love or jealousy!

OTHELLO

Why would say that? Do you think I would make jealousy my whole life, and with every change in the moon find new suspicions? No! To doubt once is to make up your mind. I'd rather turn into a goat than devote all my time to such overblown suspicions, like the sort of jealous man you're describing. It wouldn't make me jealous for you to say that my wife is pretty, eats well, enjoys the company of others, speaks her mind, sings, plays music, and dances. When a woman is virtuous, these traits are virtuous as well. And I will not worry or fear that she may be unfaithful because I am not very desirable. She knew who she was marrying. No, Iago, I won't doubt Desdemona until I see something, and if I doubt her I'll see if I can prove it. If I get proof, there's only one thing to do: get rid of either my love or my jealousy.

IAGO

I am glad of this, for now I shall have reason To show the love and duty that I bear you With franker spirit. Therefore, as I am bound, Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof. Look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio. Wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure. I would not have your free and noble nature Out of self-bounty be abused. Look to ’t. I know our country disposition well. In Venice they do let God see the pranks They dare not show their husbands. Their best conscience Is not to leave ’t undone, but keep’t unknown.

IAGO

I'm glad to hear this, because now I can show my love for you and fulfill my duty in a more frank manner. So, hear what I must tell you. I don't have any proof yet. But keep an eye on your wife, and watch her carefully with Cassio. Look at her like this: don't be too jealous or too trusting. I wouldn't want you to get taken advantage of because of your noble, kind nature. Look out. I know the people of my country well. Women of Venice let God see the sorts of exploits they wouldn't dare let their husbands see. Their conscience doesn't stop them from doing bad things, but only keeps them from letting their bad deeds be known.

OTHELLO

Dost thou say so?

OTHELLO

Do you think so?

IAGO

She did deceive her father, marrying you,And when she seemed to shake and fear your looks,She loved them most.

IAGO

Desdemona deceived her father in marrying you, and she pretended to shake in fear at your looks when she actually loved them.

OTHELLO

And so she did.

OTHELLO

Yes, she did.

IAGO

Why, go to then. She that, so young, could give out such a seeming, To seel her father’s eyes up close as oak, He thought ’twas witchcraft. But I am much to blame. I humbly do beseech you of your pardon For too much loving you.

IAGO

Well, there you have it, then. Even though she was a young woman, she was so good at lying that she made her father as blind as a tree to her plans. He even thought you'd used witchcraft on her. But I'm partially to blame for saying this. I beg your pardon for loving you too much.

OTHELLO

I am bound to thee forever.

OTHELLO

I am forever in your debt.

IAGO

I see this hath a little dashed your spirits.

IAGO

I can see this has upset you a little.

OTHELLO

Not a jot, not a jot.

OTHELLO

Not at all, not at all.

IAGO

Trust me, I fear it has. I hope you will consider what is spoke Comes from my love. But I do see you’re moved. I am to pray you not to strain my speech To grosser issues nor to larger reach Than to suspicion.

IAGO

Trust me, I worry it has. Please consider that what I am saying comes from my love for you. But I see you really are affected by what I've said. I only meant to warn you to be a little suspicious. I beg you not to make more out of this than you should. 

OTHELLO

I will not.

OTHELLO

I won't.

IAGO

Should you do so, my lord, My speech should fall into such vile success Which my thoughts aimed not at. Cassio’s my worthy friend— My lord, I see you’re moved.

IAGO

If you do, my speech would have the very vile effects that I didn't want it to. Cassio is my deserving friend—my Lord, I see you're troubled.

OTHELLO

No, not much moved. I do not think but Desdemona’s honest.

OTHELLO

No, I'm not troubled. I think Desdemona is nothing but honest.

IAGO

Long live she so. And long live you to think so.

IAGO

May she be be honest for a long time. And that you will think she's honest for a long time. 

OTHELLO

And yet how nature, erring from itself—

OTHELLO

And yet, one can act against one's nature—

IAGO

Ay, there’s the point. As, to be bold with you, Not to affect many proposèd matches Of her own clime, complexion, and degree, Whereto we see in all things nature tends— Foh! One may smell in such a will most rank, Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural. But—pardon me— I do not in position Distinctly speak of her, though I may fear Her will, recoiling to her better judgment, May fall to match you with her country forms, And happily repent.

IAGO

Yes, that's the point. At the risk of being too honest, it was against her nature not to like so many suitors of her own country, complexion, and social rank, since those who share such similarities are naturally drawn to each other. Ugh! You can practically smell a gross desire in excessive proportion and foul thoughts in such a person. But forgive me, I am talking generally and don't mean her in particular, although I do fear that she may return to her better judgment, prefer her own countrymen to you, and take back her love for you.

OTHELLO

Farewell, farewell.If more thou dost perceive, let me know more. Set on thy wife to observe. Leave me, Iago.

OTHELLO

Goodbye, goodbye. If you notice anything more, let me know. Have your wife look out, too. Leave me, Iago.

IAGO

My lord, I take my leave. [going]

IAGO

My lord, I will leave now. [He starts to leave.]

OTHELLO

[aside] Why did I marry? This honest creature doubtlessSees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.

OTHELLO

[To himself] Why did I marry? Without a doubt, this honest man has seen more than he lets on, and knows more—much more—than he is telling me.

IAGO

(returns) My lord, I would I might entreat your honor To scan this thing no farther. Leave it to time. Although ’tis fit that Cassio have his place, For sure, he fills it up with great ability, Yet, if you please to hold him off awhile, You shall by that perceive him and his means. Note if your lady strain his entertainment With any strong or vehement importunity. Much will be seen in that. In the meantime, Let me be thought too busy in my fears— As worthy cause I have to fear I am— And hold her free, I do beseech your honor.

IAGO

[Returning] My lord, I ask you not to worry about this anymore. Give it some time. It is right for Cassio to get his place as lieutenant back—for sure, he's very good at the job—but if you wait for a while you will get a better idea of what he's up to. Take note if your wife strongly insists that you reinstate him. That would mean a lot. In the meantime, just think that I'm being overly suspicious in my fears—and I have good reason to think I may be—and I beg you to consider Desdemona innocent.

OTHELLO

Fear not my government.

OTHELLO

Don't worry about how I'll handle myself.

IAGO

I once more take my leave.

IAGO

Once again, goodbye.

Exit

OTHELLO

This fellow’s of exceeding honesty And knows all quantities, with a learnèd spirit, Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard, Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings, I’d whistle her off and let her down the wind To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black And have not those soft parts of conversation That chamberers have, or for I am declined Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much— She’s gone, I am abused, and my relief Must be to loathe her. Oh, curse of marriage That we can call these delicate creatures ours And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad And live upon the vapor of a dungeon Than keep a corner in the thing I love For others' uses. Yet ’tis the plague to great ones, Prerogatived are they less than the base. 'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. Even then this forkèd plague is fated to us When we do quicken. Look where she comes.

OTHELLO

This man is very honest and knows human interactions very well. If I find proof that Desdemona is unfaithful, I'll let her go like I'm getting rid of a pet, even if the leash is my own heartstrings. Maybe since I am black and don't have the smooth conversational skills of gallant men, or maybe since I'm getting old—but no, none of that's important. She's gone, I am betrayed, and my only recourse must be to hate her. Oh, this is the curse of marriage, that we can have control over our delicate wives, but not their desires. I'd rather be a toad who survives off the mold in a dungeon than to share the thing I love with others. But that's what you get for being a powerful man, as this happens more often to noblemen than to commoners. It's an inescapable part of fate, like death. From the moment we're born we are fated to wear the horns. Look, here she comes.

Enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA

If she be false, heaven mocked itself.I’ll not believe ’t.

If she is a liar, heaven has played a trick on itself. I won't believe it.

DESDEMONA

How now, my dear Othello?Your dinner, and the generous islanders By you invited, do attend your presence.

DESDEMONA

How are you, my dear Othello? The islanders you invited to dinner are waiting for you.

OTHELLO

I am to blame.

OTHELLO

My mistake.

DESDEMONA

Why do you speak so faintly?Are you not well?

DESDEMONA

Why do you speak so faintly? Are you okay?

OTHELLO

I have a pain upon my forehead, here.

OTHELLO

I have a headache, here by my forehead.

DESDEMONA

Why that’s with watching, ’twill away again. Let me but bind it hard, within this hourIt will be well. [pulls out a handkerchief]

DESDEMONA

Well, that's from staying up too late. It will go away soon. Let me just tie this handkerchief tight around your head and it will feel better within an hour. [She pulls out a handkerchief]

OTHELLO

Your napkin is too little,Let it alone.

OTHELLO

Your handkerchief is too small. Leave it alone.

Her handkerchief drops

Come, I’ll go in with you.

Come on, I'll go inside with you. 

DESDEMONA

I am very sorry that you are not well.

DESDEMONA

I am very sorry that you aren't feeling well.

Exeunt OTHELLO and DESDEMONA

EMILIA

(picks up the handkerchief) I am glad I have found this napkin, This was her first remembrance from the Moor. My wayward husband hath a hundred times Wooed me to steal it, but she so loves the token (For he conjured her she should ever keep it) That she reserves it evermore about her To kiss and talk to. I’ll have the work ta'en out And give ’t Iago. What he will do with it Heaven knows, not I. I nothing but to please his fantasy.

EMILIA

[She picks up DESDEMONA's handkerchief] I am glad I have found this handkerchief. This was Desdemona's first gift from the Moor. My stubborn husband has asked me to steal it a hundred times, but she loves it so much (for Othello asked her never to lose it) that she always keeps it with her to kiss and talk to. I'll have the embroidered pattern copied and give it to Iago. God knows what he will do with it. God only knows. I certainly don't. I just like to make him happy.

Enter IAGO

IAGO

How now! What do you here alone?

IAGO

What's going on? What are you doing here alone?

EMILIA

Do not you chide. I have a thing for you.

EMILIA

Don't scold me. I have something for you.

IAGO

A thing for me? It is a common thing—

IAGO

You have a thing for me? It is a common thing. . . 

EMILIA

Ha?

EMILIA

What?

IAGO

To have a foolish wife.

IAGO

. . . to have a foolish wife.

EMILIA

Oh, is that all? What will you give me now For the same handkerchief?

EMILIA

Oh, is that it? What will you give me now for the handkerchief itself?

IAGO

What handkerchief?

IAGO

What handkerchief?

EMILIA

What handkerchief?Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona,That which so often you did bid me steal.

EMILIA

What handkerchief? The one the Moor first gave to Desdemona, the one you so often asked me to steal.

IAGO

Hast stolen it from her?

IAGO

You've stolen it from her?

EMILIA

No, but she let it drop by negligenceAnd, to th' advantage, I being here, took ’t up.Look, here it is.

EMILIA

No, she let it drop carelessly. And, since I happened to be here, I took the opportunity to pick it up. Look, here it is.

IAGO

A good wench, give it me.

IAGO

That's a good girl, give it to me.

EMILIA

What will you do with ’t, that you have been so earnestTo have me filch it?

EMILIA

What will you do with it? Why have you been so eager for me to steal it?

IAGO

Why, what is that to you?

IAGO

Why do you care?

EMILIA

If it be not for some purpose of import,Give ’t me again. Poor lady, she’ll run madWhen she shall lack it.

EMILIA

If you don't have an important purpose for it, then give it back to me. Poor Desdemona, she'll be so upset when she realizes it's missing.

IAGO

Be not acknown on ’t,I have use for it. Go, leave me.

IAGO

Don't tell her what happened to it. I have a use for it. Go on, leave me alone.

Exit EMILIA

I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin And let him find it. Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ. This may do something. The Moor already changes with my poison. Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons Which at the first are scarce found to distaste, But with a little act upon the blood Burn like the mines of sulfur.

I will leave this handkerchief in Cassio's room, and let him find it there. Unimportant, trifling matters count as strong evidence to the jealous. This may have significant consequences. The Moor is already being changed by my poisonous advice. Dangerous suspicion are like poisons that don't even taste very bad at first, but slowly act on the blood and burn the insides before long like unquenchable sulfur.

Enter OTHELLO

I did say so. Look, where he comes. Not poppy nor mandragora Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world, Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep Which thou owedst yesterday.

Just as I said. Look, here he comes. No exotic plant or herb, nor any sleeping medicine in the world, will return to you that sweet restful sleep you enjoyed just yesterday.

OTHELLO

Ha! Ha! False to me?

OTHELLO

Ha! Ha! Desdemona, unfaithful to me?

IAGO

Why, how now, general? No more of that.

IAGO

Why, what is going on, General? Don't talk like that.

OTHELLO

Avaunt! Be gone! Thou hast set me on the rack.I swear ’tis better to be much abusedThan but to know ’t a little.

OTHELLO

Away! Get away from me! You have tortured me. I swear it's better to be horribly betrayed and not realize it than to know a bit about it.

IAGO

How now, my lord!

IAGO

What is going on, my lord? 

OTHELLO

What sense had I in her stol'n hours of lust? I saw ’t not, thought it not, it harmed not me. I slept the next night well, fed well, was free and merry. I found not Cassio’s kisses on her lips. He that is robbed, not wanting what is stol'n, Let him not know’t, and he’s not robbed at all.

OTHELLO

Was I completely senseless during the hours she was cheating on me? I didn't see anything, and I didn't suspect anything. So, it didn't do me any harm. I slept well after, ate well, and was happy and carefree. I didn't see Cassio's kisses on her lips. If a man is ever robbed but doesn't realize what has been stolen, let him not know he's been robbed. And then it's as if the robbery never happened.

IAGO

I am sorry to hear this.

IAGO

I am sorry to hear this.

OTHELLO

I had been happy if the general camp, Pioneers and all, had tasted her sweet body, So I had nothing known. Oh, now forever Farewell the tranquil mind! Farewell content! Farewell the plumèd troops and the big wars That makes ambition virtue! Oh, farewell! Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th' ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war! And O you mortal engines, whose rude throats The immortal Jove’s dead clamors counterfeit, Farewell! Othello’s occupation’s gone.

OTHELLO

I would have been happy if the whole camp of soldiers, trench-diggers and all, had tasted her sweet body, if only I didn't know about it. Oh, now I can say farewell to a peaceful mind! Farewell to being content! Farewell to the soldiers in uniform and the big wars that allow me to fulfill my ambitions! Oh, farewell! Farewell the neighing horses and the shrill war trumpets, the war drums that stir the spirit, the ear-piercing flute, the royal banners, pride, the pomp and circumstance, and everything else that's good about war! And you deadly cannons, whose rude blasts are as loud as Jove's thunderbolts, farewell! Othello's military career is finished.

IAGO

Is ’t possible, my lord?

IAGO

Can this be possible, my lord?

OTHELLO

Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore, Be sure of it. Give me the ocular proof Or by the worth of mine eternal soul Thou hadst been better have been born a dog Than answer my waked wrath!

OTHELLO

Villain, you'd better be sure that my wife turns out to be a whore. You'd better be sure of it. Give me proof that I can see with my own eyes, or I swear on my soul that you'll wish you had been born a dog rather than have to answer to my anger.

IAGO

Is ’t come to this?

IAGO

Has it come to this?

OTHELLO

Make me to see ’t, or at the least so prove it That the probation bear no hinge nor loopTo hang a doubt on, or woe upon thy life!

OTHELLO

Give me evidence, or at least prove it beyond an ounce of doubt—or else you'll regret it!

IAGO

My noble lord—

IAGO

My noble lord—

OTHELLO

If thou dost slander her and torture me, Never pray more. Abandon all remorse. On horror’s head horrors accumulate, Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed, For nothing canst thou to damnation add Greater than that.

OTHELLO

If you are going to slander Desdemona and torture me, you can give up on praying, and showing any remorse, because it won't help you. Go ahead and pile more sins on top of the ones you've already committed, do things so horrible they'll make heaven cry and astound everyone on earth. For nothing you could do would add more to your damnation than if you should slander Desdemona more.

IAGO

Oh, grace! Oh, heaven forgive me! Are you a man? Have you a soul or sense? God buy you, take mine office. O wretched fool That lov’st to make thine honesty a vice! O monstrous world! Take note, take note, O world, To be direct and honest is not safe. I thank you for this profit, and from hence I’ll love no friend, sith love breeds such offence.

IAGO

Oh, grace! Oh, heaven forgive me! Are you human? Do you have any sense, or a soul? Goodbye, I resign as flag-bearer. Oh what a fool I am for being honest to a fault! Oh this monstrous world! Take note, take note, everyone: it is not safe to be direct and honest. Thank you for teaching me this lesson. From here on out, I'll love no friend, since showing love for your friends causes such hate.

OTHELLO

Nay, stay. Thou shouldst be honest.

OTHELLO

No, stay. You should be honest. 

IAGO

I should be wise, for honesty’s a foolAnd loses that it works for.

IAGO

I should be wise, because being honest is foolish and causes someone to lose all that he works for.

OTHELLO

By the world, I think my wife be honest and think she is not. I think that thou art just and think thou art not. I’ll have some proof. Her name, that was as fresh As Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black As mine own face. If there be cords or knives, Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams, I’ll not endure it. Would I were satisfied!

OTHELLO

By the world, part of me thinks my wife is honest, and another part of me thinks she isn't. Part of me thinks you're trustworthy, and another part of me thinks you're not. I need some proof. Her reputation, which was as pure and fair as Diana's, is now besmirched and black as my face. If I can find any ropes, knives, poison, fire, or streams you can drown in, I won't endure this dishonor. If only I could be satisfied in this!

IAGO

I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion.I do repent me that I put it to you.You would be satisfied?

IAGO

I see, sir, that passion is eating away at you. I regret that I told you about this. You say that you wish you could be satisfied?

OTHELLO

Would? Nay, and I will.

OTHELLO

Yes, and I will be.

IAGO

And may, but how? How satisfied, my lord? Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on,Behold her topped?

IAGO

But how? How will you be satisfied, my lord? Would you, like a voyeur, inappropriately watch and look on as she is having sex?

OTHELLO

Death and damnation! Oh!

OTHELLO

Death and damnation! Oh!

IAGO

It were a tedious difficulty, I think, To bring them to that prospect. Damn them then, If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster More than their own! What then? How then? What shall I say? Where’s satisfaction? It is impossible you should see this, Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys, As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say, If imputation and strong circumstances Which lead directly to the door of truth Will give you satisfaction, you may have ’t.

IAGO

It would be very difficult, I think, to arrange it so you could watch the two of them sleep together. They'd be damned if anyone else saw them having sex. So, what now? What should we do? What should I say? How could you be satisfied that you know the truth? It is impossible that you should see them in the act, even if they were frisky as goats, monkeys, or wolves in heat, as lustful as drunk idiots. But nonetheless, I tell you, if you would be satisfied to find strong circumstantial evidence pointing to the truth, you could then find such satisfaction.

OTHELLO

Give me a living reason she’s disloyal.

OTHELLO

Give me some proof that Desdemona is disloyal.

IAGO

I do not like the office. But, sith I am entered in this cause so far, Pricked to ’t by foolish honesty and love, I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately And, being troubled with a raging tooth, I could not sleep. There are a kind of men So loose of soul that in their sleeps will mutter Their affairs. One of this kind is Cassio. In sleep I heard him say “Sweet Desdemona, Let us be wary, let us hide our loves.” And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand, Cry “O sweet creature!” and then kiss me hard, As if he plucked up kisses by the roots That grew upon my lips, lay his leg Over my thigh, and sigh, and kiss, and then Cry “Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!”

IAGO

I don't like this task. But since I'm already so deeply involved in this, thanks to foolish honesty and concern for you, I will go on. I was recently spending the night in Cassio's bedroom and couldn't sleep because of a raging toothache. Now, some men have such a loose soul that they mutter things in their sleep. Cassio is one of them. I heard him say in his sleep, "Sweet Desdemona, let's be careful and hide our love." And then, sir, he clutched and grabbed my hand, crying "Oh sweet woman!" and he kissed me hard as if with his kisses he was trying to pull up some plant by the roots that was growing on my lips. He laid his leg over my thigh and sighed, and kissed, and then cried out, "Curse fate for giving you to the Moor!" 

OTHELLO

Oh, monstrous! Monstrous!

OTHELLO

Oh, this is terrible! Terrible!

IAGO

Nay, this was but his dream.

IAGO

But this was only his dream.

OTHELLO

But this denoted a foregone conclusion.

OTHELLO

But his actions suggests something he had already done.

IAGO

'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream. And this may help to thicken other proofsThat do demonstrate thinly.

IAGO

It's very suspicious, even though it's only a dream. And this may support and strengthen other, shakier evidence.

OTHELLO

I’ll tear her all to pieces!

OTHELLO

I'll tear Desdemona to pieces!

IAGO

Nay, yet be wise, yet we see nothing done, She may be honest yet. Tell me but this, Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief Spotted with strawberries in your wife’s hand?

IAGO

No, be smart. We still haven't seen anything actually happen. She may still turn out to be honest. Just tell me this: have you occasionally seen a handkerchief decorated with strawberries in your wife's hand? 

OTHELLO

I gave her such a one, ’twas my first gift.

OTHELLO

I gave her such a handkerchief. It was my first gift to her.

IAGO

I know not that, but such a handkerchief—I am sure it was your wife’s—did I todaySee Cassio wipe his beard with.

IAGO

I didn't know that, but I saw Cassio use such a handkerchief—I'm sure it was your wife's—to wipe his beard earlier today.

OTHELLO

If it be that—

OTHELLO

If it really was that handkerchief—

IAGO

If it be that, or any that was hers,It speaks against her with the other proofs.

IAGO

If it's the same one, or any handkerchief of Desdemona's, it is another piece of evidence weighing against her.

OTHELLO

Oh, that the slave had forty thousand lives! One is too poor, too weak for my revenge. Now do I see ’tis true. Look here, Iago, All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven—'tis gone. Arise, black vengeance, from the hollow hell! Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne To tyrannous hate! Swell, bosom, with thy fraught, For ’tis of aspics' tongues!

OTHELLO

Oh, if only that wretch Cassio had forty thousand lives, so I could kill him all those times! Once isn't enough for my revenge. Now I see that my suspicions are true. Look, Iago, I let go of all my fond love; it's all gone. Black vengeance, come to me from the depths of hell! Oh love, give way to cruel hate! May my chest swell up with hate, as deadly as the venom of poisonous snakes!

IAGO

Yet be content.

IAGO

Calm down, now.

OTHELLO

Oh, blood, blood, blood!

OTHELLO

Oh, blood, blood, blood! 

IAGO

Patience, I say. Your mind may change.

IAGO

Be patient, I'm telling you. You might change your mind.

OTHELLO

Never, Iago. Like to the Pontic sea, Whose icy current and compulsive course Ne'er keeps retiring ebb but keeps due on To the Propontic and the Hellespont, Even so my bloody thoughts with violent pace Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love Till that a capable and wide revenge Swallow them up. Now, by yon marble heaven, In the due reverence of a sacred vow I here engage my words. (he kneels)

OTHELLO

I'll never change my mind, Iago. Just like how the Black Sea never ebbs back but keeps flowing on with its icy waters through the Propontic sea and onward to the Hellespont, so my bloody thoughts only move forward with a violent current and never look back. My anger is like a tide and if it ever recedes back to love it is swallowed up again by a huge wave of revenge. Now, by heaven, with all the reverence of a sacred oath, I here make a vow. [He kneels down]

IAGO

Do not rise yet. Witness, you ever-burning lights above, You elements that clip us round about, Witness that here Iago doth give up The execution of his wit, hands, heart, To wronged Othello’s service. Let him command, And to obey shall be in me remorse, What bloody business ever.

IAGO

Don't get up yet. [He kneels down as well] May the stars in the sky, and the sky itself be my witnesses: Iago hereby dedicates all of his wit, strength, and heart to helping Othello, who has been wronged. Whatever he commands, I will obey, whatever bloody task he gives me.

OTHELLO

I greet thy love Not with vain thanks but with acceptance bounteous, And will upon the instant put thee to ’t. Within these three days let me hear thee say That Cassio’s not alive.

OTHELLO

Rather than just giving you empty thanks for your vow, I will take up your generous offer and give you an order right now. Within three days, let me hear you say that Cassio is dead.

IAGO

My friend is dead,'Tis done at your request. But let her live.

IAGO

Your wish is my command. My friend Cassio will die. But let Desdemona live.

OTHELLO

Damn her, lewd minx! Oh, damn her, damn her! Come, go with me apart. I will withdraw To furnish me with some swift means of death For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.

OTHELLO

Damn her, that lusty flirt! Oh damn her, damn her! Come on, come leave with me. I will go to figure out some quick way to kill the beautiful devil. Now you are my lieutenant.

IAGO

I am your own for ever.

IAGO

I am loyal to you forever.

Exeunt

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.