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Othello

Othello Translation Act 4, Scene 3

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Enter OTHELLO, LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, EMILIA and attendants

LODOVICO

I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.

LODOVICO

Sir, I beg you: don't trouble yourself any further.

OTHELLO

Oh, pardon me, ’twill do me good to walk.

OTHELLO

I beg your pardon, but it will be good for me to walk.

LODOVICO

Madam, good night. I humbly thank your ladyship.

LODOVICO

Good night, madam. I humbly thank you, my lady.

DESDEMONA

Your honor is most welcome.

DESDEMONA

You are most welcome, your Honor.

OTHELLO

Will you walk, sir?—O Desdemona—

OTHELLO

Will you walk with me, sir? And oh, Desdemona—

DESDEMONA

My lord?

DESDEMONA

Yes, my lord?

OTHELLO

Get you to bed on th' instant, I will be returnedForthwith. Dismiss your attendant there, look ’t be done.

OTHELLO

Go to bed right away. I will come back soon. Dismiss your servant there in the bedroom. Make sure you do this.

DESDEMONA

I will, my lord.

DESDEMONA

I will, my lord.

Exeunt OTHELLO, LODOVICO, and attendants

EMILIA

How goes it now? He looks gentler than he did.

EMILIA

How is it going now? Othello looks gentler than before.

DESDEMONA

He says he will return incontinent,And hath commanded me to go to bedAnd bid me to dismiss you.

DESDEMONA

He said he's coming back immediately and commanded me to go to bed and dismiss you for the night.

EMILIA

Dismiss me?

EMILIA

Dismiss me?

DESDEMONA

It was his bidding. Therefore, good Emilia, Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu. We must not now displease him.

DESDEMONA

That's what he ordered. Therefore, good Emilia, give me my night gown and then goodbye. We must not displease Othello now.

EMILIA

Ay. Would you had never seen him!

EMILIA

Okay. I wish you had never seen him!

DESDEMONA

So would not I. My love doth so approve him That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns— Prithee, unpin me—have grace and favor.

DESDEMONA

I don't wish that. My love for him is so strong that I don't mind—please help unpin this for me—even his stubbornness, his reprimands, his frowns.

EMILIA

I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.

EMILIA

I have made your bed with the sheets from your wedding night, as you asked.

DESDEMONA

All’s one. Good Father, how foolish are our minds!If I do die before thee, prithee, shroud meIn one of these same sheets.

DESDEMONA

All right. Good God, how foolish our minds can be! If I die before you, please wrap me in one of these same sheets.

EMILIA

Come, come! You talk!

EMILIA

Oh come on! You're just saying that.

DESDEMONA

My mother had a maid called Barbary, She was in love, and he she loved proved mad And did forsake her. She had a song of “Willow,” An old thing ’twas, but it expressed her fortune And she died singing it. That song tonight Will not go from my mind. I have much to do But to go hang my head all at one side And sing it like poor Barbary. Prithee, dispatch.

DESDEMONA

My mother had a maid named Barbary. She was in love, and the man she loved turned out to be crazy and abandoned her. She had a song called "Willow," an old song that expressed what she had experienced, and she died singing it. I can't stop thinking of that song tonight. I almost can't help but droop my head and sing it just like poor Barbary. Please, hurry.

EMILIA

Shall I go fetch your nightgown?

EMILIA

Should I go and get your nightgown?

DESDEMONA

No, unpin me here.This Lodovico is a proper man.

DESDEMONA

No, just unpin this for me here. That Lodovico is a good man.

EMILIA

A very handsome man.

EMILIA

A very handsome man.

DESDEMONA

He speaks well.

DESDEMONA

He's well-spoken.

EMILIA

I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.

EMILIA

I know a lady in Venice who would have walked barefoot to Palestine just to touch his lower lip.

DESDEMONA

( singing) The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree, Sing all a green willow. Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee, Sing willow, willow, willow. The fresh streams ran by her, and murmured her moans, Sing willow, willow, willow. Her salt tears fell from her, and softened the stones Sing willow, willow, willow— Lay by these— Willow, willow— Prithee, hie thee, he’ll come anon— Sing all a green willow must be my garland. Let nobody blame him, his scorn I approve— Nay, that’s not next—Hark! Who is ’t that knocks?

DESDEMONA

[Singing]
The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
Everyone sing a green willow.
With her hand on her chest and her head on her knee,
Sing willow, willow, willow.
The fresh streams ran by her, and murmured along with her moans,
Sing willow, willow, willow.
Her salt tears fell from her, and softened the stones,
Sing willow, willow, willow

Put these things down over there, Emilia.
[Singing]
Willow, willow
Please, hurry up, he'll come any minute now.
[Singing]
Everyone sing a green willow must be my garland.
Let nobody blame him, I approve of his scorn

No, that's not the next line. Listen! Who is that knocking at the door?

EMILIA

It’s the wind.

EMILIA

It's just the wind

DESDEMONA

(sings) I called my love false love but what said he then? Sing willow, willow, willow. If I court more women you’ll couch with more men— So, get thee gone, good night. Mine eyes do itch, Doth that bode weeping?

DESDEMONA

[Singing]
I called my love false love, but what did he say then?
Sing willow, willow, willow.
If I court more women, you'll sleep with more men—

Okay, you can go now, good night. My eyes itch. Does that mean I'm going to cry?

EMILIA

'Tis neither here nor there.

EMILIA

It might, or it might not.

DESDEMONA

I have heard it said so. Oh, these men, these men! Dost thou in conscience think—tell me, Emilia— That there be women do abuse their husbands In such gross kind?

DESDEMONA

I've heard that it means that. Oh these men, these men! Tell me, Emilia: do you think that there are women who deceive and cheat on their husbands as badly as men do to women?

EMILIA

There be some such, no question.

EMILIA

No question, there are some.

DESDEMONA

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

DESDEMONA

Would you ever cheat on your husband, for all the world?

EMILIA

Why, would not you?

EMILIA

Well, wouldn't you?

DESDEMONA

No, by this heavenly light!

DESDEMONA

No, by the light of heaven!

EMILIA

Nor I neither, by this heavenly light.I might do ’t as well i' th' dark.

EMILIA

Well I wouldn't do it by light either. I might do it in the dark, though.

DESDEMONA

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

DESDEMONA

Would you really do such a thing for all the world?

EMILIA

The world’s a huge thing. It is a great price for a small vice.

EMILIA

All the world is a huge thing. It would be a great reward for a little misdeed.

DESDEMONA

In troth, I think thou wouldst not.

DESDEMONA

In truth, I think you wouldn't do it.

EMILIA

In troth, I think I should, and undo ’t when I had done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty exhibition. But for the whole world? Why, who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for ’t.

EMILIA

In truth, I think I should do it, and then undo it after. Really, I wouldn't do such a thing for a ring, or for fine linen, or for gowns and petticoats, or for caps, or for any little gift. But for the whole world? Why, who would not cheat on her husband in order to make him king of the world? I'd risk being punished in purgatory for it.

DESDEMONA

Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrongFor the whole world.

DESDEMONA

The devil may take me if I should ever do such a wrong for the whole world.

EMILIA

Why the wrong is but a wrong i' th' world, and having the world for your labor, ’tis a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right.

EMILIA

But the wrong is just a wrong in the world, so if the world is yours, then it is a wrong in your own world. And then you could quickly make it right.

DESDEMONA

I do not think there is any such woman.

DESDEMONA

I don't think there is any such woman who would do it.

EMILIA

Yes, a dozen, and as many to th' vantage as would storethe world they played for. But I do think it is their husbands' faults If wives do fall. Say that they slack their duties And pour our treasures into foreign laps, Or else break out in peevish jealousies, Throwing restraint upon us. Or say they strike us, Or scant our former having in despite. Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace, Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know Their wives have sense like them. They see and smell And have their palates both for sweet and sour, As husbands have. What is it that they do When they change us for others? Is it sport? I think it is. And doth affection breed it? I think it doth. Is ’t frailty that thus errs? It is so too. And have not we affections, Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have? Then let them use us well, else let them know, The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

EMILIA

Yes—there are a dozen, and in fact as many as would populate the whole world that they wagered for. But I think that if wives are unfaithful, it is their husbands' fault. Let's say they stop sleeping with us and give themselves to other women instead, or break out in fits of jealousy and impose restraints on us. Or let's say they hit us, or spitefully cut back on our allowance. Why, we feel resentment, and although we have some grace, we can still have some revenge, too. Let husbands know that their wives have good sense just like them. They see and smell and can taste both sweet and sour, just like their husbands can. What are they doing when they switch us out for other women? Is it for fun? I think so. And does physical attraction lead to it? I think so. Is it a weakness to do this wrong? I think so, too. And don't we have physical attractions, desire for fun, and weakness, just like men? They should treat us well, or else they should know that whatever bad things we do, we are only following their example.

DESDEMONA

Good night, good night. Heaven me such uses send,Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!

DESDEMONA

Good night, good night. May heaven send me the ability not to behave badly by following bad examples, but to behave well by avoiding bad examples.

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.