ACT TWO   Scene Three

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[A hall in the castle Enter OTHELLO,DESDEMONA,CASSIO,and Attendants.]


Good Michael,look you to the guardto-night:

Let’s teach ourselves that honourable stop,

Not to outsport discretion.


Iago hath direction what to do;

But,notwithstanding,with my personal eye

Will I look to’t.


Iago is most honest.

Michael,good night:to-morrow with your earliest

Let me have speech with you


Come,my dear love,

The purchasemade,the fruits are to ensue;

That profit’s yet to come’tween me and you.

Good night.

[Exeunt OTHELLO,DESDEMONA, and Attendants.Enter IAGO]


Welcome,Iago;we must to the watch .


Not this hour,lieutenant;’tis not yet ten o’the

clock.Our general castus thus early for the love

of his Desdemona;who let us not therefore blame:

he hath not yet made wantonthe night with her;and

she is sport for Jove.


She’s a most exquisitelady.


And,I’ll warranther,fun of game.


Indeed, she’s a most fresh and delicate creature


What an eye she has!methinksit sounds a parleyof



An invitingeye;and yet methinks right modest.


And when she speaks,is it not an alarumto love?


She is indeed perfection.


Well, happiness to their sheets! Come,lieutenant,I

have a stoup of wine;and here without are a braceof

Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to

the health of black Othello


Not to-night, good Iago:I have very poor and

unhappy brains for drinking:I could well wish

courtesy would invent some other custom of



O, they are our friends;but one cup:I’ll drink for you.


I have drunk but one cup to-night,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.


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


Where are they?


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


I’ll do’t; but it dislikes me



If I can fastenbut one cup upon him,

With that which he hath drunk to-night already,

He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence

As my young mistress’dog.Now,my sick fool Roderigo,

Whom love hath turn’d almost the wrong side out,

To Desdemona hath to-night caroused

Potations pottle-deep;and he’s to watch:

Three ladsof Cyprus,noble swellingspirits,

That hold their honours in a wary distance,

The very elements of this warlike isle,

Have I to-night fluster’dwith flowing cups,

And they watch too.Now,’mongst this flock of


Am I to put our Cassio in some action

That may offend the isle.——But here they come:

If consequencedo but approve my dream,

My boat sails freely,both with wind and stream.

[Re-enter CASSIO;with him MONTANO and Gentlemen;

servants following with wine]


‘Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.


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


Some wine,ho!


And let me the canakinclink,clink;

And let me the canakin clink

A soldier’s a man;

A life’s but a span;

Why,then,let a soldier drink.

Some wine,boys!


‘Fore God,an excellent song.


I learned it in England,where,indeed,they are

most potentin potting:your Dane,your German,and

your swag-belliedHollander——Drink,ho!——are nothing

to your English.


Is your Englishman so expertin his drinking?


Why,he drinks you,with facility,your Danedead

drunk;he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he

gives your Hollander a vomit,ere the next pottle

can be filled.


To the health of our general!


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


O sweet England!

King Stephen was a worthy peer,

His breechescost him but a crown;

He held them sixpence all too dear,

With that he call’d the tailor lown.

He was a wightof high renown,

And thou art but of low degree:

‘Tis pride that pulls the country down;

Then take thineauld cloak about thee.

Some wine,ho!


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


Will you hear’ again?


No;for I hold him to be unworthyof his place that

does those things.Well,God’s above all;and there

be souls must be saved,and there be souls must not be saved.


It’s true,good lieutenant.


For mine own part,——no offence to the general,nor

any man of quality,——I hope to be saved.


And so do I too,lieutenant.


Ay, but, by your leave,not before me;the

lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient.Le’s

have no more of this; 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

speak well enough.

All Excellent well.


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



To the platform,masters; come,let’s set the watch.


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 the other:’tis pity of him.

I fear the trust Othello puts him in.

On some odd time of his infirmity,

Will shake this island.


But is he often thus?


‘Tis evermorethe prologueto his sleep:

He’ll watch the horologea double set,

If drink rock not his cradle.


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?


IAGO [Aside to him.]

How now, Roderigo!

I pray you,after the lieutenant; go.



And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor

Should hazard such a place as his own second

With one of an ingraftinfimity:

It were an honest action to say

So to the Moor.


Not I,for this fair island:

I do love Cassio well;and would do much

To cure him of this evil——But,hark!what noise?

[Cry within:’Help! help!’Re-enter CASSIO, driving in



You rogue!you rascal!


What’s the matter,lieutenant?


A knave teach me my duty!

I’ll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.


Beat me!


Dost thou prate,rogue?

[Striking RODERIGO]


Nay,good lieutenant;


I pray you,sir,hold your hand.


Let me go,sir,

Or I’ll knock you o’ er the mazzard.



you ‘re drunk.



[They fight]


[Aside to RODERIGO] Away,I say; go out, and cry a mutiny.


Nay, good lieutenant,——alas, gentlemen;——


Help,masters!——Here’s a goodly watch indeed!

[Bell rings.]

Who’s that which rings the bell?——Diablo, ho!

The town will rise:God’s will, lieutenant, hold!

You will be shamed for ever.

[Re-enter OTHELLO and Attendants]


What is the matter here?


‘Zounds,I bleedstill;I am hurt to the death.



Hold,for your lives!


Hold,ho! Lieutenant,—sir—Montano,—gentlemen,—

Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?

Hold! the general speaks to you;hold,hold,for shame!


Why,how now,ho!from whenceariseth this?

Are we turn’d Turks,and to ourselves do that

Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?

For Christian shame,put by this barbarous brawl:

He that stirsnext to carve for his own rage

Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.

Silence that dreadful bell:it frightsthe isle

From her propriety.What is the matter,masters?

Honest Iago,that look’st dead with grieving,

Speak,who began this?on thy love,I chargethee.


I do not know :friends all but now,even now,

In quarter ,and in terms like brideand groom

Devestingthem for bed;and then, but now—

As if some planet had unwitted men——

Swords out,and tilting one at other’s breast,

In opposition bloody.I cannot speak

Any beginning to this peevishodds;

And would in action glorious I had lost

Those legs that brought me to a part of it!


How comes it,Michael,you are thus forgot?


I pray you,pardon me ;I cannot speak.


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 unlaceyour reputation thus

And spend your rich opinion for the name

Of a night-brawler?give me answer to it.


Worthy Othello,I am hurt to danger:

Your officer,Iago,can informyou,——

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.


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 sinkin my rebuke.Give me to know

How this foul routbegan,who set it on ;

And he that is approved in this offence,

Though he had twinn’d 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?


If partially affined,or leagued in office,

Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,

Thou art no soldier.


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.Thus it is,general.

Montano and myself being in speech,

There comes a fellow crying out for help:

And Cassio following him with determinedsword,

To execute upon him.Sir, this gentleman

Steps in to Cassio,and entreats his pause:

Myself the crying fellow did pursue,

Lest by his clamour——as it so fell out——

The town might fall in fright:he,swift of foot,

Outran my purpose; and I return’d the rather

For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,

And Cassio high in oath;which till to-night

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 petience could not pass.


I know,Iago,

Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,

Making it light to Cassio.I love thee

But never more be officer of mine.

[Re-enter DESDEMONA,attended]

Look,if my gentle love be not raised up!

I’ll make thee an example.


What’s the matter?


All’s well now,sweeting;come away to bed.

Sir,for your hurts,myself will be your surgeon:

Lead him off.

[To MONTANO,who 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 .

[Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO]


What,are you hurt,lieutenant?


Ay,past all surgery.


Marry,heaven forbid!


Reputation,reputation,reputation!O,I have lost

my reputation!I have lost the immortal part of

myself,and what remains is bestial.My reputation,

Iago, my reputation!


As I am an honest man,I thought you had received

some bodily wound;there is more sensein 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 you repute yourself such a loser.What,man!

there are ways to 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

offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion:sue

to him again,and he’s yours.


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!


What was he that you followed with your sword?What

had he done to you?


I know not.


Is’t possible?


I remember a mass of things,but nothing distinctly;

a quarrel,but nothing wherefore O God,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!


Why,but you are now well enough:how came you thus recovered?


It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place

to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me

another,to make me frankly despise myself.


Come,you are too severe a moraler:as the time,

the place, and the condition of this country

stands,I could heartily wish this had not befallen;

but,since it is as it is,mend it for your own good.


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, by and by a fool,and presently a

beast!O strange!Every inordinate cup is

unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.


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.


I have well approved it,sir Idrunk!IAGO

You or any man living may be drunk!at a time, man.

I’ll tell you what you shall do.Our general’s wife

is now the general: 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 in your 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 was before.


You advise me well.


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


I think it freely;and betimes in the morning I will

beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me:

I am desperate of my fortunes if they cheque me here.


You are in the right.Good night,lieutenant;I

must to the watch.



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

The 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’t to renounce his baptism,

All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,

His soul is so enfetter’d 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 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 fortunes

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.

[Re-enter RODERIGO]

How now,Roderigo!


I do follow here in the chase , not like a hound that

hunts,but one that fills up the cry.My money is

almost spent;I have been to- night exceedingly well

cudgelled; 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.


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,hast cashier’d Cassio:

Though other things grow fair against the sun,

Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe :

Content thyself awhile.By the mass,’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.


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.