Othello, Moor of Venice

The Complete Text on One Page

With Definitions of Difficult Words and Explanations of Difficult Passages
 

Compiled and Annotated by Michael J. Cummings

Home Page: Shakespeare Index             The Othello Study Guide


Introduction

The following version of Othello, Moor of Venice is based on the text in the authoritative 1914 Oxford Edition of Shakespeare's works, edited by W. J. Craig. The Craig text numbers the lines, including those with stage directions such as "Enter" and "Exit." The annotations (notes and definitions) by Michael J. Cummings appear in brackets in boldfaced type.

Characters

Othello: Black Moor who is the greatest army general in Venice. He is intelligent, courageous, and honorable. His marriage to beautiful Desdemona, the daughter of a prominent Venetian senator, provokes racial slurs against him. But he carries on with nobility and dignity as he commands an army bound for Cyprus on a fleet of ships. After arriving, Othello becomes the governor of Cyprus while continuing as the general of the Venetian forces. His dedication to duty is eclipsed only by his dedication to Desdemona, who follows him to Cyprus. So passionately does he love her that he cannot endure the thought of another man even looking at her. And therein lies his Achilles' heel, jealousy. Othello is the protagonist, or main character.
Iago: Military officer with the rank of ensign or—as the Venetian soldiers often refer to him—ancient. He schemes against Othello because the Moor promoted a younger man, Michael Cassio,  to the position of lieutenant, or second-in-command, even though Iago has more combat experience than Cassio. Iago is evil through and through, taking great pleasure in executing his secret campaign to bring down the great Othello and Cassio. Iago is the antagonist, or opponent of the main character.
Desdemona: Daughter of Brabantio, wife of Othello, and victim of Iago's machinations and Othello's jealousy. She is the noblest and most unselfish character in the play.
Michael Cassio: Othello's lieutenant, or second-in-command. His promotion to that rank enrages Iago, who wanted the position for himself. Cassio is a hinge on which the play turns. On the one hand, it is his promotion that arouses Iago's jealousy and causes him to seek revenge against both Othello and Cassio. On the other, it is his alleged (but nonexistent) love affair with Desdemona that arouses Othello's jealousy.
Duke of Venice: Ruler who finds in favor of Othello when Desdemona's father attacks Othello's character, saying the black Moor is unworthy of his daughter.
Brabantio: Venetian senator and father of Desdemona. He is a bigot whose racism Iago exposes when the latter inflames him with a prejudicial rant against Othello. Brabantio falsely accuses Othello of using charms and magic to win his daughter. Brabantio dies in Venice while Othello and Desdemona are in Cyprus.
First Senator, Second Senator
Gratiano: Brabantio's brother.
Lodovico: Brabantio's kinsman, who carries a message from the duke to Othello while the latter is in Cyprus. The message orders Othello to return to Venice.
Roderigo: Venetian gentleman and former suitor of Desdemona. Pledging to help him win Desdemona, Iago tricks Roderigo into giving him his money and ensnares him in a plot that results in Roderigo's death.
Montano: Othello's predecessor as the governor of Cyprus.
Clown: Servant to Othello.
Emilia: Wife of Iago. She is blind to his evil until she discovers that it was he who plotted against Othello and Desdemona.
Bianca: A prostitute who has fallen in love with Cassio during his visits. He tells her he will marry her even though he has no intention of doing so.
Minor Characters: Sailor, messenger, herald, officers, gentlemen, musicians, attendants.



Act 1, Scene 1: Venice. A street.
Act 1, Scene 2: Venice. Another street.
Act 1, Scene 3. A council chamber. The Duke and Senators sitting at a table. Officers attending.

Act 2, Scene 1: A seaport town in Cyprus. An open place near the quay.
Act 2, Scene 2: A street in the town.
Act 2, Scene 3: A hall in the castle where Othello and other Venetians lodge.

Act 3, Scene 1: Cyprus. Before the castle.
Act 3, Scene 2: A room in the castle.
Act 3, Scene 3: Before the castle.
Act 3, Scene 4: Before the castle.

Act 4, Scene 1: Cyprus. Before the castle.
Act 4, Scene 2: A room in the castle.
Act 4, Scene 3: Another room in the castle.

Act 5, Scene 1: Cyprus. A street.
Act 5, Scene 2: A bedchamber in the castle. Desdemona in bed asleep. A light burning.


Act 1, Scene 1

Venice. A street.
Enter RODERIGO and IAGO.

RODERIGO:  Tush! Never tell me; I take it much unkindly   
That thou, Iago, who hast had [used; dipped into] my purse   
As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.            5
IAGO:   ’Sblood [by the blood of the crucified Christ], but you will not hear me:   
If ever I did dream of such a matter,   
Abhor me.   
RODERIGO:  Thou told’st me thou didst hold him [Othello] in thy hate.   
IAGO:   Despise me if I do not. Three great ones of the city,            10
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant [second in command],   
Off-capp’d to him [approached him respectfully and took off their hats to him]; and, by the faith of man,   
I know my price, I am worth no worse a place;   
But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,   
Evades them, with a bombast circumstance            15
Horribly stuff’d with epithets of war;   
[a bombast . . . war: A torrent of fancy phrases that included military words]
And, in conclusion,   
Nonsuits [rejects; ignores] my mediators; for, ‘Certes,’ ["certainly,"] says he,   
‘I have already chose my officer.’   
And what was he?            20
Forsooth [truly], a great arithmetician [student of military tactics and battlefield statistics],   
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine [resident of Florence, Italy],   
A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife;
[almost . . . wife: Almost ready to marry a fair woman] 
That never set a squadron in the field,   
Nor the division of a battle knows            25
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,   
Wherein the toged consuls can propose   
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice,
[That never . . . practice: He never led soldiers onto the field of battle and does not know how to array troops any more than a spinster does. His only knowledge of battle comes from book learning (bookish theoric).  Politcal advisers wearing togas can do as much. (The reference to men wearing togas is an allusion to some ancient Roman senators who gave advice about waging war but did not themselves go to war.)  Cassio is all talk but no action (mere prattle, without practice)]. 
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election [was promoted];   
And I—of whom his eyes had seen the proof            30
At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds   
Christian and heathen—must be be-lee’d and calm’d 
[be-lee'd: Placed on the side of a ship, mountain, wall, etc. where the wind is not blowing. Here, Iago is saying that he was placed away from the current of progress.]
By debitor and creditor; this counter-caster [mere novice inexperienced at war],   
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,   
And I—God bless the mark!—his Moorship’s ancient [Othello's third-in-command].            35
RODERIGO:  By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.   
IAGO:   Why, there’s no remedy: ’tis the curse of the service,   
Preferment goes by letter and affection,   
Not by the old gradation [years of service; seniority; experience], where each second   
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself,            40
Whe’r [whether] I in any just term am affin’d [bound; inclined] 
To love the Moor.   
RODERIGO: I would not follow him then.   
IAGO:   O! sir, content you;   
I follow him to serve my turn [revenge] upon him;            45
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters   
Cannot be truly follow’d. You shall mark   
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,   
[knee-crooking knave: One who kneels before another to gain some advantage]
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,   
Wears out his time, much like his master’s ass,            50
For nought but provender, and when he’s old, cashier’d;   
[For nought . . . cashier'd: For nothing but food or other necessities. And when he's discharged from service]
Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are   
Who, trimm’d in forms and visages of duty,   
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,   
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,            55
[throwing . . . lords: Pretending to serve their lords]
Do well thrive by them, and when they have lin’d their coats   
Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;   
And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir,   
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,   
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:            60
In following him, I follow but myself;   
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,   
But seeming so, for my peculiar [personal; self-seeking] end:   
For when my outward action doth demonstrate   
The native act and figure of my heart            65
In compliment extern [in an outward display], ’tis not long after   
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve   
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am. 
[I am . . . am: I am not the innocent, easygoing person that people think I am.]
RODERIGO:  What a full fortune [good luck] does the thick-lips [racial slur referring to Othello] owe,   
If he can carry ’t thus!  [if he can get away with his plans!]          70
IAGO:   Call up her father;   
Rouse him, make after him, poison his delight,   
Proclaim him in the streets, incense her kinsmen,   
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,   
Plague him with flies; though that his joy be joy,            75
Yet throw such changes of vexation on ’t   
As it may lose some colour [may fade; may tarnish].   
RODERIGO:  Here is her father’s house; I’ll call aloud.   
IAGO:   Do; with like timorous [timid] accent and dire [desperate; urgent] yell   
As when, by night and negligence, the fire            80
Is spied in populous cities.   
RODERIGO:  What, ho! Brabantio! Signior [Mister] Brabantio, ho!   
IAGO:   Awake! what, ho! Brabantio! thieves! thieves! thieves!   
Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags [moneybags]!   
Thieves! thieves!            85
 
Enter BRABANTIO, above, at a window.
   
BRABANTIO:  What is the reason of this terrible summons?   
What is the matter there?   
RODERIGO:  Signior, is all your family within?   
IAGO:   Are your doors lock’d?            90
BRABANTIO:  Why? wherefore [for what purpose; why] ask you this?   
IAGO:   ’Zounds! [By the wounds of the crucified Christ!]  sir, you’re robb’d; forshame, put on your gown;   
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;   
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram [Othello] 
Is tupping [having sex with] your white ewe [Brabantio's daughter, Desdemona]. Arise, arise!            95
Awake the snorting [snoring] citizens with the bell,   
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you.   
Arise, I say.   
BRABANTIO:  What! have you lost your wits?   
RODERIGO:  Most reverend signior, do you know my voice?            100
BRABANTIO:  Not I, what are you?   
RODERIGO:  My name is Roderigo.   
BRABANTIO: The worser welcome:   
I have charg’d thee not to haunt about my doors:   
In honest plainness thou hast heard me say            105
My daughter is not for thee; and now, in madness,   
Being full of supper and distempering draughts [drafts of liquor],   
Upon malicious knavery dost thou come   
To start [disturb; interrupt] my quiet.   
RODERIGO:  Sir, sir, sir!            110
BRABANTIO: But thou must needs be sure   
My spirit and my place have in them power   
To make this bitter to thee.   
RODERIGO:  Patience, good sir.   
BRABANTIO:  What tell’st thou me of robbing? this is Venice;            115
My house is not a grange [remote farmhouse].   
RODERIGO: Most grave Brabantio,   
In simple and pure soul I come to you.   
IAGO:   ’Zounds! sir, you are one of those that will not serve God if the devil bid you. Because we come to do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary [north African] horse; you’ll have your nephews neigh to you; you’ll have coursers [horses] for cousins and gennets [another word for jennets, female donkeys] for germans [relatives].   
BRABANTIO:  What profane wretch art thou?            120
IAGO:   I am one, sir, that comes to tell you, your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs [a man and a woman copulating].
BRABANTIO:  Thou art a villain.   
IAGO:   You are—a senator.   
BRABANTIO:  This thou shalt answer; I know thee, Roderigo.   
RODERIGO:  Sir, I will answer any thing. But, I beseech you,            125
If ’t be your pleasure and most wise consent,—   
As partly, I find, it is,—that your fair daughter,   
At this odd-even and dull-watch o’ the night, 
[odd-even . . . night: midnight] 
Transported with no worse nor better guard   
But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,            130
To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor,—   
If this be known to you, and your allowance,   
[and  . . . allowance: And has your approval]
We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs;   
But if you know not this, my manners tell me   
We have your wrong rebuke [you are wrong to rebuke us]. Do not believe,            135
That, from the sense of all civility,   
I thus would play and trifle with your reverence:   
Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,   
I say again, hath made a gross revolt;
[hath . . . revolt: Has openly rebelled against you]  
Tying her duty, beauty, wit and fortunes            140
In an extravagant and wheeling stranger
[extravagant . . . stranger: Aimless, drifting stranger]
Of here and every where. Straight satisfy yourself:   
If she be in her chamber or your house,   
Let loose on me the justice of the state   
For thus deluding you.            145
BRABANTIO: Strike on the tinder [combustible material used before the invention of matches], ho!   
Give me a taper! call up all my people!   
This accident is not unlike my dream;   
Belief of it oppresses me already.   
Light, I say! light!  [Exit, from above.            150
IAGO:   Farewell, for I must leave you:   
It seems not meet nor wholesome to my place 
To be produc’d, as, if I stay, I shall,   
Against the Moor; for, I do know the state,   
However this may gall him with some check,            155
Cannot with safety cast him; for he’s embark’d   
With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,—   
Which even now stand in act,—that, for their souls,   
[It seems . . . stand in act: It seems unwise and risky for me to remain here to be produced as an accuser of Othello; for I know that the government—even though Othello will suffer embarrassment and rebuke—will not dismiss him from service at a time when Venice is planning to do battle in Cyprus in a war which even now is about to begin.]
Another of his fathom [depth fo experience] they have none,   
To lead their business; in which regard,            160
Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains,   
Yet, for necessity of present life,   
I must show out a flag and sign of love,   
[Yet . . . . love: Yet, under the circumstances, I will pretend to support him.]
Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him,   
Lead to the Sagittary the raised search;            165
[That you . . . search: You will surely find him if you look for him at the Saggitary, a gathering place such as a tavern.]
And there will I be with him. So, farewell.  [Exit.   
 
Enter below, BRABANTIO, and Servants with torches.
   
BRABANTIO:  It is too true an evil: gone she is,   
And what’s to come of my despised time   
Is nought [nothing] but bitterness. Now, Roderigo,            170
Where didst thou see her? O, unhappy girl!   
With the Moor, sayst thou? Who would be a father!   
How didst thou know ’twas she? O, she deceives me   
Past thought. What said she to you? Get more tapers!   
Raise all my kindred! Are they married, think you?            175
RODERIGO:  Truly, I think they are.   
BRABANTIO:  O heaven! How got she out? O, treason of the blood:   
Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters’ minds   
By what you see them act. Are there not charms   
By which the property of youth and maidhood            180
May be abus’d? Have you not read, Roderigo,   
Of some such thing?
[Are there . . . thing?: Are there not magic tricks that can make young men and women do strange things? Have you not read, Roderigo, about such things?]
RODERIGO:  Yes, sir, I have indeed.   
BRABANTIO:  Call up my brother. O! that you had had her.
[O! . . . her: O! that you were her fiancé (or husband).] 
Some one way, some another! [Some of you searchers go one way, some another.] Do you know            185
Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?   
RODERIGO:  I think I can discover him, if you please   
To get good guard and go along with me.   
BRABANTIO:  Pray you, lead on. At every house I’ll call;   
I may command at most. [I may command (get) attention and support at most houses.] Get weapons, ho!            190
And raise some special officers of night.   
On, good Roderigo; I’ll deserve [reward you for] your pains.  [Exeunt.   

Act 1, Scene 2

Another Street
Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants, with torches.

IAGO:   Though in the trade of war I have slain men,   
Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ the conscience   
To do no contriv’d [premeditated] murder: I lack iniquity            5
Sometimes to do me service. Nine or ten times
[I lack . . . service: I sometimes lack the brutality required to complete an unsavory task.] 
I had thought to have yerk’d [stabbed] him [Roderigo] here under the ribs.   
OTHELLO:  ’Tis better as it is.   
IAGO:   Nay, but he prated,   
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms            10
Against your honour   
That, with the little godliness I have,   
I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray, sir,   
Are you fast married? Be assur’d of this,   
That the magnifico [respected citizen—in this case, Brabantio] is much belov’d,            15
And hath in his effect a voice potential   
As double as [twice as influential as] the duke’s; he will divorce you [divorce you from his daughter],   
Or put upon you what restraint and grievance   
The law—with all his might to enforce it on—   
Will give him cable [rope; leeway; allowance].            20
OTHELLO:  Let him do his spite:   
My services which I have done the signiory [the nation; the state of Venice] 
Shall out-tongue [outargue; overcome] his complaints. ’Tis yet to know,   
Which when I know that boasting is an honour   
I shall promulgate, I fetch my life and being            25
From men of royal siege, and my demerits   
May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune   
As this that I have reach’d; for know, Iago,   
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,   
I would not my unhoused free condition            30
Put into circumscription and confine   
For the sea’s worth. But, look! what lights come yond?  
['Tis yet . . . yond: No one knows what I am about to tell you. I will continue to withhold this information from the public until it becomes honorable to boast. Here is what I have to say. I come from royal blood. I may speak unabashedly that my character and standing make me worthy of Brabantio's daughter, gentle Desdemona. I would not for all the world risk the wrath of those who look down on me if I did not love her.]
IAGO:   Those are the raised [wakened] father and his friends:   
You were best go in.   
OTHELLO: Not I; I must be found:            35
My parts, my title, and my perfect soul   
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?   
IAGO:   By Janus, I think no.
[Janus: In Roman mythology, the god of gates, doorways, bridges, and other passageways and of beginnings.]
 
Enter CASSIO and certain Officers, with torches.
   
OTHELLO:  The servants of the duke, and my lieutenant.            40
The goodness of the night upon you, friends!   
What is the news?   
CASSIO:  The duke does greet you, general,   
And he requires your haste-post-haste [immediate] appearance,   
Even on the instant.            45
OTHELLO:  What is the matter, think you?   
CASSIO:  Something from Cyprus, as I may divine.   
It is a business of some heat [concern]; the galleys [warships propelled by oars and sails] 
Have sent a dozen sequent [following one after the other] messengers   
This very night at one another’s heels,            50
And many of the consuls, rais’d [awakened] and met,   
Are at the duke’s already. You have been hotly call’d for;   
When, being not at your lodging to be found,   
The senate hath sent about three several quests   
To search you out.            55
OTHELLO:  ’Tis well I am found by you.   
I will but spend a word here in the house,   
And go with you.  [Exit.   
CASSIO:  Ancient [ensign, a rank below that of lieutenant], what makes he here?   
IAGO:   Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land carrack;            60
If it prove lawful prize, he’s made for ever.
[land carrack: Large merchant ship laden with valuables. It appears that land carrack refers figuratively to Desdemona, Othello's beloved.]
CASSIO:  I do not understand.   
IAGO:   He’s married.   
CASSIO:  To who?   
 
Re-enter OTHELLO.             65

IAGO:   Marry, to—Come, captain, will you go?   
OTHELLO:  Have with you [Yes, I will go. Lead the way].   
CASSIO:  Here comes another troop to seek for you.   
IAGO:   It is Brabantio. General, be advis’d;   
He comes to bad intent.            70
 
Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers, with torches and weapons.
   
OTHELLO:  Holla! [A shout to gain attention; hey you!] stand there!   
RODERIGO:  Signior, it is the Moor.   
BRABANTIO:  Down with him, thief!  [They draw on both sides.   
IAGO:   You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you.            75
OTHELLO:  Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.   
Good signior, you shall more command with years   
Than with your weapons.  
[you shall . . . weapons: You shall gain more respect from your advancing years than from your weapons.]
BRABANTIO:  O thou foul thief! where hast thou stow’d my daughter?   
Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her;            80
For I’ll refer me to all things of sense,   
If she in chains of magic were not bound,   
Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy,   
So opposite to marriage that she shunn’d   
The wealthy curled darlings of our nation,            85
Would ever have, to incur a general mock,   
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom   
Of such a thing as thou; to fear, not to delight.
[For I'll . . . delight: Common sense tells me that you must have bound her in chains of magic. Otherwise, such a fair and happy young maid, who has already refused the attentions of many suitors, would never have run from those who watch over her to a black man such as you. You are a man to fear, not to take delight in.] 
Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense   
That thou hast practis’d on her with foul charms,            90
Abus’d her delicate youth with drugs or minerals   
That weaken motion: I’ll have ’t disputed on;   
[Judge . . . disputed on: Let the whole world judge me if I am wrong. But it is clear to me that you must have used foul magic and drugs or minerals to woo my daughter and break down her resistance. I'll have this case disputed in a court of law.]
’Tis probable, and palpable to thinking.   
I therefore apprehend and do attach thee   
For an abuser of the world, a practiser            95
Of arts inhibited and out of warrant.
[out of warrant: Unlawfu]   
Lay hold upon him: if he do resist,   
Subdue him at his peril.   
OTHELLO:  Hold your hands,   
Both you of my inclining, and the rest:            100
[Hold . . . rest: Keep back, all of you who would subdue me.]
Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it   
Without a prompter. Where will you that I go [Where should I go]
To answer this your charge?   
BRABANTIO:  To prison; till fit time   
Of law and course of direct session            105
[course . . . session: Trial in a public court]
Call thee to answer.   
OTHELLO:  What if I do obey?   
How may the duke be there with [therewith] satisfied,   
Whose messengers are here about my side,   
Upon some present business of the state            110
To bring me to him?   
OFFICER:  ’Tis true, most worthy signior;   
The duke’s in council, and your noble self,   
I am sure, is sent for.   
BRABANTIO:  How! the duke in council!            115
In this time of the night! Bring him away.   
Mine’s not an idle [unimportant] cause: the duke himself,   
Or any of my brothers of the state,   
Cannot but feel this wrong as ’twere their own;   
For if such actions may have passage free,            120
[may . . . free: Have free reign; are tolerated]
Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.  [Exeunt.   

Act 1, Scene 3

A Council Chamber. The DUKE and Senators sitting at a table. Officers attending.
 
DUKE:  There is no composition [consistency] in these news [messenger reports]   
That gives them credit.    
FIRST SENATOR:  Indeed, they are disproportion’d;    
My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.            5
DUKE:  And mine, a hundred and forty.    
SECOND SENATOR:  And mine, two hundred:    
But though they jump [agree] not on a just account [estimate of the number of galleys],—    
As in these cases, where the aim [intelligence] reports,    
’Tis oft with difference,—yet do they all confirm            10
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to [heading toward] Cyprus.    
DUKE:  Nay, it is possible enough to judgment:    
I do not so secure me in the error,    
But the main article I do approve    
In fearful sense.            15
[Nay, it . . . sense: I can make this judgment, though: the differences in the reports do not make me feel secure. Instead, they put me on guard. We may well have something to fear from the Turks.]
SAILOR:  [Within.]  What, ho! what, ho! what, ho!    
OFFICER:  A messenger from the galleys.    
 
Enter a Sailor.
    
DUKE:  Now, what’s the business?    
SAILOR:  The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes;            20
So was I bid report here to the state    
By Signior Angelo.    
DUKE:  How say you by this change?    
FIRST SENATOR: This cannot be,    
By no assay [test] of reason; ’tis a pageant [ploy; stratagem]            25
To keep us in false gaze [to trick us]. When we consider    
The importancy [importance] of Cyprus to the Turk,    
And let ourselves again but understand,    
That as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes,    
So may he with more facile question bear it,            30
For that it stands not in such war-like brace,    
But altogether lacks the abilities    
That Rhodes is dress’d in: if we make thought of this,
We must not think the Turk is so unskilful    
To leave that latest which concerns him first,            35
Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,    
To wake and wage a danger profitless.   
[That as . . . profitless: The Turks are more interested in Cyprus than in Rhodes. Moreover, Cyprus is more vulnerable than Rhodes. Therefore, it makes no sense to think that the Turks are stupid enough to attack Rhodes in a profitless campaign. They mean to attack Cyprus.]
DUKE:  Nay, in all confidence, he’s not for Rhodes.    
OFFICER:  Here is more news.    
 
Enter a Messenger.             40

MESSENGER:  The Ottomites [Turks], reverend and gracious,    
Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes,    
Have there injointed them with an after fleet.
[injointed . . . fleet: Joined with another fleet.]
FIRST SENATOR:  Ay, so I thought. How many, as you guess?    
MESSENGER:  Of thirty sail; and now they do re-stem [resume]          45
Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance
[with frank appearance: With no attempt to hide their movement]  
Their purposes toward Cyprus. Signior Montano,    
Your trusty and most valiant servitor [servant],    
With his free duty recommends you thus,
And prays you to believe him.            50
[With his . . . him: Dutifully sends you his regards and prays that you believe his report]
DUKE:  ’Tis certain then, for Cyprus.    
Marcus Luccicos, is not he in town?    
FIRST SENATOR:  He’s now in Florence.    
DUKE:  Write from us to him; post-post-haste dispatch [immediately].    
FIRST SENATOR:  Here comes Brabantio and the valiant Moor.            55
 
Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, IAGO, RODERIGO, and Officers.
    
DUKE:  Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you    
Against the general enemy Ottoman [the Ottoman Empire, ruled by the Turks].    
[To BRABANTIO.]  I did not see you; welcome, gentle signior;    
We lack’d your counsel and your help to-night.            60
BRABANTIO:  So did I yours. Good your grace, pardon me;    
Neither my place nor aught [anything] I heard of business    
Hath rais’d me from my bed, nor doth the general care    
Take hold of me, for my particular grief    
Is of so flood-gate and o’erbearing nature            65
That it engluts and swallows other sorrows    
And it is still itself.    
DUKE:  Why, what’s the matter?    
BRABANTIO:  My daughter! O! my daughter.    
DUKE and SENATOR: Dead?            70
BRABANTIO:  Ay, to me;    
She is abus’d, stol’n from me, and corrupted    
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;    
For nature so preposterously to err,    
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,            75
Sans [without] witchcraft could not.   
DUKE:  Whoe’er he be that in this foul proceeding    
Hath thus beguil’d your daughter of herself
[beguil'd . . . herself: bewitched your daughter so that she is not her true self]
And you of her, the bloody book of law    
You shall yourself read in the bitter letter            80
After your own sense; yea, though our proper son    
Stood in your action.
[the bloody . . . action: You yourself shall pass sentence on him. I would allow you to take such action even if my own son were the offender.] 
BRABANTIO:  Humbly I thank your Grace.    
Here is the man, this Moor; whom now, it seems,    
Your special mandate for the state affairs,            85
Hath hither brought.    
DUKE and SENATOR:  We are very sorry for it.    
DUKE:  [To OTHELLO.]  What, in your own part, can you say to this?    
BRABANTIO:  Nothing, but this is so.    
OTHELLO:  Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,            90
My very noble and approv’d good masters,    
That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter,    
It is most true; true, I have married her:    
The very head and front of my offending    
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,            95
And little bless’d with the soft phrase of peace;
[Rude . . . peace: My speech has a rough edge and is little adept at forming soft phrases of peace.]
For since these arms of mine had seven years’ pith,    
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have us’d    
Their dearest action in the tented field; 
And little of this great world can I speak,            100
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle;    
And therefore little shall I grace my cause    
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,    
I will a round unvarnish’d tale deliver    
Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,            105
What conjuration, and what mighty magic,    
For such proceeding I am charg’d withal,    
I won his daughter.  
[since these arms. . . his daughter: From the time that I was seven years old—when my arms had the muscle (pith) of a boy of that age—till about nine months ago, I have used my arms to wage war on the the battlefield. Consequently, I cannot speak with authority about this great world unless the subject is warfare. Therefore, I probably won't help myself by speaking in defense of myself. Nevertheless, I will tell you the story of how I won Brabantio's daughter and comment on the charge that I used drugs, charms, and magic.]
BRABANTIO:  A maiden never bold;    
Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion            110
Blush’d at herself; and she, in spite of nature,    
Of years, of country, credit, every thing,    
To fall in love with what she fear’d to look on!
[and she, in spite . . . look on: It is ridiculous to think that my daughter—with her gentle nature, youth, upbringing as a Venetian, and sterling reputation—could fall in love with such a ghastly creature as Othello.]  
It is a judgment maim’d and most imperfect    
That will confess perfection [Desdemona] so could err            115
Against all rules of nature, and must be driven    
To find out practices of cunning hell,    
Why this should be. I therefore vouch [charge; declare] again    
That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood,    
Or with some dram conjur’d to this effect,            120
He wrought upon [worked upon] her.    
DUKE:  To vouch [attest to] this, is no proof,    
Without more certain and more overt test    
Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods    
Of modern seeming do prefer against him.            125
[thin . . . seeming: Weak accusations, charges, and suspicions]
FIRST SENATOR:  But, Othello, speak:    
Did you by indirect and forced courses    
Subdue and poison this young maid’s affections;    
Or came it by request and such fair question    
As soul to soul affordeth?            130
OTHELLO: I do beseech you,    
Send for the lady to the Sagittary,    
And let her speak of me before her father:    
If you do find me foul in her report,    
The trust, the office I do hold of you,            135
Not only take away, but let your sentence    
Even fall upon my life.    
DUKE:  Fetch Desdemona hither.    
OTHELLO:  Ancient [Iago], conduct them; you best know the place.  [Exeunt IAGO and Attendants.    
And, till she come, as truly as to heaven            140
I do confess the vices of my blood,    
So justly to your grave ears I’ll present    
How I did thrive in this fair lady’s love,    
And she in mine.    
DUKE:  Say it, Othello.            145
OTHELLO:  Her father lov’d me; oft invited me [to his residence];    
Still question’d me the story of my life    
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes    
That I have pass’d [experienced].    
I ran it through, even from my boyish days            150
To the very moment that he bade me tell it;    
Wherein I spake [spoke] of most disastrous chances [circumstances],    
Of moving accidents [dangerous adventures] by flood and field [on the ocean and in the field]
Of hair-breadth ’scapes [escapes] i’ the imminent deadly breach [in the face of death],    
Of being taken by the insolent foe            155
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence [and of my redemption from slavery]
And portance in my travel’s history;
[And portance . . . history: And the way I comported myself in all of my ordeals] 
Wherein of antres vast and desarts idle,
[Wherein . . . idle: Including those in vast caves and desert wastelands]  
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven,    
It was my hint to speak, such was the process;            160
[It was . . . speak: On visits to her father's home, I was expected to talk about my experiences.]
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,    
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads    
Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear    
Would Desdemona seriously incline; 
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence;            165
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,    
She’d come again, and with a greedy ear    
Devour up my discourse. Which I observing, 
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means    
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart            170
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,    
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,    
But not intentively: I did consent;
[And of the Cannibals. . . did consent: I talked about cannibals called the Anthropophagi (An thro POF uh gye) and about men whose heads grow beneath their shoulders. Desdemona listened intently to my stories. Whenever a household task required her attention, she would see to it and then return with all due haste to listen to my tales. Once, when she returned after being away for an hour, she begged me to fill her in on the parts of my narrative that she missed. I did consent.]   
And often did beguile her of her tears,    
When I did speak of some distressful stroke            175
That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,    
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:    
She swore, in faith, ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange;    
’Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful:    
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d            180
That heaven had made her such a man [a man like me]; she thank’d me,   
And bade me, if I had a friend that lov’d her,    
I should but teach him how to tell my story,    
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d,            185
And I lov’d her that she did pity [feel so deeply about] them.    
This only is the witchcraft I have us’d:    
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.    
 
Enter DESDEMONA, IAGO, and Attendants.
    
DUKE:  I think this tale would win my daughter too.            190
Good Brabantio,    
Take up this mangled matter at the best; 
Men do their broken weapons rather use    
Than their bare hands.   
[Take up . . .hands: Consider this matter in a better light. Try to make the best of what has come to pass.]  
BRABANTIO: I pray you, hear her speak:            195
If she confess that she was half the wooer,    
Destruction on my head, if my bad blame    
Light on the man! Come hither, gentle mistress:    
Do you perceive in all this noble company    
Where most you owe obedience?            200
DESDEMONA:  My noble father,    
I do perceive here a divided duty:    
To you I am bound for life and education;    
My life and education both do learn me    
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty,            205
I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband;    
And so much duty as my mother show’d    
To you, preferring you before her father,    
So much I challenge that I may profess    
Due to the Moor my lord.            210
BRABANTIO:  God be with you! I have done.    
Please it your Grace, on to the state affairs:    
I had rather to adopt a child than get it.    
Come hither, Moor:    
I here do give thee that with all my heart            215
Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart    
I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel,  
[I here . . . from thee: I here give you my daughter, whom you already have, but do so reluctantly.]
I am glad at soul I have no other child;    
For thy escape would teach me tyranny,    
To hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.            220
[I am . . . on them: I am glad you are my only daughter. If I had other daughters, your escape from me would teach me to become a tyrant with them—even to the point of attaching heavy blocks to their legs to hinder their movements.]
DUKE:  Let me speak like yourself and lay a sentence,    
Which as a grize [step on a flight of stairs; a degree of progress] or step, may help these lovers    
Into your favour.    
When remedies are past, the griefs are ended    
By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.            225
[When . . . depended: When our worst fear happens, the time for trying to prevent the fear-causing event ends. So should our anxiety over the event.]
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone    
Is the next way to draw new mischief on.    
What cannot be preserv’d when Fortune takes,    
Patience her injury a mockery makes.  
The robb’d that smiles steals something from the thief;            230
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief. 
[What cannot . . . grief: When bad luck robs you of something, you can turn the tables on the robber by regarding the robbery as a minor event that does not disturb your good humor. A victim of robbery who smiles steals something from the perpetrator. But a victim who mourns his loss robs himself.]
BRABANTIO:  So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile;    
We lose it not so long as we can smile.   
[So let . . . smile: So if the Turks rob us of Cyprus, all we have to do is smile and we'll come out winners.]
He bears the sentence well that nothing bears    
But the free comfort which from thence he hears;            235
[He bears . . . hears: It is easy to advise someone about pain when you have no pain.]
But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow    
That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow.  
[But . . . borrow: But he who has suffered genuine pain must borrow strength from patience to continue on.]
These sentences, to sugar, or to gall,    
Being strong on both sides, are equivocal:    
But words are words; I never yet did hear            240
That the bruis’d heart was pierced through the ear.   
[These sentences . . . ear: Your words can either soothe or upset the listener, for they are equivocal (open to interpretation; ambiguous). But words are just words. I never yet did hear that words could mend a broken heart.]
I humbly beseech you, proceed to the affairs of state.    
DUKE:  The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best known to you; and though we have there a substitute [another commander] of most allowed [acknowledged] sufficiency, yet opinion [public opinion], a sovereign mistress of effects [a powerful force that influences government decisions], throws a more safer voice on you: you must therefore be content to slubber [stain; tarnish; dull the luster of] the gloss of your new fortunes with this more stubborn and boisterous expedition.    
OTHELLO:  The tyrant custom, most grave senators,    
Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war            245
My thrice-driven bed of down: I do agnize   
A natural and prompt alacrity    
I find in hardness, and do undertake    
These present wars against the Ottomites.
[The tyrant . . . Ottomites: War is a custom, a habit, for me. I am so used to war that its perilous battlefield has become for me a soft bed. I do confess (agnize) that I have a natural tendency to regard hardship (hardness) as a challenge, and therefore am ready to undertake war against the Ottoman Turks.]
Most humbly therefore bending to your state,            250
I crave fit disposition for my wife,    
Due reference of place and exhibition,    
With such accommodation and besort    
As levels with her breeding.   
[Most humbly . . . breeding: But I humbly request that you make accommodations for my wife and provide her with attendants (besort) that are worthy of her breeding.]
DUKE:  If you please,            255
Be ’t at her father’s.  
[Be 't (Be it) . . . father's:  Let her place of accommodation be at her father's house.]
BRABANTIO:  I’ll not have it so.    
OTHELLO:  Nor I.    
DESDEMONA:  Nor I; I would not there reside,    
To put my father in impatient thoughts            260
By being in his eye. Most gracious duke,    
To my unfolding [plan; suggestion] lend your gracious ear;    
And let me find a charter [an authorization or approval; sympathetic tone] in your voice    
To assist my simpleness.    
DUKE:  What would you, Desdemona?            265
DESDEMONA:  That I did love the Moor to live with him,    
My downright violence and storm of fortunes    
May trumpet to the world; my heart’s subdu’d   
[That I . . . . world: That I love Othello and am fortunate to be his wife is how I feel. I am pleased to announce my love for him to all the world.]
Even to the very quality [profession; career] of my lord;    
I saw Othello’s visage in his mind,            270
And to his honours and his valiant parts    
Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.    
So that, dear lords, if I be left behind,    
A moth of peace [a creature that flits about uselessly], and he go to the war,    
The rites for which I love him are bereft me,            275
[The rites . . . me: The pleasure and honor of being his loving life will be taken away from me.]
And I a heavy interim [interval; waiting period] shall support [endure]   
By his dear absence. Let me go with him.    
OTHELLO:  Let her have your voices [approval].    
Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not    
To please the palate of my appetite,            280
Nor to comply with heat,—the young affects    
In me defunct,—and proper satisfaction,    
But to be free and bounteous to her mind;
[I therefore . . . mind: I do not want her to go with me simply to satisfy my sexual appetite. The heat of youthful passion does not preoccupy me, for I am no longer young. But I do crave her presence so that I may commune with her spirit.]
And heaven defend your good souls that you think    
I will your serious and great business scant [ignore]           285
For [because] she is with me. No, when light-wing’d toys [trivial entertainments]    
Of feather’d Cupid [of winged Cupid, the god of love] seel [close; curtail; suspend] with wanton dulness    
My speculative and offic’d instruments [my ability to perceive and carry out my duties],    
That my disports [amusements] corrupt and taint my business,   
Let housewives make a skillet of my helm [helmet],            290
And all indign [unworthy] and base adversities    
Make head against my estimation!  [Make a mockery of my reputation!]
DUKE:  Be it as you shall privately determine,    
Either for her stay or going. The affair cries haste,    
And speed must answer it.            295
[The affair . . . it: But make your decision without delay.]
FIRST SENATOR:  You must away to-night.    
OTHELLO:  With all my heart.    
DUKE:  At nine i’ the morning here we’ll meet again.    
Othello, leave some officer behind,    
And he shall our commission [official document appointing Othello to lead the Venetian troops] bring to you;            300
With such things else of quality and respect    
As doth import you.
[such things . . . you: Whatever else is important to your mission]
OTHELLO:  So please your Grace, my ancient;    
A man he is of honesty and trust:    
To his conveyance I assign my wife,            305
With what else needful your good grace shall think    
To be sent after me.   
[So please . . . after me: With your approval, I will appoint trustworthy Iago to convey my wife to Cyprus, along with anything else you wish to send to me.]
DUKE:  Let it be so.    
Good night to every one.  [To BRABANTIO.]  And, noble signior,    
If virtue no delighted beauty lack,            310
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.
FIRST SENATOR:  Adieu [French for farewell], brave Moor! use Desdemona well.    
BRABANTIO:  Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:    
She has deceiv’d her father, and may thee.  [Exeunt DUKE, Senators, Officers, &c.    
OTHELLO:  My life upon her faith! Honest Iago,            315
My Desdemona must I leave to thee:    
I prithee [ask you; beg you], let thy wife attend on her;    
And bring them after in the best advantage.   
[in the best advantage: At your earliest opportunity; as soon as you can]
Come, Desdemona; I have but an hour    
Of love, of worldly matters and direction,            320
To spend with thee: we must obey the time.  [Exeunt OTHELLO and DESDEMONA.    
RODERIGO:  Iago!    
IAGO:   What sayst thou, noble heart?    
RODERIGO:  What will I do, think’st thou?    
IAGO:   Why, go to bed, and sleep.            325
RODERIGO:  I will incontinently drown myself [because of my hopeless love for Desdemona].
IAGO:   Well, if thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why, thou silly gentleman!    
RODERIGO:  It is silliness to live when to live is torment; and then have we a prescription to die when death is our physician.    
IAGO:   O! villanous; I have looked upon the world for four times seven years, and since I could distinguish betwixt a benefit and an injury, I never found man that knew how to love himself. Ere [before] I would say, I would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I would change my humanity with a baboon. [I would become a baboon before resorting to drowning myself for the love of some woman.]    
RODERIGO:  What should I do? I confess it is my shame to be so fond; but it is not in my virtue to amend it.            330
IAGO:   Virtue! a fig! ’tis in ourselves that we are thus, or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners; so that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many, either to have it sterile with idleness or manured with industry, why, the power and corrigible [correcting; amending; changing] authority of this lies in our wills. If the balance of our lives had not one scale of reason to poise [weigh] another of sensuality, the blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us to most preposterous conclusions; but we have reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings [sexual desires], our unbitted [uncontrolled] lusts, whereof I take this that you call love to be a sect or scion [sect or scion: Both words mean offshoot.].
['tis in ourselves . . . scion: Bosh! We control our destinies. If we plant a garden, we control whether it will become productive or lie fallow. It is in our power to decide what to plant and whether to nurture our crop to maturity. I think what you identify as love is simply an offshoot of  lust.]
RODERIGO:  It cannot be.    
IAGO:   It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will. Come, be a man. Drown thyself! drown cats and blind puppies. [Drown yourself? Why, drowning is for cats and blind puppies, not for men.] I have professed me thy friend, and I confess me knit to thy deserving [attach myself loyally to you] with cables of perdurable [incredibly hard] toughness; I could never better stead [benefit; help] thee than now. [The following passage is explained below.] Put money in thy purse; follow these wars; defeat thy favour with a usurped beard; I say, put money in thy purse. It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her love to the Moor,—put money in thy purse,—nor he his to her. It was a violent commencement in her, and thou shalt see an answerable sequestration; put but money in thy purse. These Moors are changeable in their wills;—fill thy purse with money:—the food that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida. She must change for youth: when she is sated with his body, she will find the error of her choice. She must have change, she must: therefore put money in thy purse. If thou wilt needs damn thyself, do it a more delicate way than drowning. Make all the money thou canst. If sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt an erring barbarian and a supersubtle Venetian be not too hard for my wits and all the tribe of hell, thou shalt enjoy her; therefore make money. A pox of drowning thyself! it is clean out of the way: seek thou rather to be hanged in compassing thy joy than to be drowned and go without her. 
[Put money . . . without her: What you should do is put money in your purse. You may have to sell some of your assets. Then follow Desdemona to Cyprus. Disguise yourself with a beard. The love between Desdemona and the Moor will be short-lived. Moors tend to change their minds and reverse earlier commitments. Right now, Desdemona is like a luscious food to him. Soon she will be like coloquintida (koh loh kwin TE duh), a bitter fruit that can be used as a laxative. For her part, Desdemona will eventually want a younger man. When she has experienced enough of Othello, she will discover her error in marrying him. If you're going to send yourself to hell, don't drown yourself. Instead, do it by pursuing your joy—in this case, Desdemona.]
RODERIGO:  Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on the issue?   
[Wilt . . . issue: Will you support me if I do as you say and wait to see what happens next?]
IAGO:   Thou art sure of me: go, make money. I have told thee often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I hate the Moor: my cause is hearted [full of heart; deeply rooted in my emotions]: thine hath no less reason. Let us be conjunctive [cooperative] in our revenge against him; if thou canst cuckold him [make him the victim of infidelity], thou dost thyself a pleasure, me a sport. There are many events in the womb of time which will be delivered. Traverse; go: provide thy money. We will have more of this to-morrow. Adieu [farewell].            335
RODERIGO:  Where shall we meet i’ the morning?    
IAGO:   At my lodging.    
RODERIGO:  I’ll be with thee betimes [early; soon].    
IAGO:   Go to; farewell. Do you hear, Roderigo?    
RODERIGO:  What say you?            340
IAGO:   No more of drowning, do you hear?    
RODERIGO:  I am changed. I’ll sell all my land.    
IAGO:   Go to; farewell! put money enough in your purse.  [Exit RODERIGO.    
Thus do I ever make my fool my purse;   
[Thus . . . purse: As you can see, I turn fools like Roderigo into sources of income for me.]
For I mine own gain’d knowledge should profane,            345
If I would time expend with such a snipe    
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor,
[For I . . . profit: I would be working against myself if I spent time with an idiot like Roderigo without gaining amusement and profit in the exchange.]  
And it is thought abroad that ’twixt my sheets    
He has done my office: I know not if ’t be true,    
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,            350
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well;   
The better shall my purpose work on him. 
[And it is . . . work on him: And it is thought in public that between the sheets of my own bed Othello has had sex with my wife. I don't know whether the rumor is true; but, out of suspicion, I will take the rumor as true. Because he thinks well of me, I will be be able to plot against him. ]
Cassio’s a proper man; let me see now:    
To get his place; and to plume up my will    
In double knavery; how, how? Let’s see:            355
After some time to abuse Othello’s ear    
That he is too familiar with his wife:    
He hath a person and a smooth dispose    
To be suspected; framed to make women false.  
[Cassio's . . .  women false: Cassio's a handsome fellow. I think I can use him to carry out my will against Othello. What I will do is tell Othello that Cassio is being too familiar with Desdemona. Because of Cassio's good looks and smooth-talking manner, it will be easy to cast suspicion on him as a man who can make women unfaithful to their husbands.]
The Moor is of a free and open nature,            360
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,    
And will as tenderly be led by the nose    
As asses are.    
I have ’t; it is engender’d: hell and night    
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.  [Exit.            365
[I have . . . light: So I have plan engendered from my hatred for Othello. The devil and darkness will help me make my plan reality.]

Act 2, Scene 1

A Seaport  town in Cyprus. An open place near the quay [wharf].
Enter MONTANO and two Gentlemen.

MONTANO:  What from the cape [land projecting into an ocean] can you discern at sea?   
FIRST GENTLEMAN:  Nothing at all: it is a high-wrought flood [rough sea];   
I cannot ’twixt [between] the heaven and the main [sea]            5
Descry [make out; identify] a sail.   
MONTANO:  Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land;   
A fuller blast ne’er shook our battlements;   
If it hath ruffian’d so upon the sea,   
What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,            10
Can hold the mortise? what shall we hear of this?
[Methinks . . . hear of this?: The wind is roaring on land, too. A stronger wind never before has so shaken our fortress. In such a rough wind, what ship—with its ribs of oak—can hold together when mountains of waves crash in on them? What will come of this storm?]   
SECOND GENTLEMAN:  A segregation of the Turkish fleet;   
For do but stand upon the foaming shore,   
The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;   
The wind-shak’d surge, with high and monstrous mane,            15
Seems to cast water on the burning bear   
And quench the guards of the ever-fixed pole:   
I never did like molestation view   
On the enchafed flood. 
[A segregation . . . enchafed flood: This great storm will separate or break up the ships in the Turkish fleet. If you stand on the shore, you will see the billowing waves rise to the clouds and even seem to cast water on Ursa Major, the constellation of stars in the shape of a bear, and extinguish the stars in another constellation. I never did like the view of an angry sea.] 
MONTANO:  If that the Turkish fleet            20
Be not enshelter’d and embay’d, they are drown’d;   
It is impossible they bear it out.   
[If that . . . out: If the Turkish fleet has not taken refuge in a port, it cannot survive this storm.]

Enter a third Gentleman.
   
THIRD GENTLEMAN:  News, lads! our wars are done.   
The desperate tempest hath so bang’d the Turks            25
That their designment [plan to attack Cyprus] halts; a noble ship of Venice   
Hath seen a grievous wrack [destruction] and sufferance   
On most part of their fleet.   
MONTANO:  How! is this true?   
THIRD GENTLEMAN:  The ship is here put in,            30
A Veronesa [ship from the city of Verona, Italy]; Michael Cassio,   
Lieutenant to the war-like Moor Othello,   
Is come on shore: the Moor himself’s at sea,   
And is in full commission here for Cyprus.   
MONTANO:  I am glad on ’t; ’tis a worthy governor.            35
THIRD GENTLEMAN:  But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort   
Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly   
And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted   
With foul and violent tempest.   
MONTANO:  Pray heaven he be;            40
For I have serv’d him, and the man commands   
Like a full soldier. Let’s to the sea-side, ho!   
As well to see the vessel that’s come in   
As to throw out our eyes for [look for] brave Othello,   
Even till we make the main [sea] and the aerial blue [sky]           45
An indistinct regard [a single blurred image].   
THIRD GENTLEMAN:  Come, let’s do so;   
For every minute is expectancy   
Of more arrivance [arrivals of ships].   
 
Enter CASSIO.             50
CASSIO:  Thanks, you the valiant of this war-like isle,   
That so approve the Moor. O! let the heavens   
Give him defence against the elements,   
For I have lost him on a dangerous sea.   
MONTANO:  Is he well shipp’d? [Is he in a sturdy ship?]            55
CASSIO:  His bark [ship] is stoutly timber’d, and his pilot [helmsman; steersman] 
Of very expert and approv’d allowance [proven ability];   
Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death [not yet sick enough to die],   
Stand in bold cure [Stand ready to embrace a cure].  [Within [offstage], ‘A sail!—a sail!—a sail!’   
 
Enter a Messenger.             60

CASSIO:  What noise?   
MESSENGER:  The town is empty; on the brow o’ the sea   
Stand ranks of people, and they cry, ‘A sail!’   
CASSIO:  My hopes do shape him for the governor.  [Guns heard.   
SECOND GENTLEMAN:  They do discharge their shot of courtesy;            65
Our friends at least. [At least it is a friendly ship.]  
CASSIO:  I pray you, sir, go forth,   
And give us truth who ’tis that is arriv’d.   
SECOND GENTLEMAN:  I shall.  [Exit.   
MONTANO:  But, good lieutenant, is your general wiv’d?            70
CASSIO:  Most fortunately: he hath achiev’d [married] a maid   
That paragons [surpasses] description and wild fame;   
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,   
And in th’ essential vesture of creation   
Does tire the ingener.            75
[And in . . . ingener:  And any attempt by a writer to describe her or a painter to capture her image on canvas would wear out the creative vigor of either person.]

Re-enter second Gentleman.
   
How now! who has put in?   
SECOND GENTLEMAN:  ’Tis one Iago, ancient to the general.   
CASSIO:  He has had most favourable and happy speed:   
Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,            80
The gutter’d rocks , and congregated sands,   
Traitors ensteep’d  to clog the guiltless keel,   
As having sense of beauty, do omit   
Their mortal natures, letting go safely by   
The divine Desdemona.            85
[Tempests . . . Desdemona: Storms, high seas, howling winds, rocks, and sandbars all conspire to sink ships. But they all have let divine Desdemona pass safely by on the ship that has just arrived.]
MONTANO:  What is she?   
CASSIO:  She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain [our great captain's wife],   
Left in the conduct [care] of the bold Iago,   
Whose footing [arrival] here anticipates our thoughts [beats our predictions for their arrival] 
A se’nnight’s [seven nights'] speed. Great Jove, Othello guard [Great God, guard Othello],            90
And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,   
That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,   
Make love’s quick pants [breaths] in Desdemona’s arms,   
Give renew’d fire to our extincted [sagging] spirits,   
And bring all Cyprus comfort!            95
 
Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, IAGO, RODERIGO, and Attendants.
  
O! behold,   
The riches of the ship is come on shore.   
Ye men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.   
Hail to thee, lady! and the grace of heaven,            100
Before, behind thee, and on every hand,   
Enwheel [encircle] thee round!   
DESDEMONA:  I thank you, valiant Cassio.   
What tidings can you tell me of my lord?   
CASSIO:  He is not yet arriv’d; nor know I aught [anything]           105
But that he’s well, and will be shortly here.   
DESDEMONA:  O! but I fear—How lost you company? [How did you get separated from him?]  
CASSIO:  The great contention of the sea and skies   
Parted our fellowship. But hark! a sail.  [Cry within, ‘A sail!—a sail!’  Guns heard.   
SECOND GENTLEMAN:  They give their greeting to the citadel:            110
This likewise is a friend.   
CASSIO:  See for the news!  [Exit Gentleman.   
Good ancient [Iago], you are welcome:—[To EMILIA.]  welcome, mistress.   
Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,   
That I extend my manners; ’tis my breeding            115
That gives me this bold show of courtesy.  [Kissing her.   
IAGO:  Sir, would she give you so much of her lips   
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,   
You’d have enough.
[Sir, would . . . enough: Sir, if she gave you as much of her lips as she gives me of her nagging tongue, you'd have enough of her.] 
DESDEMONA:  Alas! she has no speech.  [But she really doesn't talk much.]          120
IAGO:   In faith, too much;   
I find it still [so] when I have list [a desire] to sleep:   
Marry, before your ladyship, I grant,   
She puts her tongue a little in her heart,   
And chides with thinking.            125
[Marry . . . thinking: In fact, before you, I grant that she doesn't talk much. But she scolds me with her eyes.]
EMILIA:  You have little cause to say so.   
IAGO:  Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors,   
Bells in your parlours, wild cats in your kitchens,   
Saints in your injuries, devils being offended,   
Players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds.            130
[you are . . . your beds: You women are as pretty and soundless as pictures when you're out with others. But you are as noisy as bells in your parlours and as wild cats in your kitchens. Moreover, you act like saints when you injure someone but act like devils when you fight back against someone who has injured you. You merely play at housekeeping but act like worn-out housewives when you go to bed.]
DESDEMONA:  O! fie upon thee, slanderer.   
IAGO:  Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:   
You rise to play and go to bed to work.   
EMILIA:  You shall not write my praise.   
IAGO:   No, let me not.            135
DESDEMONA:  What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?   
IAGO:  O gentle lady, do not put me to ’t,   
For I am nothing if not critical.   
DESDEMONA:  Come on; assay [try]. There’s one gone to the harbour? [Has someone gone to the harbour?]  
IAGO:  Ay, madam.            140
DESDEMONA:  I am not merry, but I do beguile   
The thing I am by seeming otherwise.   
Come, how wouldst thou praise me?   
[I am . . . otherwise: The reason I asked whether someone is at the harbor is that I am worried about Othello. I really don't feel merry right now, but I may seem so because I am trying to put on a happy face. Now then, what would you write if you were praising me?]
IAGO:  I am about it; but indeed my invention   
Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frize;            145
It plucks out brains and all: but my muse labours,   
And thus she is deliver’d. 
[I am about . . . deliver'd: I am trying. But my thoughts come from my head in the same way that birdlime (a sticky preparation applied to tree branches to snare birds) does from frize (archaic form of frieze; a frieze is a shaggy woolen cloth). My thoughts pull out brains and all. However, my creativity continues to labor. And now this is what it has come up with.]
If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit,   
The one’s for use, the other useth it.   
[If she . . . useth it: If she be fair (double meaning that becomes clear in line 150; fair means both beautiful and white) and intelligent, she uses her beauty to get what her intelligence desires.]
DESDEMONA:  Well prais’d! How if she be black [homely] and witty?            150
IAGO:  If she be black [homely], and thereto have a wit,   
She’ll find a white [opposite of black; also, a pun on wight, meaning fellow, man, or human being] that shall her blackness fit.   
DESDEMONA:  Worse and worse.   
EMILIA:  How if fair and foolish?   
IAGO:  She never yet was foolish that was fair,            155
For even her folly help’d her to an heir. 
[For even . . . heir: For even her foolishness was an attraction to men and helped her to become an heir.]
DESDEMONA:  These are old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’ the alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for her that’s foul and foolish [that's ugly, dumb, and foolish]?   
IAGO:  There’s none so foul and foolish there-unto   
But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.
[There's . . . ones do: The ugly, dumb, and foolish women play the same tricks on men that the fair and wise women do. They're all the same.] 
DESDEMONA:  O heavy ignorance! thou praisest the worst best. [O you are ignorant because you praise the worst as the best.] But what praise couldst thou bestow on a deserving woman indeed, one that, in the authority of her merit, did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?            160
[one that . . . itself: One who is so meritorious and virtuous that even malice would vouch for her goodness.]
IAGO:  She that was ever fair and never proud,   
Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,   
Never lack’d gold and yet went never gay, 
Fled from her wish and yet said ‘Now I may,’   
[Never . . . I may: Never lacked gold but never flaunted her wealth. She controlled her desires but said "I may" when her wishes were right and proper]
She that being anger’d, her revenge being nigh,            165
Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
[She that . . . fly: When angered and desiring revenge against an offender, she withheld revenge and told her displeasure to fly away.]  
She that in wisdom never was so frail   
To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail,  
[She that . . . tail: She that was wise enough never to exchange the tail end of something good for the head of something bad]
She that could think and ne’er disclose her mind,   
See suitors following and not look behind,            170
She was a wight, if ever such wight were,—
[She . . . were: She was a genuine human being, if ever there was a genuine human.]  
DESDEMONA:  To do what?   
IAGO:  To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.   
[To suckle . . . beer: To give birth to and nurse fools and to perform trivial tasks, such as writing the history of beer]
DESDEMONA:  O most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal [immoral] counsellor?   
CASSIO:  He speaks home, madam; you may relish him more in the soldier than in the scholar.            175
[He speaks . . . scholar: His words are blunt and straightforward. He is a soldier, after all, not a scholar.]
IAGO:  [Aside.]  He takes her [Desdemona] by the palm; ay, well said, whisper; [go ahead and whisper to each other] with as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do; I will gyve [trap; shackle] thee in thine own courtship. You say true, ’tis so, indeed. If such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry [If your flirtations cause you to lose your rank as second-in-command], it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft [a gesture of gallantry], which now again you are most apt to play the sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent courtesy! ’tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers to your lips? [Yet again you are kissing your three fingers?] would they were clyster-pipes for your sake! [I wish those fingers were enema syringes to purge you.] [A trumpet heard.]  The Moor! I know his trumpet.   
CASSIO:  ’Tis truly so.   
DESDEMONA:  Let’s meet him and receive him.   
CASSIO:  Lo! where he comes.   
 
Enter OTHELLO and Attendants.            180

OTHELLO:  O my fair warrior!   
DESDEMONA:  My dear Othello!   
OTHELLO:  It gives me wonder great as my content   
To see you here before me. O my soul’s joy! 
[It gives . . . joy: I am as amazed as I am happy to see that you arrived here before me. You are the joy of my soul.]
If after every tempest come such calms,            185
May the winds blow till they have waken’d death!   
And let the labouring bark [ship] climb hills of seas   
Olympus-high [as high as Mount Olympus], and duck again as low   
As hell’s from heaven! If it were now to die,   
’Twere now to be most happy, for I fear            190
My soul hath her content so absolute   
That not another comfort like to this   
Succeeds in unknown fate.  
[not another . . . fate: Not another comfort like the one I am experiencing now will follow in the unknown future.]
DESDEMONA:  The heavens forbid   
But that our loves and comforts should increase            195
Even as our days do grow!   
OTHELLO:  Amen to that, sweet powers!   
I cannot speak enough of this content;   
It stops me here; it is too much of joy:   
And this, and this, the greatest discords be,  [Kissing her.            200
That e’er our hearts shall make! 
[And this . . . make: And this kiss is the greatest discord that will ever exist between you and me. (In other words, they will always be kind and loving to each other.)]
IAGO:  [Aside.]  O! you are well tun’d now,   
But I’ll set down the pegs [I'll make you sing a different tune] that make this music,   
As honest as I am.   
OTHELLO:  Come, let us to the castle.            205
News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown’d.   
How does my old acquaintance of this isle? [How are my old friends here doing?] 
Honey, you shall be well desir’d [received] in Cyprus;   
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,   
I prattle out of fashion [talk too much], and I dote            210
In mine own comforts. I prithee [beg thee; pray thee], good Iago,   
Go to the bay and disembark my coffers.
[disembark . . . coffers: Take my belongings off the ship.]  
Bring thou the master [captain] to the citadel;   
He is a good one, and his worthiness   
Does challenge [require; command; claim] much respect. Come, Desdemona,            215
Once more well met at Cyprus.  [Exeunt all except IAGO and RODERIGO.   
IAGO:  Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come hither. If thou be’st [be] valiant, as they say base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them, list [listen to] me. The lieutenant [Cassio] to-night watches on the court of guard: first, I must tell thee this, Desdemona is directly in love with him.   
RODERIGO:  With him! why, ’tis not possible.   
IAGO:  Lay thy finger thus [Lay your finger to your lips; be quiet; shut up], and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor but [only] for bragging and telling her fantastical lies; and will she love him still for prating? [will she continue to love him for more of the same kind of talk?]  let not thy discreet [prudent; careful] heart think it. Her eye must be fed [by a man more handsome than Othello]; and what delight shall she have to look on the devil? When the blood is made dull with the act of sport [with lovemaking], there should be, again to inflame it, and to give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favour [a handsome man], sympathy in years [a man about the same age as Desdemona], manners, and beauties [a man with the same manners and preferences of Desdemona]; all which the Moor is defective in. Now, for want of these required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will find itself abused, begin to heave the gorge [vomit], disrelish and abhor the Moor; very nature will instruct her in it, and compel her to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted, as it is a most pregnant and unforced position [as . . . position: as it is obvious], who stands so eminently in the degree of this fortune as Cassio does? a knave very voluble [smooth in his talk], no further conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and humane seeming [no further . . . seeming: a man who pretends to have a conscience], for the better compassing [satisfaction] of his salt [lust] and most hidden loose affection? why, none; why, none: a slipper [slippery; devious] and subtle knave, a finder-out of occasions, that has an eye can stamp and counterfeit advantages [that can turn situations to his advantage], though true advantage never present itself; a devilish knave! Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green [inexperienced] minds look after; a pestilent complete knave! and the woman hath found him already.   
RODERIGO:  I cannot believe that in her; she is full of most blessed condition [she is so virtuous and innocent].            220
IAGO:  Blessed fig’s end! [My foot! Like hell! You can't be serious!] the wine she drinks is made of grapes [she drinks the same wine as everyone else and, therefore, is ordinary]; if she had been blessed she would never have loved the Moor; blessed pudding! [good gracious!] Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of his hand? didst not mark that?   
RODERIGO:  Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.   
IAGO:  Lechery, by this hand! an index and obscure prologue to the history of lust and foul thoughts. [It was lechery. It was the beginning of a lustful relationship.] They met so near with their lips, that their breaths embraced together. Villanous thoughts, Roderigo! when these mutualities [little exchanges of affection] so marshal [lead] the way, hard at hand comes the master and main exercise, the incorporate conclusion [having sex]. Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me: I have brought you from Venice. Watch you to-night; for the command, I’ll lay ’t upon you: Cassio knows you not. I’ll not be far from you: do you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline [criticizing his military skills]; or from what other course you please, which the time shall more favourably minister.   
RODERIGO:  Well.   
IAGO:  Sir, he is rash and very sudden in choler [sudden to anger], and haply [perhaps] may strike at you: provoke him, that he may; for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny, whose qualification shall come into no true taste again but by the displanting of Cassio [to mutiny . . . Cassio: to cry out against Cassio and demand that he be replaced]. So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by the means I shall then have to prefer them [So shall . . . them: Doing what I tell you will shorten your journey to your ultimate desire, Desdemona]; and the impediment [Cassio] most profitably removed, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity [without . . . prosperity: Without his removal, you cannot expect to prosper].            225
RODERIGO:  I will do this, if I can bring it to any opportunity.   
IAGO:  I warrant thee [I guarantee it will result in an opportunity]. Meet me by and by at the citadel: I must fetch his [Othello's] necessaries ashore. Farewell.   
RODERIGO:  Adieu [Farewell].  [Exit.   
IAGO:  That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;   
That she loves him, ’tis apt [probable], and of great credit:            230
The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,   
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature;   
[The Moor . . . nature: I must admit that the Moor, even though I despise him, has a loving nature.] 
And I dare think he’ll prove to Desdemona   
A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust,—though peradventure            235
I stand accountant for as great a sin,—   
But partly led to diet [feed] my revenge,   
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor   
Hath leap’d into my seat [leaped into bed with my wife]; the thought whereof   
Doth like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards;            240
And nothing can or shall content my soul   
Till I am even’d with him, wife for wife;   
Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor   
At least into a jealousy so strong   
That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,            245
If this poor trash [Roderigo] of Venice, whom I trash [reject; dump]  
For his quick hunting, stand the putting-on [can stand and follow my instructions],   
I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip;   
Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb,
[Abuse . . . garb: I'll denounce him to the Moor with gross language.]  
For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too,            250
[For I . . . too: For I fear that Cassio wore my nightcap and also went to bed with my wife.]
Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me   
For making him egregiously an ass   
And practising upon his peace and quiet   
Even to madness. ’Tis here, but yet confus’d:   
Knavery’s plain face is never seen till us’d.  [Exit.            255
[Make the Moor . . . till us'd: I'll make the Moor thankful to me even though I turn him into an ass and disturb his peace and quiet, even to the point of making him mad. No one will notice my evildoing until he or she sees its results.]

Act 2, Scene 2

A street.
Enter a Herald with proclamation. People following.

HERALD:  It is Othello’s pleasure, our noble and valiant general, that, upon certain tidings now arrived, importing [concerning] the mere perdition [complete destruction] of the Turkish fleet, every man put himself into triumph; some to dance, some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and revels his addiction leads him; for, besides these beneficial news, it is the celebration of his nuptia [marriage]. So much was his pleasure should be proclaimed. All offices [kitchen and other places that store food and drink] are open, and there is full liberty of feasting from this present hour of five till the bell have told eleven. Heaven bless the isle of Cyprus and our noble general Othello!  [Exeunt.

Act 2, Scene 3

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

OTHELLO:  Good Michael, look you to [supervise] the guard to-night:   
Let’s teach ourselves that honourable stop [restraint],   
Not to outsport discretion [not to overdo our celebration].            5
CASSIO:  Iago hath direction what to do;   
But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye   
Will I look to ’t.   
OTHELLO:  Iago is most honest.   
Michael, good night; to-morrow with your earliest [at an early hour]            10
Let me have speech with you.  [To DESDEMONA.]  Come, my dear love,   
The purchase made [Now that the wedding is over], the fruits [pleasures of love] are to ensue;   
That profit’s yet to come ’twixt me and you. [The best is yet to come.]  
Good night.  [Exeunt OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants.   
 
Enter IAGO.             15
CASSIO:  Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.   
IAGO:  Not this hour, lieutenant; ’tis not yet ten o’ the clock. Our general cast [dismissed] 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 sport for Jove.   
[for the love . . . Jove: So that he could turn all his attention to Desdemona, and we cannot blame him for doing so. He has not yet made love to her, and she is a prize worthy of Jove. (Jove is another name for Jupiter, the king of the gods in Roman mythology. His Greek name is Zeus.)].
CASSIO:  She’s a most exquisite lady.   
IAGO:  And, I’ll warrant her, full of game [passion; spirit].   
CASSIO:  Indeed, she is a most fresh and delicate creature.            20
IAGO:  What an eye she has! methinks it sounds a parley of provocation.
[sounds . . . provocation: Invites men to communicate with her about love.]   
CASSIO:  An inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest.   
IAGO:  And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love [a love call]?   
CASSIO:  She is indeed perfection.   
IAGO:  Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I have a stoup [cup; tankard] of wine, and here without are a brace [pair] of Cyprus gallants that would fain [willingly] have a measure to the health of black Othello.            25
CASSIO:  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 entertainment.   
IAGO:  O! they are our friends; but one cup: I’ll drink for you.   
CASSIO:  I have drunk but one cup to-night, and that was craftily qualified [mixed] too, and, behold, what innovation [disturbance] it makes here [in my stomach]: I am unfortunate in the infirmity, and dare not task my weakness with any more.   
IAGO:  What, man! ’tis a night of revels; the gallants desire it.   
CASSIO:  Where are they?            30
IAGO:  Here at the door; I pray you, call them in.   
CASSIO:  I’ll do ’t; but it dislikes me.  [Exit.   
IAGO:  If I can fasten but one cup upon him,   
With that which he hath drunk to-night already,   
He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence            35
As my young mistress’ dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,   
Whom love has turn’d almost the wrong side out,   
To Desdemona hath to-night carous’d [drunk]  
Potations pottle deep [two quarts of toasts]; and he’s to watch. 
Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,            40
That hold their honours in a wary distance,   
The very elements of this war-like isle,   
Have I to-night fluster’d with flowing cups,   
And they watch too. Now, ’mongst this flock of drunkards,   
Am I to put our Cassio in some action            45
That may offend the isle. But here they come.   
If consequence do but approve my dream,   
My boat sails freely [my plan unfolds freely], both with wind and stream.   
 
Re-enter CASSIO, with him MONTANO, and Gentlemen.  Servant following with wine.
   
CASSIO:  ’Fore God, they have given me a rouse already.            50
MONTANO:  Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am a soldier.   
IAGO:  Some wine, ho!
    And let me the canakin [small can or cup] clink, clink;
    And let me the canakin clink:
          A soldier’s a man;
          A life’s but a span [distance between the thumb and forefinger stretched apart];
    Why then let a soldier drink.
   
Some wine, boys!   
CASSIO:  ’Fore [Before] God, an excellent song.   
IAGO:  I learned it in England, where indeed they are most potent in potting [drinking]; your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander,—drink, ho!—are nothing to your English.            55
CASSIO:  Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?   
IAGO:  Why, he drinks you with facility your Dane dead drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain [German]; he gives your Hollander a vomit ere the next pottle can be filled.   
CASSIO:  To the health of our general!   
MONTANO:  I am for it, lieutenant; and I’ll do you justice.   
IAGO:  O sweet England!
    King Stephen was a worthy peer,
      His breeches cost him but a crown;
    He held them sixpence all too dear, [He said he was overcharged by sixpence,]
      With that he call’d the tailor lown [lout].
    He was a wight [man] of high renown,
      And thou art but of low degree: [But you are of low degree compared to him]
    ’Tis pride that pulls the country down,
      Then take thine auld [old] cloak about thee.            60
Some wine, ho!   
CASSIO:  Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.   
IAGO:  Will you hear ’t again?   
CASSIO:  No; for I hold him to be unworthy of 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.   
IAGO:  It’s true, good lieutenant.            65
CASSIO:  For mine own part,—no offence to the general, nor any man of quality [high rank],—I hope to be saved.   
IAGO:  And so do I too, lieutenant.   
CASSIO:  Ay; but, by your leave, not before me; the lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient [I am to be saved before you]. Let’s have no more of this; let’s to our affairs [let's get back to work]. God 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 hand. I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and speak well enough.   
All.  Excellent well.   
CASSIO:  Why, very well, then; you must not think then that I am drunk.  [Exit.            70
MONTANO:  To the platform, masters; come, let’s set [call out; station] the watch.   
IAGO:  You see this fellow that is gone before;   
He is a soldier fit to stand by Cæsar   
And give direction; and do but see his vice;   
’Tis to his virtue a just equinox [his vice is the very equal of his virtue],            75
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 [at some time when Cassio is not at his best],
Will shake this island.   
MONTANO:  But is he often thus?            80
IAGO:  ’Tis evermore [more and more] the prologue to his sleep:   
He’ll watch the horologe a double set [He'll drink around the clock],   
If drink rock not his cradle [If alcohol does not put him to sleep].   
MONTANO:  It were well   
The general were put in mind of it.            85
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?   
 
Enter RODERIGO.
   
IAGO:  [Aside to him.]  How now, Roderigo!            90
I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.  [Exit RODERIGO.   
MONTANO:  And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor   
Should hazard such a place as his own second   
With one of an ingraft [firmly rooted] infirmity;   
It were an honest action to say            95
So to the Moor.   
IAGO:  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 RODERIGO.            100
CASSIO:  You rogue! you rascal!   
MONTANO:  What’s the matter, lieutenant?   
CASSIO:  A knave teach me my duty!   
I’ll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle [wicker bottle].   
RODERIGO:  Beat me!            105
CASSIO:   Dost thou prate, rogue?  [Striking RODERIGO.   
MONTANO:  [Staying him.]  Nay, good lieutenant;   
I pray you, sir, hold your hand.   
CASSIO:  Let me go, sir,   
Or I’ll knock you o’er the mazzard [head].            110
MONTANO:  Come, come; you’re drunk.   
CASSIO:  Drunk!  [They fight.   
IAGO:  [Aside to RODERIGO.]  Away, I say! go out, and cry a mutiny [riot].  [Exit RODERIGO.   
Nay, good lieutenant! God’s will, gentlemen!   
Help, ho! Lieutenant! sir! Montano! sir!            115
Help, masters! Here’s a goodly watch indeed!  [Bell rings.   
Who’s that that rings the bell? Diablo [the devil], ho!   
The town will rise: God’s will! lieutenant, hold!   
You will be sham’d for ever.   
 
Re-enter OTHELLO and Attendants.            120

OTHELLO:  What is the matter here?   
MONTANO:  ’Zounds! [Interjection that is short for by His wounds, meaning the wounds of the crucified Christ]. I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.   
OTHELLO:  Hold, for your lives!   
IAGO:  Hold, ho, lieutenant! Sir! Montano! gentlemen!   
Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?            125
Hold! the general speaks to you; hold for shame!   
OTHELLO:  Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?   
Are we turn’d Turks, and to ourselves do that   
Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?   
[Are we . . . Ottomites: Are we turned into heathenish Turks and inflict on ourselves the savagery that the Turks inflict on their enemies?]
For Christian shame put by [put by: put aside; stop] this barbarous brawl;            130
He that stirs next to carve [wield his sword] for his own rage   
Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion [he dies if he even raises his sword].   
Silence that dreadful bell! it frights the isle   
From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?   
Honest Iago, that look’st dead with grieving,            135
Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.   
IAGO:  I do not know; friends all but now, even now,   
In quarter and in terms like bride and groom   
Devesting them [divesting themselves—that is, removing their clothes] for bed; and then, but now,—   
As if some planet had unwitted men,—            140
Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breast,   
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!            145
[I do not know . . . part of it: I do not know. We were all happy friends until a moment ago, as happy as a bride and groom getting ready for bed. Then suddenly, as if some freak of nature had robbed these men of their senses, they drew their swords and the fight was on. I cannot tell you what set them at odds. But I can say I would rather have lost my legs in battle than be part of this evening's uproar.]
OTHELLO:  How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot? [How comes it, Michael, that you forgot your self-discipline and manners?]
CASSIO:  I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.   
OTHELLO:  Worthy Montano, you were wont [inclined to] be civil;   
The gravity and stillness of your youth   
The world hath noted, and your name is great            150
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.   
MONTANO:  Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger [I am severely injured];            155
Your officer, Iago, can inform you,   
While I spare speech, which something now offends me [it pains me to talk],   
Of all that I do know; nor know I aught [anything]  
By me that’s said or done amiss [improperly] this night,   
Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,            160
And to defend ourselves it be a sin   
When violence assails us.   
[Unless . . . assails us: Unless looking out for yourself is a vice and defending yourself against violence is a sin]
OTHELLO:  Now, by heaven,   
My blood begins my safer guides to rule,   
And passion, having my best judgment collied,            165
Assays to lead the way. If I once stir, 
[My blood . . . the way: My passion begins to rule my common sense and, having befouled my best judgment, attempts to lead the way.]
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 approv’d [found guilty] in this offence,            170
Though he had twinn’d with me—both at a birth—[had been my twin brother]  
Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,   
Yet wild, the people’s hearts brimful of fear,   
To manage [to have to deal with] private and domestic quarrel,   
In night, and on the court and guard of safety!            175
’Tis monstrous. Iago, who began ’t?   
MONTANO:  If partially affin’d, or leagu’d in office,   
Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,   
Thou art no soldier. 
[If partially . . . soldier: If you are a friend of Cassio, or if you favor him because he is a fellow officer, be aware that you are no soldier if you don't tell the truth about his involvement in this fray.] 
IAGO:  Touch me not so near;            180
I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth   
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;   
Yet, I persuade myself, [that] to speak the truth   
Shall nothing wrong him [will not harm him]. Thus it is, general. [Here is what happened, in general.]  
Montano and myself being in speech [conversing],            185
There comes a fellow crying out for help,   
And Cassio following with determin’d sword   
To execute [wield; use] upon him. Sir, this gentleman   
Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause [asks him to sheath his sword];   
Myself the crying fellow did pursue,            190
[Myself . . . pursue: I pursued the crying fellow]
Lest by his clamour, as it so fell out,   
The town might fall in fright; he, swift of foot,   
Outran my purpose [outran me], and I return’d the rather   
For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,   
And Cassio high in oath [Cassio cursing], which till to-night            195
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 can I not report:            200
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, receiv’d   
From him that fled some strange indignity [insult],            205
Which patience could not pass.   
OTHELLO:  I know, Iago,   
Thy honesty and love doth mince [moderate; play down] this matter,   
Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee;   
But never more be officer of mine.            210
 
Enter DESDEMONA, attended.
   
Look! if my gentle love be not rais’d up;   
[To CASSIO.]  I’ll make thee an example.   
DESDEMONA: What’s the matter?   
OTHELLO:  All’s well now, sweeting; come away to bed.            215
Sir, for your hurts, myself will be your surgeon.   
Lead him off.  [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,            220
To have their balmy slumbers wak’d with strife.  [Exeunt all but IAGO and CASSIO.   
IAGO:  What! are you hurt, lieutenant?   
CASSIO:  Ay; past all surgery.   
IAGO:  Marry, heaven forbid!  
CASSIO:  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!            225
IAGO:  As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily wound; there is more offence 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 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 is yours.   
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[ speak] fustian [pompous language] 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!   
IAGO:  What was he that you followed with your sword? What had he done to you?   
CASSIO:  I know not.   
IAGO:  Is ’t possible?            230
CASSIO:  I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore [nothing about why]. 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.   
IAGO:  Why, but you are now well enough; how came you thus recovered?   
CASSIO:  It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me another, to make me frankly despise myself.   
IAGO:  Come, you are too severe a moraler [one who expresses an opinion or judgment on morals; moralizer]. 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.   
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, by and by a fool,
and presently a beast! O strange! Every inordinate [excessive] cup [that I drank] is unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.            235
[Hydra: In Greek mythology, a monster with nine heads. If one head was cut off, two would grow in its place.]
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.   
CASSIO:  I have well approved it, sir [I am well aware of that, sir]. I drunk! [What shame—I a drunk!]
IAGO:  You or any man living may be drunk at some time, man. I’ll 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 [Our general . . . graces: Desdemona has Othello under the spell of her charms. Consequently, he devotes a great deal of attention to her]: confess yourself freely to her; importune her; she’ll help to put you in your place again. She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, that 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 [repair using splints]; and my fortunes against any lay [wager; bet] worth naming, this crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.   
CASSIO:  You advise me well.   
IAGO:  I protest [raise my voice in your defense], in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.            240
CASSIO:  I think it freely; and betimes [early] in the morning I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake [work; speak] for me. I am desperate of my fortunes if they check me here [I am deeply worried that what I did tonight will ruin my career.]  
IAGO:  You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I must to the watch.   
CASSIO:  Good night, honest Iago!  [Exit.   
IAGO:  And what’s he then that says I play the villain?   
When this advice is free I give and honest,            245
Probal [probable] 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 fram’d [made] as fruitful   
As the free elements. And then for her            250
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            255
With his weak function. How am I then a villain 
[And what's . . . weak function: Who can say I play the villain when I give good advice that could help Cassio redeem himself? Let's face it. Desdemona is easy to persuade to your side. She rivals nature itself with all of her good qualities. I'll bet that Othello would have renounced his baptism as a Christian to win her. His soul is so attached to her that she can do whatever she wants and he will approve her action.] 
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,            260
[When . . . shows: Before devils commit the blackest sins, they pretend to be angels.]
As I do now; for while this honest fool [Cassio]
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes,   
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,   
I’ll pour this pestilence into [Othello's] ear   
That she repeals him for her body’s lust [that she rejects Othello and takes Cassio's side out of lust for his body];            265
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 [sin; blackness],   
And out of her own goodness make the net   
That shall enmesh them all.            270
 
Re-enter RODERIGO.
   
How now, Roderigo!   
RODERIGO:  I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is 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.   
[I do . . . Venice: I have been involved in the events tonight like a barking hound that follows the pack but does not hunt. I have spent almost all my money and suffered a beating. After all the pains I have endured and having little money, I am now smart enough to give up and return to Venice.]
IAGO:  How poor are they that have not patience!   
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?            275
Thou know’st we work by wit and not by witch-craft,   
And wit depends on dilatory time [time to plan the next move; patient waiting].   
Does ’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee,   
And thou by that small hurt hast cashiered Cassio.
[And thou . . . Cassio: But your beating caused Cassio's discharge as second-in-command.]  
Though other things grow fair against the sun,            280
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:   
Content thyself awhile.
[Though . . . awhile: Other things grow well in the sunlight. But our plan to undo Cassio blossomed early and ripened. It won't be long until the fruit falls. So be content awhile.]
By the mass [I swear by the holy mass, the main act of worship in the Roman Catholic Church], ’tis morning; 
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.   
Retire thee; go where thou art billeted [quartered; lodged]:   
Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:            285
Nay, get thee gone.  [Exit RODERIGO.]  Two things are to be done,   
My wife must move [speak up] 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            290
Soliciting his wife: ay, that’s the way:   
Dull not device by coldness and delay.  [Exit.
[Myself . . . delay: Meanwhile, I will confer with Othello at a time when, through my clever machinations, Cassio appears to be talking intimately with Desdemona. Othello will jump with surprise. Be assured that I will not ruin my plan with indecision and delay.]

Act 3, Scene 1

Cyprus. Before the Castle.
Enter CASSIO and some Musicians.

CASSIO:  Masters, play here, I will content [pay you for] your pains;   
Something that’s brief; and bid ‘Good morrow, general [to put him in a good mood].’  [Music. 
[Musicians were often called upon to serenade a newly married couple.] 
 
Enter Clown.             5

Clo.  Why, masters, have your instruments been in Naples, that they speak i’ the nose thus? 
[Why . . . thus: This line presents an allusion to the venereal disease syphilis, which can cause destructive nose tumors. Syphilis was commonplace in Naples, Italy.]
First Mus.  How, sir, how?   
Clo.  Are these, I pray you, wind-instruments?   
First Mus.  Ay, marry, are they, sir.   
Clo.  O! thereby hangs a tail.            10
First Mus.  Whereby hangs a tale, sir?   
Clo.  Marry, sir, by many a wind-instrument that I know. But, masters, here’s money for you; and the general so likes your music, that he desires you, for love’s sake, to make no more noise with it.   
First Mus.  Well, sir, we will not.   
Clo.  If you have any music that may not be heard, to ’t again; but, as they say, to hear music the general does not greatly care.   
First Mus.  We have none such, sir.            15
Clo.  Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I’ll away. Go; vanish into air; away!  [Exeunt Musicians.   
CASSIO:  Dost thou hear, mine honest friend?   
Clo.  No, I hear not your honest friend; I hear you.   
CASSIO:  Prithee, keep up [put away] thy quillets [puns or wisecracks, which appear in lines 10-23, 14, and 18 of this scene]. There’s a poor piece of gold for thee. If the gentlewoman that attends the general’s wife be stirring, tell her there’s one Cassio entreats her a little favour of speech: wilt thou do this?   
Clo.  She is stirring, sir: if she will stir hither, I shall seem to notify unto her.            20
CASSIO:  Do, good my friend [my good friend].  [Exit Clown.   
 
Enter IAGO.
   
In happy time, Iago.   
IAGO:  You have not been a-bed, then?   
CASSIO:  Why, no; the day had broke            25
Before we parted. I have made bold, Iago,   
To send in to your wife; my suit [request] to her   
Is, that she will to virtuous Desdemona   
Procure me some access.   
IAGO:  I’ll send her to you presently;            30
And I’ll devise a mean [means; way] to draw the Moor   
Out of the way, that your converse and business   
May be more free.   
CASSIO:  I humbly thank you for ’t.  [Exit IAGO.  
I never knew            35
A Florentine more kind and honest.   
 
Enter EMILIA.
   
EMILIA:  Good morrow, good lieutenant: I am sorry   
For your displeasure; but all will soon be well.   
The general and his wife are talking of it,            40
And she speaks for you stoutly: the Moor replies   
That he you hurt is of great fame in Cyprus   
And great affinity [highly respected], and that in wholesome wisdom   
He might not but refuse you [he believes he must not reinstate you]; but he protests he loves you,   
And needs no other suitor but his likings            45
To take the saf’st occasion by the front   
To bring you in again.   
[And needs . . . again: He needs nothing more to plead your case except his feelings for you. He would like to find a way to restore you as second-in-command.]
CASSIO:  Yet, I beseech you,   
If you think fit, or that it may be done,   
Give me advantage of some brief discourse            50
With Desdemona alone.   
EMILIA:  Pray you, come in:   
I will bestow [place] you where you shall have time   
To speak your bosom [mind] freely.   
CASSIO:  I am much bound to you.  [Exeunt.            55

Act 3, Scene 2

A room in the castle.
Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Gentleman.

OTHELLO:  These letters give, Iago, to the pilot,   
And by him do my duties to the senate;   
That done, I will be walking on the works;            5
Repair there to me.   
[These letters . . . to me: Iago, deliver these letters to the captain of my ship and tell him to take them back to Venice. Tell him also to convey my kindest regards to the senate. After you return from the shore, meet with me on the top of the castle, where I will be walking.]
IAGO:  Well, my good lord, I’ll do ’t.   
OTHELLO:  This fortification, gentlemen, shall we see ’t?   
GENTLEMAN:  We’ll wait upon your lordship.  [Exeunt.

Act 3, Scene 3

Before the castle.
Enter DESDEMONA, CASSIO, and EMILIA.

DESDEMONA:  Be thou assur’d, good Cassio, I will do   
All my abilities in thy behalf.   
EMILIA:  Good madam, do: I warrant it grieves my husband,            5
As if the case were his.   
DESDEMONA:  O! that’s an honest fellow. Do not doubt, Cassio,   
But I will have my lord and you again   
As friendly as you were.   
CASSIO:  Bounteous madam,            10
Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio,   
He’s never anything but your true servant.   
DESDEMONA:  I know ’t; I thank you. You do love my lord;   
You have known him long; and be you well assur’d   
He shall in strangeness stand no further off            15
Than in a politic distance [than at a prudent distance so as not give the appearance of showing favoritism].   
CASSIO:  Ay, but, lady,   
That policy may either last so long,   
Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet [or be so watered down],   
Or breed itself so out of circumstance [or become so well established after a time],            20
That, I being absent and my place supplied,   
My general will forget my love and service.   
DESDEMONA:  Do not doubt [worry about] that; before Emilia here   
I give thee warrant of thy place [I promise that you will regain your former position]. Assure thee,   
If I do vow a friendship, I’ll perform it            25
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 every thing he does   
With Cassio’s suit. Therefore be merry, Cassio;            30
[I'll watch . . .  Cassio's suit: I'll keep after him until he becomes tame and thus easy to bend to my wishes. He won't have the patience to keep refusing me. Our bedroom shall become a place for a discussion of your request for reinstatement. I will intermingle the disposition of your case with everything he does.]
For thy solicitor [Desdemona] shall rather die   
Than give thy cause away.   
 
Enter OTHELLO, and IAGO at a distance.
   
EMILIA:  Madam, here comes my lord.   
CASSIO:  Madam, I’ll take my leave.            35
DESDEMONA:  Why, stay, and hear me speak.   
CASSIO:  Madam, not now; I am very ill at ease,   
Unfit for mine own purposes.   
DESDEMONA:  Well, do your discretion.  [Exit CASSIO.   
IAGO:  Ha! I like not that.            40
OTHELLO:   What dost thou say?   
IAGO:  Nothing, my lord: or if—I know not what.   
OTHELLO:  Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?   
IAGO:  Cassio, my lord? No, sure, I cannot think it   
That he would steal away so guilty-like,            45
Seeing you coming.   
[That he . . . coming: These two lines demonstrate Iago's pattern of lying to others while pretending to be a paragon a virtue. Here he is planting a suggestion in Othello's mind that Cassio committed some impropriety with Desdemona, then ran off when he saw Othello approaching.]
OTHELLO:  I do believe ’twas he.   
DESDEMONA:  How now, my lord!   
I have been talking with a suitor here,   
A man that languishes [suffers] in your displeasure.            50
OTHELLO:  Who is ’t 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,            55
That errs in ignorance and not in cunning [he made a mistake, but it was not intentional],   
I have no judgment in an honest face.   
I prithee call him back.   
OTHELLO:   Went he hence now?   
DESDEMONA:  Ay, sooth [true]; so humbled,            60
That he hath left part of his grief with me,   
To suffer with him. Good love, call him back.   
OTHELLO:  Not now, sweet Desdemona; some other time.   
DESDEMONA:  But shall ’t be shortly?   
OTHELLO:  The sooner, sweet, for you.            65
DESDEMONA:  Shall ’t be to-night at supper?   
OTHELLO:  No, not to-night.   
DESDEMONA:  To-morrow dinner then?   
OTHELLO:  I shall not dine at home;   
I meet the captains at the citadel.            70
DESDEMONA:  Why then, to-morrow night; or Tuesday morn;   
On Tuesday noon, or night; on Wednesday morn:   
I prithee [pray thee; beg thee] name the time, but let it not   
Exceed three days: in faith, he’s penitent; 
And yet his trespass, in our common reason [common sense]—            75
Save that, they say, the wars must make examples   
Out of their best,—is not almost a fault  
To incur a private check [reprimand]. When shall he come?
Tell me, Othello: I wonder in my soul,   
What you could ask me that I should deny [refuse],            80
Or stand so mammering on [mammering on: hesitating; avoiding the issue at hand]. What! Michael Cassio,   
That came a wooing with you, and so many a time,   
When I have spoke of you dispraisingly [critically],   
Hath ta’en your part; to have so much to do   
To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much.—            85
[to have . . . do much: Why do I have to plead this way to bring him back into your good graces? I could do much—]
OTHELLO:  Prithee, no more; let him come when he will;   
I will deny thee nothing.  
[Prithee . . . nothing: Othello's answer seems to express irritation and condescension. It is as if he is addressing a child demanding that his parents buy him a certain toy. Desdemona's response, which follows, supports this interpretation of Othello's answer.]
DESDEMONA:  Why, this is not a boon [favor];   
’Tis as I should entreat you [ask you to] wear your gloves,   
Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm,            90
Or sue to [urge] 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  [shall . . . . weight: shall be weighty in the balance scales],  
And fearful to be granted.            95
OTHELLO:  I will deny thee nothing:   
Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,   
To leave me but a little to myself [to allow me a little time to be alone].   
DESDEMONA:  Shall I deny you? no: farewell, my lord. [Would I refuse any of your requests? Of course not. Farewell, my lord.] 
OTHELLO:  Farewell, my Desdemona: I’ll come to thee straight.            100
DESDEMONA:  Emilia, come. Be as your fancies teach you;   
Whate’er you be, I am obedient.  [Exit, with EMILIA.   
OTHELLO:  Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul   
But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,   
Chaos is come again.            105
[Excellent . . . come again: Excellent woman! Even if hell threatens my soul, I will continue to love you. If I ever stop loving you, my universe will turn into chaos.]
IAGO:  My noble lord,—   
OTHELLO:  What dost thou say, Iago?   
IAGO:  Did Michael Cassio, when you woo’d my lady,   
Know of your love?   
OTHELLO:  He did, from first to last: why dost thou ask?            110
IAGO:  But for a satisfaction of my thought;   
No further harm.   
OTHELLO:   Why of thy thought, Iago? [What exactly is your thought?]
IAGO:  I did not think he had been acquainted with her.   
OTHELLO:  O! yes; and went between [was in contact with; carried messages for] us very oft.            115
IAGO:  Indeed!   
OTHELLO:  Indeed! ay, indeed; discern’st thou aught in that? [do you notice anything unusual in that?]  
Is he not honest?   
IAGO:  Honest, my lord?   
OTHELLO:  Honest! ay, honest.            120
IAGO:  My lord, for aught I know. [for . . . know: to be best of my knowledge].  
OTHELLO:  What dost thou think?   
IAGO:  Think, my lord!   
OTHELLO:  Think, my lord!   
By heaven, he echoes me,            125
As if there were some monster in his thought   
Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something: [You are trying to tell me something:]  
I heard thee say but [just] now, thou lik’dst not that,   
When Cassio left my wife; what didst not like?   
And when I told thee he was of my counsel [he was close to me]            130
In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst [cried], ‘Indeed!’   
And didst contract and purse thy brow together,   
As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain   
Some horrible conceit [horrible news about Cassio; horrible image of Cassio]. If thou dost love me,   
Show me thy thought.            135
IAGO:  My lord, you know I love you.   
OTHELLO:  I think thou dost;   
And, for I know thou art full of love and honesty,   
And weigh’st thy words before thou giv’st them breath,   
Therefore these stops [hesitations] of thine fright me the more;            140
For such things in a false disloyal knave   
Are tricks of custom [are expected actions], but in a man that’s just   
They are close delations, working from the heart   
That passion cannot rule. 
[close delations . . . rule: Veiled accusations against Cassio. You want to hide what you know, but your conscience won't let you.]
IAGO:  For Michael Cassio,            145
I dare be sworn I think that he is honest.   
OTHELLO:  I think so too.   
IAGO:  Men should be what they seem;   
Or those that be not, would they might seem none!
[those . . . none: Those that are not what they appear to be should not pretend to be other than they are.]  
OTHELLO:  Certain, men should be what they seem.            150
IAGO:  Why then, I think Cassio’s an honest man.   
OTHELLO:  Nay, yet there’s more in this.   
I pray thee, speak to me as to thy thinkings,   
As thou dost ruminate [ponder], and give thy worst of thoughts   
The worst of words.            155
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. [I am not bound to reveal my thoughts any more than a slave is bound to do so. Even a slave has a right to keep his thoughts to himself.] 
Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false;   
As where’s that palace whereinto foul things            160
Sometimes intrude not? who has a breast so pure   
But some uncleanly apprehensions   
Keep leets and law days, and in session sit   
With meditations lawful?   
[Why, say . . . lawful: Suppose my thoughts are vile and false. I then ask you this: Show me a person into whose mind foul things do not intrude. The fact is, no one has a breast so pure that it can stand guiltless before the law.]
OTHELLO:  Thou dost conspire against thy friend [me], Iago,            165
If thou but think’st him wrong’d, and mak’st his ear   
A stranger to thy thoughts.   
IAGO:  I do beseech you,   
Though I perchance am vicious [far off; wrong] in my guess,—   
As, I confess, it is my nature’s plague            170
To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy [instinct; suspicion] 
Shapes faults that are not [sees faults where they do not exist],—that your wisdom yet,   
From one [Iago refers to himself] that so imperfectly conceits [imagines],   
Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble   
Out of his scattering and unsure observance.            175
[nor build . . . observance: You'd be wise not to concern yourself with my casual and imperfect observations.]
It were not for your quiet nor your good,   
Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,   
To let you know my thoughts.
[It were . . . thoughts: It would not be helpful to you, or manly for me, to inform you of my thoughts.]  
OTHELLO:  What dost thou mean?   
IAGO:  Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,            180
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,            185
And makes me poor indeed.   
OTHELLO:  By heaven, I’ll know thy thoughts.   
IAGO:  You cannot, if my heart were in your hand;   
Nor shall not, whilst ’tis in my custody.   
OTHELLO:  Ha!            190
IAGO:  O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;   
It is the green-ey’d [eyed] monster which doth mock   
The meat it feeds on [mock . . .  on: mock its victims]; that cuckold [man whose wife is unfaithful] lives in bliss   
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger [Who, aware of his wife's wrongdoing, does not love her];   
But, O! what damned minutes tells he o’er            195
Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet soundly loves!   
[But . . . loves: But think of the misery of the man who adores his wife but suspects she is being unfaithful.]
OTHELLO:  O misery!   
IAGO:  Poor and content is rich, and rich enough,   
But riches fineless [unlimited] is as poor as winter   
To him that ever fears he shall be poor.            200
[Poor and . . . be poor: To be poor and content is to be rich. But to be rich beyond measure is to be as poor as the barrenness of winter to him who constantly worries about losing his riches. (Iago is trying to plant a suggestion in Othello's mind that he could lose his wealth, Desdemona, to Michael Cassio.]
Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend   
From jealousy!   
OTHELLO:  Why, why is this? [Why are you saying these things?] 
Think’st thou I’d make a life of jealousy,   
To follow still the changes of the moon            205
With fresh suspicions? No; to be once in doubt   
Is once to be resolved. Exchange me for a goat   
When I shall turn the business of my soul   
To such exsufflicate [exaggerated] and blown surmises,   
Matching thy inference. ’Tis not to make me jealous            210
[Think'st . . . inference: Do you think I would become jealous of Desdemona every time I see a change in our relationship? You might as well exchange me for a goat if you think I am going to pay attention to silly surmises against her reputation.]
To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,   
Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well;   
Where virtue is, these are more virtuous [She is a virtuous woman, and her actions and talents only enhance her virtue]:   
Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw   
The smallest fear, or doubt of her revolt [or doubt of her fidelity];            215
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!   
IAGO:  I am glad of it; for now I shall have reason            220
To show the love and duty that I bear you   
With franker spirit [with more candor and openness]; therefore, as I am bound,   
Receive it from me; I speak not yet of proof.   
[therefore . . . proof: Therefore, as I am bound to tell you the naked truth, please listen to me when I have something to say. I am not saying that proof now exists that Desdemona has done anything wrong.]
Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;   
Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure [Be an objective, unbiased observer—not a jealous or overconfident one]:           225
I would not have your free and noble nature   
Out of self-bounty be abus’d; look to ’t:
[I would . . . abus'd: I wouldn't  want your trusting and noble nature, which is the product of the goodness in your heart, to be abused.]
I know our country disposition well;   
In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks   
They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience            230
Is not to leave ’t undone, but keep ’t unknown.  
[their best . . . unknown: Their conscience tells them that they can commit sin as long as they can keep it hidden.]
OTHELLO:  Dost thou say so?   
IAGO:  She did deceive her father, marrying you;   
And when she seem’d to shake and fear your looks,   
She lov’d them most.            235
OTHELLO:  And so she did.   
IAGO:  Why, go to, then [Why, there you have it]
She that so young could give out such a seeming [deceit; false appearance],   
To seel her father’s eyes up close as oak,
[To seel . . . oak: Seel is a falconry term meaning to sew together the eyelids of a falcon or hawk to keep it calm during its training. Oak is a highly dense wood with a very "close" grain structure. Thus, Iago is saying that Desdemona managed to close her father's eyes (as tightly as the grains of oak about one another) to her supposedly wrongful activities.]
He thought ’twas witchcraft [that made Desdemona love Othello]; but I am much to blame;            240
I humbly do beseech you of your pardon   
For too much loving you.   
OTHELLO:  I am bound to thee for ever.   
IAGO:  I see, this hath a little dash’d your spirits.   
OTHELLO:  Not a jot, not a jot.            245
IAGO:  In faith, I fear it has.   
I hope you will consider what is spoke   
Comes from my love. But, I do see you’re mov’d;   
I am to pray you not to strain my speech   
To grosser issues nor to larger reach            250
Than to suspicion.   
[I am . . . suspicion: I pray, do not conclude that what I have been telling you is evidence of Desdemona's guilt. All I am saying is that you may have reason to be suspicious of her, but don't impugn her.]
OTHELLO:  I will not.   
IAGO:  Should you do so, my lord,   
My speech should fall into such vile success [consequence; result]  
As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio’s my worthy friend—            255
My lord, I see you’re mov’d.   
OTHELLO:  No, not much mov’d:   
I do not think but Desdemona’s honest.   
IAGO:  Long live she so! and long live you to think so!   
OTHELLO:  And, yet, how nature erring from itself,— [how the natural or ordinary course of things can go wrong]           260
IAGO:  Ay, there’s the point: as, to be bold with you,   
Not to affect many proposed matches   
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,   
Whereto, we see, in all things nature tends; 
[Not to . . . tends: She did not accept proposed matches with men of her own kind and complexion, although one would naturally expect her to accept one of the proposals.]
Foh! [exclamation of contempt or scorn] one may smell in such, a will most rank,            265
Foul disproportion, 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 fail to match you with her country forms            270
And happily repent.   
[though I . . . repent: Though I may fear that she will regret not choosing one of her own kind and regard you as inferior to the typical young gentleman of Venice]
OTHELLO:  Farewell, farewell: more thou dost perceive, let me know more;   
Set on thy wife to observe. Leave me, Iago.  
IAGO:  My lord, I take my leave.  [Going.            275
OTHELLO:  Why did I marry? This honest creature, doubtless,   
Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.   
IAGO:  [Returning.]  My lord, I would I might entreat your honour   
To scan this thing no further [not to worry about this thing any more]; leave it to time.   
Although ’tis fit that Cassio have his place [have his old job back as second-in-command],            280
For, sure he fills it up with great ability,   
Yet, if you please to hold him off a while [if you postpone his reinstatement],   
You shall by that perceive him and his means:   
Note if your lady strain his entertainment   
With any strong or vehement importunity;            285
[Note . . . importunity: Note whether Desdemona speaks on his behalf with a strong and insistent voice.]
Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,   
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 honour.   
[In the mean . . . honour: In the meantime, think of me as a busybody who, in observing people closely, may see guilt where there is only innocence. So, your honour, keep believing in her.]
OTHELLO:  Fear not my government.  [Don't worry about how I manage my affairs.]          290
IAGO:  I once more take my leave.  [Exit.   
OTHELLO:  This fellow’s of exceeding honesty,   
And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,   
Of human dealings; if I do prove her haggard [wild and hard to control, like an untrained falcon or hawk],   
Though that her jesses [straps attached to the legs of falcons or hawks to keep them from flying away] were my dear heartstrings,            295
I’d whistle her off and let her down the wind,   
To prey at fortune.
[I'd whistle . . . fortune: Othello continues to use falconry images with such words as whistle, down the wind, and prey.]
Haply, for [Haply, for:  Perhaps, because] I am black,   
And have not those soft [ingratiating; flattering] parts of conversation   
That chamberers [womanizers; playboys] have, or, for I am declin’d   
Into the vale of years [I am no longer young]—yet that’s not much—            300
She’s gone, I am abus’d [I am a victim of unfaithfulness]; and my relief   
Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage!   
That we can call these delicate creatures ours,   
And not their appetities. I had rather be a toad,   
And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,            305
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others’ uses. Yet, ’tis the plague of great ones;   
[I had rather . . . others' uses: I would rather be a toad that sustains itself on the vapor of a dungeon than be a man who must content himself with only a morsel (corner) of the woman I love while other men feed on the rest of her.] 
Prerogativ’d are they less than the base; 
’Tis destiny unshunnable, like death:   
Even then this forked plague is fated to us            310
When we do quicken.   
[Prerogativ'd . . . qucken: Great men are cheated on more often than common men. This is a fact. Being cheated on may be an unavoidable destiny, like death. Even at the time we are born, fate ascribes this destiny to us.]
Look! where she comes.   
If she be false, O! then heaven mocks itself.   
I’ll not believe it.   
 
Re-enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA.             315

DESDEMONA:  How now, my dear Othello!   
Your dinner and the generous islanders   
By you invited, do attend your presence.   
OTHELLO:  I am to blame.   
DESDEMONA:  Why do you speak so faintly?            320
Are you not well?   
OTHELLO:  I have a pain [headache] upon my forehead here.   
DESDEMONA:  Faith, that’s with watching [being overly vigilant; doing your duty without getting enough sleep]; ’twill away again:   
Let me but bind it hard [wrap it with a soothing compress], within this hour   
It will be well.  [Desdemona takes out a handkerchief.]          325
OTHELLO:  Your napkin is too little:  [She drops her handkerchief.   
Let it alone. Come, I’ll go in with you.   
DESDEMONA:  I am very sorry that you are not well.  [Exeunt OTHELLO and DESDEMONA.   
EMILIA:  I am glad I have found this napkin;   
This was her first remembrance from the Moor;            330
My wayward husband hath a hundred times   
Woo’d me to steal it, but she so loves the token,   
For he conjur’d [told] 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,            335
And give ’t Iago:   
[I'll have . . . Iago: I'll copy the pattern in it, then give it to Iago.]
What he will do with it heaven knows, not I;   
I nothing but to please his fantasy.   
 
Enter IAGO.
   
IAGO:  How now! what do you here alone?            340
EMILIA:  Do not you chide; I have a thing for you.   
IAGO:  A thing for me? It is a common thing—   
mil.  Ha!   
IAGO:  To have a foolish wife.   
EMILIA:  O! is that all? What will you give me now            345
For that same handkerchief?   
IAGO:  What handkerchief?   
 EMILIA:  What handkerchief!   
Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona:   
That which so often you did bid me steal.            350
IAGO:  Hast stol’n it from her?   
EMILIA:  No, faith; she let it drop by negligence,   
And, to the advantage, I, being there, took ’t up.   
Look, here it is.   
IAGO:  A good wench; give it me.            355
EMILIA:  What will you do with ’t, that you have been so earnest   
To have me filch it?   
IAGO:  Why, what’s that to you?  [Snatches it.   
EMILIA:  If it be not for some purpose of import   
Give ’t me again; poor lady! she’ll run mad            360
When she shall lack it.   
IAGO:  Be not acknown on ’t [Do not own up that you know about it]; I have use for it.   
Go, leave me.  [Exit EMILIA,   
I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin,   
And let him find it; trifles light as air            365
Are to the jealous confirmations strong   
As proofs of holy writ [biblical proofs]; this may do something.   
The Moor already changes with my poison [poisonous talk]:   
Dangerous conceits [imaginings; assumptions; suspicions] are in their natures poisons,   
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,            370
But with a little act upon the blood,   
Burn like the mines of sulphur. I did say so:   
Look! where he comes!   
 
Enter OTHELLO.
   
Not poppy [plant from which opium is derived], nor mandragora [plant from which hallucinogenic drugs are derived; pronounced man DRAG or uh],            375
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,   
Shall ever medicine [lull] thee to that sweet sleep   
Which thou ow’dst [owned; had; possessed] yesterday.
OTHELLO:  Ha! ha! false to me? [Ha! ha! Are you saying that Desdemona was unfaithful to me?] 
IAGO:  Why, how now, general! no more of that.            380
OTHELLO:  Avaunt! [Go away!] be gone! thou hast set me on the rack [instrument of torture that stretched the body, used figuratively here];   
I swear ’tis better to be much abus’d   
Than but to know ’t a little.
[I swear . . . little: I swear that it is better to be betrayed by your wife than to have gnawing suspicions that she is betraying you.]
IAGO:  How now, my lord!   
OTHELLO:  What sense had I of her stol’n hours of lust?            385
I saw ’t not, thought it not, it harm’d not me;   
I slept the next night well, was free and merry;   
I found not Cassio’s kisses on her lips;   
[What sense . . . lips: I had no idea that she was stealing away to satisfy her lust with Cassio. I did not see what she was doing, and I did not think about what she was doing. Consequently, I was content and slept well. I did not suspect that any hint of Cassio's kisses was on her lips.]
He that is robb’d, not wanting what is stol’n,   
Let him not know ’t and he’s not robb’d at all.            390
[He that  . . . at all: A man who is robbed but doesn't care about what was taken is a man who was not robbed in the first place.]
IAGO:  I am sorry to hear this.   
OTHELLO:  I had been happy, if the general camp,   
Pioners [pioneers: soldiers of the lowest rank] and all, had tasted her sweet body,   
So I had nothing known. O! now, for ever   
Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content!            395
[I had . . . content: I would have been happy if everyone in the army camp, including the pioneers, had gone to bed with her as long as I had no knowledge of what was going on. But now, it's another story. My mind is no longer at ease. Farewell content!]
Farewell the plumèd troop and the big wars   
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!   
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump [trumpet],   
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,   
The royal banner, and all quality [respect and honor of military rank],            400
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!   
And, O you mortal engines [deadly cannons], whose rude throats   
The immortal Jove’s dread clamours counterfeit
[The immortal . . . counterfeit: Imitate the booming commands of the immortal Jupiter. Jupiter, or Jove, was the Roman name for Zeus, the king of the gods in ancient Greek and Roman mythology.] 
Farewell! Othello’s occupation’s gone! [My job as a military commander is over.] 
IAGO:  Is it possible, my lord?            405
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 wak’d wrath.            410
[Villain . . . wrath: Villain, be sure you can prove that my wife is a whore. I want proof that I can see. If you can't provide such proof, by my eternal soul I will make you wish that you had been born a dog rather than face my wrath.]
IAGO:  Is ’t come to this?   
OTHELLO:  Make me to see ’t; or, at the least, so prove it,   
That the probation bear no hinge nor loop
To hang a doubt on; or woe upon thy life!   
[That the . . . life: that the proof is truly genuine and unassailable. Otherwise, woe upon your life.]
IAGO:  My noble lord,—            415
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 amaz’d;   
For nothing canst thou to damnation add            420
Greater than that.  
[If though . . . than that: If you are telling lies about Desdemona, you are committing deeds more heinous than the worst crimes that send men to the deepest depths of hell.]
IAGO:  O grace! O heaven forgive me!   
Are you a man! have you a soul or sense?   
God be wi’ you; take mine office. O wretched fool!   
That liv’st to make thine honesty a vice.            425
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 [since] love breeds such offence.   
[O grace . . . offence: Heaven forgive me for telling the truth.  Are you a man of common sense? If so, God be with you. As for myself, you might as well get rid of me. I am a wretched fool whose honesty becomes a vice. O world, it's not safe anymore to tell the truth. Henceforth, I won't love anyone as a friend, since my love seems to offend people.]
OTHELLO:  Nay, stay; thou shouldst be honest.            430
IAGO:  I should be wise; for honesty’s a fool,   
And loses that [what] it 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.            435
I’ll have some proof. Her name, that was as fresh   
As Dian’s visage, is now begrim’d and black
[Dian: Diana, the Roman name for Artemis, the goddess of the moon, of hunters and wild animals, and of chastity.]
As mine own face. If there be cords or knives,   
Poison or fire or suffocating streams,
[cords . . . streams: These are all devices or means to commit murder. For example, cords are used for strangulation.]
I’ll not endure it. Would I were satisfied!            440
IAGO:  I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion.   
I do repent me that I put it to you.   
You would be satisfied?   
OTHELLO:  Would! nay, I will.   
IAGO:  And may; but how? how satisfied, my lord?            445
Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on;   
Behold her tupp’d?   
[how satisfied . . . tupp'd: What proof would satisfy you? Do you wish to witness her wrongdoing? Would you like to watch as another man makes love to (tups) her?]
OTHELLO:  Death and damnation! O!   
IAGO:  It were a tedious difficulty, I think,   
To bring them to that prospect; damn them then,            450
If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster   
More than their own! What then? how then?   
What shall I say? Where’s satisfaction?   
[It were . . . satisfaction: It would be difficult to arrange for Cassio and Desdemona to be together. Moreover, the eyes that watch them from hiding would be damned. So what is there to do? How would you get your proof?]
It is impossible you should see this,   
Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys,            455
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 it.            460
[It is impossible . . . have it: It is impossible for you to observe them together even if they were like animals in heat or were dazed with drink. However, it may be possible to impugn them with circumstantial evidence.]
OTHELLO:  Give me a living reason she’s disloyal.   
IAGO:  I do not like the office [I do not like the idea of being a tattletale];   
But, sith [since] I am enter’d [involved] in this cause so far,   
Prick’d to ’t [drawn to it] by foolish honesty and love,   
I will go on. I lay [shared sleeping quarters] with Cassio lately;            465
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.            470
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 pluck’d up kisses by the roots,            475
That grew upon my lips; then laid his leg   
Over my thigh, and sigh’d, and kiss’d; and then   
Cried, ‘Cursed fate, that gave thee to the Moor!’   
OTHELLO:  O monstrous! monstrous!   
IAGO:  Nay, this was but his dream.            480
OTHELLO:  But this denoted a foregone conclusion [something that had already take place]:   
’Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.   
IAGO:  And this may help to thicken other proofs   
That do demonstrate thinly.   
OTHELLO:  I’ll tear her all to pieces.            485
IAGO:  Nay, but be wise; yet we see nothing done [we have not seen her do anything wrong yet];   
She may be honest [faithful] yet. Tell me but this:   
Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief   
Spotted with strawberries in your wife’s hand?   
OTHELLO:  I gave her such a one; ’twas my first gift.            490
IAGO:  I know not that; but such a handkerchief—   
I am sure it was your wife’s—did I to-day   
See Cassio wipe his beard with.   
OTHELLO:  If it be that,—   
IAGO:  If it be that, or any that was hers,            495
It speaks against her with the other proofs.   
OTHELLO:  O! that the slave had forty thousand lives;
One is too poor, too weak for my revenge.
[O! that the . . . revenge: O! that Cassio had forty thousand lives so I could kill him forty thousand times; to kill him once would be insufficient to satisfy me.]    
Now do I see ’tis true. Look here, Iago;   
All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven:            500
’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!            505
[Yield . . . tongues: Desdemona, give up your crown and throne, for I now reject you with tyrannous hate. My bosom swells with bitterness toward you, for it is full of deadly snakes—asps, that would bite you.]
IAGO:  Yet be content.   
OTHELLO:  O! blood, blood, blood!   
IAGO:  Patience, I say; your mind, perhaps, may change.   
OTHELLO:  Never, Iago. Like to the Pontick sea [Black Sea, an inland sea between Asia and Europe],   
Whose icy current and compulsive course            510
Ne’er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on   
To the Propontic and the Hellespont,   
[Propontic: Sea of Marmara, known in ancient times as the Propontis. The body of the sea lies within the borders of Turkey. It is connected to the Black Sea by the Bosphorus strait. Hellespont: Ancient name for the Dardanelles, a strait connecting the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea.]
Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,   
Shall ne’er look back, ne’er ebb to [turn into] humble love,   
Till that a capable and wide revenge            515
Swallow them up.  [Kneels.   
Now, by yond marble heaven,   
In the due reverence of a sacred vow   
I here engage my words. 
[Now,  by . . . words: Now I swear by heaven that I will gain my revenge.] 
IAGO:  Do not rise yet.  [Kneels.            520
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 wrong’d Othello’s service! Let him command,            525
And to obey shall be in me remorse,   
What bloody business ever.  
[Witness, you . . . business ever: May heaven and the passing clouds be witnesses to this oath: that I, Iago, do give up my mind, my hands, my heart to the service of  wronged Othello. His command shall be to me an obligation to carry out, even if the business is bloody.]
OTHELLO:  I greet thy love,   
Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance bounteous,   
And will upon the instant put thee to ’t:            530
Within these three days let me hear thee say   
That Cassio’s not alive.   
IAGO:  My friend is dead; ’tis done at your request:   
But let her live.   
[My friend . . . live: Cassio will die at your request. But let Desdemona live.]
OTHELLO:  Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her!            535
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.   
[Come . . . lieutenant: Come, accompany me while I concoct a swift means of death for the fair devil who is my wife. By the way, you are now my second-in-command.]
IAGO:  I am your own for ever.  [Exeunt.   

Act 3, Scene 4

Before the castle.
Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and CLOWN.

DESDEMONA:  Do you know, sirrah [mister, fellow], where Lieutenant Cassio lies? 
[where . . .  lies: which room in the castle Cassio occupies]
CLOWN:  I dare not say he lies any where.   
DESDEMONA:  Why, man?            5
CLOWN:  He is a soldier; and for one to say a soldier lies, is stabbing [is the same as stabbing him].   
DESDEMONA:  Go to [Be serious]; where lodges he?   
CLOWN:  To tell you where he lodges is to tell you where I lie.   
DESDEMONA:  Can anything be made of this?   
CLOWN:  I know not where he lodges, and for me to devise a lodging, and say he lies here or he lies there, were to lie in mine own throat.            10
DESDEMONA:  Can you inquire him out, and be edified [informed] by report?   
CLOWN:  I will catechize [question closely and carefully] the world for him; that is, make questions, and by them answer.   
DESDEMONA:  Seek him, bid him come hither; tell him I have moved my lord in his behalf [caused Othello to soften toward Cassio], and hope all will be well.   
CLOWN:  To do this is within the compass of man’s wit, and therefore I will attempt the doing it.  [Exit.   
DESDEMONA:  Where should I lose [did I lose] that handkerchief, Emilia?            15
EMILIA:  I know not, madam.   
DESDEMONA:  Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse   
Full of cruzadoes [crusadoes, Portuguese coins of silver or gold]; and, but my noble Moor   
Is true of mind, and made of no such baseness   
As jealous creatures are, it were enough            20
To put him to ill thinking.   
EMILIA:  Is he not jealous?   
DESDEMONA:  Who! he? I think the sun where he was born   
Drew all such humours from him.   
EMILIA:  Look! where he comes.            25
DESDEMONA:  I will not leave him now till Cassio   
Be call’d to him.   
 
Enter OTHELLO.
   
How is ’t with you, my lord?   
OTHELLO:  Well, my good lady.  [Aside.]  O! hardness to dissemble [pretend].            30
How do you, Desdemona?   
DESDEMONA:  Well, my good lord.   
OTHELLO:  Give me your hand. This hand is moist [perhaps indicating passion or desire], my lady.   
DESDEMONA:  It yet has felt no age nor known no sorrow.   
OTHELLO:  This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart;            35
[This . . . heart: The moistness suggests that you are ripe for child-bearing and have a generous heart. Liberal heart can also be interpreted as an oblique comment suggesting that Desdemona freely yields her body to other men.]
Hot, hot, and moist; this hand of yours requires   
A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer,   
Much castigation, exercise devout;   
For here’s a young and sweating devil here,   
That commonly rebels. ’Tis a good hand,            40
A frank one.   
[this hand . . . rebels: Your hand seems to tell me that you need to curtail your freedom and take up fasting, prayer, penance, and devout exercises in order to ward off the devilish temptations that arouse you and make you sweat.]
DESDEMONA:  You may, indeed, say so;   
For ’twas that hand that gave away my heart.
[For . . . heart: At the wedding ceremony, Desdemona pledged her heart to Othello when she held his hand.] 
OTHELLO:  A liberal hand; the hearts of old gave hands,   
But our new heraldry is hands not hearts.            45
[But . . . hearts: People today give their hands but not their hearts.]
DESDEMONA:  I cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.   
OTHELLO:  What promise, chuck?
[chuck: Condescending term of endearment.]   
DESDEMONA:  I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.   
OTHELLO:  I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me [I have a bad cold].   
Lend me thy handkerchief.            50
DESDEMONA:  Here, my lord.   
OTHELLO:  That which I gave you.   
DESDEMONA:  I have it not about me.   
OTHELLO:  Not?   
DESDEMONA:  No, indeed, my lord.            55
OTHELLO:  That is a fault.   
That handkerchief   
Did an Egyptian [gypsy] to my mother give;   
She was a charmer, and could almost read   
The thoughts of people; she told her, while she kept it,            60
’Twould make her amiable and subdue my father   
Entirely to her love, but if she lost it   
Or made a gift of it, my father’s eye   
Should hold her loathed, and his spirits should hunt   
After new fancies [women]. She dying gave it me;            65
And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,   
To give it her. I did so: and take heed on ’t;   
Make it a darling like your precious eye;   
To lose ’t or give ’t away, were such perdition   
As nothing else could match.            70
DESDEMONA:  Is ’t possible?   
OTHELLO:  ’Tis true; there’s magic in the web of it;   
A sibyl [seer; prophetess], that had number’d in the world   
The sun to course two hundred compasses,   
[that . . . compasses: who was two hundred years old]
In her prophetic fury [fit; trance] sew’d the work;            75
The worms were hallow’d [holy; sacred] that did breed the silk,   
And it was dy’d in mummy which the skilful   
Conserv’d of maidens’ hearts.  
[And it . . . hearts: And it was dyed with pigment that skillful artisans made from the hearts of virgins.]
DESDEMONA:  Indeed! is ’t true?   
OTHELLO:  Most veritable; therefore look to ’t well.            80
DESDEMONA:  Then would to heaven that I had never seen it!   
OTHELLO:  Ha! wherefore [why]?   
DESDEMONA:  Why do you speak so startingly and rash?   
OTHELLO:  Is ’t lost? is ’t gone? speak, is it out o’ the way?   
DESDEMONA:  Heaven bless us!            85
OTHELLO:  Say you?   
DESDEMONA:  It is not lost: but what an [and] if it were?   
OTHELLO:  How!   
DESDEMONA:  I say, it is not lost.   
OTHELLO:   Fetch ’t, let me see ’t.            90
DESDEMONA:  Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now.   
This is a trick to put me from my suit [to distract me from my plea on behalf of Cassio]:   
Pray you let Cassio be receiv’d again.   
OTHELLO:  Fetch me the handkerchief; my mind misgives [is suspicious].   
DESDEMONA:  Come, come;            95
You’ll never meet a more sufficient man [a more capable man than Cassio].   
OTHELLO:  The handkerchief!   
DESDEMONA:  I pray, talk me of Cassio.   
OTHELLO:  The handkerchief!   
DESDEMONA:  A man that all his time            100
Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,   
Shar’d dangers with you,—   
OTHELLO:  The handkerchief!   
DESDEMONA:  In sooth [truth] you are to blame.   
OTHELLO:  Away!  [Exit.            105
EMILIA:  Is not this man jealous?   
DESDEMONA:  I ne’er saw this [this kind of behavior in him] before.   
Sure, there’s some wonder in this handkerchief;   
I am most unhappy in the loss of it.   
EMILIA:  ’Tis not a year or two shows us a man;            110
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;   
They eat us hungerly, and when they are full   
They belch us. Look you! Cassio and my husband.
['Tis not . . . belch us: It takes a year or two to get to know a man. Men are stomachs and we are their food. They eat us hungrily. When they have had too much of us, they belch us up.] 
 
Enter IAGO and CASSIO.
   
IAGO:  There is no other way; ’tis she must do ’t:            115
And, lo! the happiness: go and importune her.   
[There is . . . her: There is no other way. Desdemona is the one who must do it. There she is. Go and ask her.]
DESDEMONA:  How now, good Cassio! what’s the news with you?   
CASSIO:  Madam, my former suit [Madam, regarding my attempt to reconcile with Othello]: I do beseech you   
That by your virtuous means I may again   
Exist [be restored to favor], and be a member of his love            120
Whom I with all the office of my heart   
Entirely honour; I would not be delay’d [I would like immediate action on my case].   
If my offence be of such mortal kind   
That nor my service past, nor present sorrows,   
Nor purpos’d merit in futurity,            125
Can ransom me into his love again,   
But to know so must be my benefit;   
So shall I clothe me in a forc’d content,   
And shut myself up in some other course   
To fortune’s alms.            130
[If my offence . . . alms: If my offense is so terrible that nothing can redeem me into his love again—not my past service to him, not my present suffering, not my promise of future devotion to him—then I will walk away and start a new life.]
DESDEMONA:  Alas! thrice-gentle Cassio!   
My advocation is not now in tune;
[My . . . tune: It is not the right time for me to speak up for you to Othello.]   
My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him,   
Were he in favour as in humour alter’d.
[nor should . . . alter'd: Nor would I recognize him if his appearance changed as much as his mood.]
So help me every spirit sanctified,            135
[So . . . sanctified: I swear by every saintly spirit]
As I have spoken for you all my best   
And stood within the blank [bull's-eye; target] of his displeasure   
For my free speech. You must awhile be patient;   
What I can do I will, and more I will   
Than for myself I dare: let that suffice you.            140
IAGO:  Is my lord angry?   
EMILIA:  He went hence but now,   
And, certainly in strange unquietness.   
IAGO:  Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,   
[Can he . . .  cannon: Can he really be angry now, at a time of peace, considering that he remains calm on the battlefield? I have seen the cannon]
When it hath blown his ranks [soldiers] into the air,            145
And, like the devil, from his very arm   
Puff’d [blasted; blew away] his own brother; and can he be angry?
Something of moment then [if he is really angry, something important must have set him off]; I will go meet him;   
There’s matter [There's a serious problem] in ’t indeed, if he be angry.   
DESDEMONA:  I prithee [pray thee], do so.  [Exit IAGO.]  Something, sure, of state,            150
Either from Venice, or some unhatch’d practice [some   
Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,   
Hath puddled his clear spirit; and, in such cases   
Men’s natures wrangle with inferior things,   
Though great ones are their object. ’Tis even so;            155
[Something, sure . . . object: Some government problem in Venice or some nefarious plot here in Cyprus must have clouded his mind. In such a case, men tend to be touchy and irritable about minor matters even though great matters confront them.]
For let our finger ache, and it indues [induces] 
Our other healthful members ev’n to that sense   
Of pain. Nay, we must think men are not gods,   
Nor of them look for such observancy   
As fits the bridal. Beshrew [scold; reprove] me much, Emilia,            160
[Nor of . . . bridal: Nor look for them to act with the same gentle joy that they did on their wedding day.]
I was—unhandsome warrior as I am—   
Arraigning [criticizing] his unkindness with my soul;   
But now I find I had suborn’d the witness [I had committed perjury],   
And he’s indicted [accused] falsely.   
EMILIA:  Pray heaven it be state-matters [government matters], as you think,            165
And no conception, nor no jealous toy [suspicion]  
Concerning you.   
DESDEMONA:  Alas the day! I never gave him cause.   
EMILIA:  But jealous souls will not be answer’d so;   
They are not ever jealous for the cause,            170
But jealous for they are jealous; ’tis a monster   
Begot upon itself, born on itself.   
DESDEMONA:  Heaven keep that monster from Othello’s mind!   
EMILIA:  Lady, amen.   
DESDEMONA:  I will go seek him. Cassio, walk here-about;            175
If I do find him fit, I’ll move your suit [plead your case] 
And seek to effect it to my uttermost.   
CASSIO:  I humbly thank your ladyship.  [Exeunt DESDEMONA and EMILIA.   
 
Enter BIANCA.
   
BIANCA:  Save you, friend Cassio!            180
CASSIO:  What make you from home [Why have you left your home to come here]?   
How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?   
I’ faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.   
BIANCA:  And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.   
What! keep a week away? seven days and nights?            185
Eight score eight hours [the number of hours in a week, 168]? and lovers’ absent hours,   
More tedious than the dial eight score times [pass 160 times more slowly than they do for other people]?   
O weary reckoning!   
CASSIO:  Pardon me, Bianca,   
I have this while with leaden [weighty] thoughts been press’d,            190
But I shall, in a more continuate time [a more leisurely time, free of interruptions],   
Strike off this score of absence [end my absence from you]. Sweet Bianca.  [Giving her DESDEMONA’S handkerchief.   
Take me this work out [Copy the pattern in this handkerchief].   
BIANCA:  O Cassio! whence came this?   
This is some token from a newer friend;            195
To the felt absence now I feel a cause [now I know why you have been absent];   
Is ’t come to this? Well, well.   
CASSIO:  Go to, woman!   
Throw your vile guesses in the devil’s teeth,   
From whence you have them. You are jealous now            200
That this is from some mistress, some remembrance:   
No, in good troth, Bianca.   
[Go to . . . Bianca: Come now, woman! Throw your vile guesses to the devil, who put them in your mind. You are jealous that this handkerchief is a remembrance for me from some other woman. But I swear to you, Bianca, it is not.]
BIANCA:  Why, whose is it?   
CASSIO:  I know not, sweet; I found it in my chamber.   
I like the work [the design of it] well; ere [before] it be demanded,—            205
As like enough it will,—I’d have it copied;   
Take it and do ’t; and leave me for this time.   
BIANCA:  Leave you! wherefore [why]?   
CASSIO:  I do attend here on [wait here for] the general,   
And think it no addition nor my wish            210
To have him see me woman’d [with a woman].   
BIANCA:  Why, I pray you?   
CASSIO:  Not that I love you not.   
BIANCA:   But that you do not love me.   
I pray you, bring me on the way a little            215
And say if I shall see you soon at night.   
CASSIO:  ’Tis but a little way that I can bring you,   
For I attend here; but I’ll see you soon.   
BIANCA:  ’Tis very good; I must be circumstanc’d [rejected; repulsed; put off].  [Exeunt.   

Act 4, Scene 1

Cyprus. Before the castle.
Enter OTHELLO and IAGO.

IAGO:  Will you think so?   
OTHELLO:  Think so, Iago!   [Think what? Speak plainly.]
IAGO:   What!            5
To kiss in private? [What's so bad about kissing in private?] 
OTHELLO:  An unauthoriz’d kiss.   
IAGO:  Or to be naked with her friend a-bed   
An hour or more, not meaning any harm?
[Or to . . . harm: And what's so bad about being naked in bed with him if she kept her distance and did no wrong?] 
OTHELLO:  Naked a-bed, Iago, and not mean harm?            10
It is hypocrisy against the devil:   
They that mean virtuously, and yet do so,   
The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven.   
[Naked . . . tempt heaven: You can't be serious! Naked in bed but did not mean to do anything?
[It is hypocrisy . . . heaven: It's a joke on the devil. If Desdemona and Cassio got in bed but meant to be virtuous, they are inviting the devil's temptation and the wrath of heaven.
IAGO:  If they do nothing, ’tis a venial slip; [venial sin. In Roman Catholicism, a venial sin is a lesser sin, like telling a white lie. A serious sin—like adultery and murder—is called a mortal sin.]
But if I give my wife a handkerchief,—            15
OTHELLO:  What then?   
IAGO:  Why, then, ’tis hers, my lord; and, being hers,   
She may, I think, bestow ’t on any man.   
OTHELLO:  She is protectress of her honour [body; virtuous character; chastity] too;   
May she give that?            20
IAGO:  Her honour is an essence that’s not seen;   
They have it very oft that have it not: 
[They have . . . not: Many women maintain their honor in the public eye even though in secret they have violated it.]
But for the handkerchief,—   
OTHELLO:  By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it:—   
Thou said’st,—O! it comes o’er my memory,            25
As doth the raven o’er the infected house,   
Boding to all,—he had my handkerchief.   
[Thou . . . handkerchief: What you have said about a wife giving away a handkerchief presented to her by her husband—O, this thought obsesses me. I picture a raven hovering above and announcing to everyone that Desdemona gave her handkerchief to Cassio.]
IAGO:  Ay, what of that?   
OTHELLO:  That’s not so good now.   
IAGO:  What,            30
If I had said I had seen him do you wrong?   
Or heard him say, as knaves be such abroad,   
Who having, by their own importunate suit,   
Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,   
Convinced or supplied them, cannot choose            35
But they must blab.   
[What . . . blab: What if I told I saw him wrong you? What if a heard him blab in public that he conquered Desdemona?]
OTHELLO:  Hath he said any thing?   
IAGO:  He hath, my lord; but be you well assur’d,   
No more than he’ll unswear. [He won't admit to any wrongful deeds.]
OTHELLO:  What hath he said?            40
IAGO:  Faith, that he did—I know not what he did.   
OTHELLO:  What? what?   
IAGO:  Lie—   
OTHELLO:  With her?   
IAGO:  With her, on her; what you will.            45
OTHELLO:  Lie with her! lie on her! We say, lie on her, when they belie her [when all along I thought people were spreading lies about her]. Lie with her! that’s fulsome [disgusting]. Handkerchief,—confessions,—handkerchief! To confess, and be hanged for his labour. [Cassio should confess his offenses and be hanged.] First, to be hanged, and then to confess: I tremble at it. Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some instruction. [Nature would not make me so angry unless Desdemona were guilty.] It is not words that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips. Is it possible?—Confess!—Handkerchief!—O devil!  [Falls in a trance.   
IAGO:  Work on,   
My medicine, work! Thus credulous [easily duped; gullible] fools are caught;   
And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,   
All guiltless, meet reproach. What, ho! my lord!            50
My lord, I say! Othello!   
 
Enter CASSIO.
   
How now, Cassio!   
CASSIO:  What’s the matter?   
IAGO:  My lord is fallen into an epilepsy;            55
This is his second fit; he had one yesterday.   
CASSIO:  Rub him about the temples.   
IAGO:  No, forbear;   
The lethargy must have his quiet course,  [His fit must be allowed to run its course]
If not [otherwise] he foams at mouth, and by and by            60
Breaks out to savage madness. Look! he stirs;   
Do you withdraw yourself a little while,   
He will recover straight; when he is gone,   
I would on great occasion speak with you.  [Exit CASSIO.   
How is it, general? have you not hurt your head?            65
OTHELLO:  Dost thou mock me?   
IAGO:  I mock you! no, by heaven.   
Would you would bear your fortune like a man!   
OTHELLO:  A hornèd man’s a monster and a beast.   
[A hornèd man: A cuckold, a man with an unfaithful wife]
IAGO:  There’s many a beast then, in a populous city,            70
And many a civil [mannerly; well-behaved] monster.   
OTHELLO:  Did he confess it?   
IAGO:  Good sir, be a man;   
Think every bearded fellow that’s but yok’d [married]  
May draw with you. There’s millions now alive            75
That nightly lie in those unproper beds   
Which they dare swear peculiar; your case is better.   
[every bearded  . . . better: Every married fellow is vulnerable to infidelity. In fact, millions of men nightly sleep with unfaithful wives whom the men think are angels. Your case is better  because at least you know that your wife is unfaithful.]
O! ’tis the spite of hell, the fiend’s arch-mock,   
To lip a wanton in a secure couch,   
And to suppose her chaste. No, let me know;            80
And knowing what I am I know what she shall be.   
[O! . . . shall be: O! Hell spites and mocks the man who kisses his wife in bed in the belief that she is faithful and that no other man has ever occupied his place in bed. Well, I'd like to know that my wife is cheating on me.]
OTHELLO:  O! thou art wise; ’tis certain.   
IAGO:  Stand you awhile apart;   
Confine yourself but in a patient list.   
Whilst you were here o’erwhelmed with your grief,—            85
A passion most unsuiting such a man,—   
Cassio came hither; I shifted him away,   
And laid good ’scuse upon your ecstasy;   
Bade him anon return and here speak with me;   
The which he promis’d. Do but encave yourself,            90
And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns,   
That dwell in every region of his face;  
[Stand you . . . his face: Go to a place nearby and hide. Then get control of yourself while you prepare to observe something. Let me explain. After you were overwhelmed with emotion and fell into a fit, Cassio came by.  I gave him a good excuse for what happened to you and asked him to return in a short while to speak with me. He promised to do so. So go hide yourself. When Cassio returns, notice how his face reveals the derision and scorn he reserves for you.]
For I will make him tell the tale anew,   
Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when   
He hath, and is again to cope [copulate with; have sex with] your wife:            95
I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience;   
Or I shall say you are all in all in spleen [you are in a state that allows your violent emotions to control you],   
And nothing of a man.   
OTHELLO:  Dost thou hear, Iago?   
I will be found most cunning in my patience;            100
But—dost thou hear?—most bloody.   
IAGO:  That’s not amiss;   
But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?  [OTHELLO goes apart.   
Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,   
A housewife that by selling her desires [by . . . desires: By selling herself as a prostitute]           105
Buys herself bread and clothes; it is a creature   
That dotes on Cassio; as ’tis the strumpet’s [whore's; prostitute's] plague   
To beguile many and be beguil’d by one [To attract many men and be in love with one].   
He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain   
From the excess of laughter. Here he comes:            110

Re-enter CASSIO.
   
As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad;   
And his unbookish [uninformed; unlearned; created by lies told to him] jealousy must construe   
Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behaviour   
Quite in the wrong. How do you now, lieutenant?            115
CASSIO:  The worser that you give me the addition [that you call me lieutenant]
Whose want even kills me [whose desire to be reinstated in that rank kills me]
IAGO:  Ply [Plead with] Desdemona well, and you are sure on ’t.   
[Speaking lower.]  Now, if this suit lay in Bianca’s power,   
How quickly should you speed [be reinstated]!            120
CASSIO:  Alas! poor caitiff [thing; wretch]!   
OTHELLO:  Look! how he laughs already! [Othello speaks to himself in his hiding place.] 
IAGO:  I never knew woman love man so.   
CASSIO:  Alas! poor rogue, I think, i’ faith, she loves me.   
OTHELLO:  Now he denies it faintly, and laughs it out.            125
IAGO:  Do you hear, Cassio?   
OTHELLO:  Now he importunes him   
To tell it o’er: go to; well said, well said.   
IAGO:  She gives it out that you shall marry her;   
Do you intend it?            130
CASSIO:  Ha, ha, ha!   
OTHELLO:  Do you triumph, Roman? do you triumph?  [Othello compares Cassio to Roman soldiers who marched in triumphal procession after returning to Rome from victories in war.]
CASSIO:  I marry her! what? a customer? I prithee, bear some charity to my wit; do not think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!   
[I marry . . . unwholesome: Are you asking me if I want to marry a harlot? Please don't insult my intelligence. Don't think some disease has ravaged my senses.]
OTHELLO:  So, so, so, so. They laugh that win [The winner laughs at the loser].   
IAGO:  Faith, the cry [rumor] goes that you shall marry her.            135
CASSIO:  Prithee, say true. [You must be joking]
IAGO:  I am a very villain else. [If the rumor is false, I am a villain.]  
OTHELLO:  Have you scored me? Well. [Are you trying to get back at me for demoting you? Have you marked (scored) me for revenge?]
CASSIO:  This is the monkey’s own giving out: she is persuaded I will marry her, out of her own love and flattery, not out of my promise.   
OTHELLO:  Iago beckons me; now he begins the story.            140
CASSIO:  She was here even now; she haunts me in every place. I was the other day talking on the sea bank with certain Venetians, and thither come this bauble [toy; insignificant person], and, by this hand, she falls me thus about my neck;— [she wraps her arms around my neck] 
OTHELLO:  Crying, ‘O dear Cassio!’ as it were; his gesture imports it.   
CASSIO:  So hangs and lolls and weeps upon me; so hales [tugs; jerks] and pulls me; ha, ha, ha!   
OTHELLO:  Now he tells how she plucked him to my chamber. O! I see that nose of yours, but not the dog I shall throw it to.   
CASSIO:  Well, I must leave her company.            145
IAGO:  Before me! look, where she comes.   
Cas  ’Tis such another fitchew! marry, a perfumed one. [Cassio compares Bianca to a fitchew, a polecat that marks its territory with a foul-smelling fluid. Here, the fitchew is "a perfumed one."]

Enter BIANCA.
   
What do you mean by this haunting of me?   
BIANCA:  Let the devil and his dam haunt you! What did you mean by that same handkerchief you gave me even now? I was a fine fool to take it. I must take out the work! [copy the design]! A likely piece of work, that you should find it in your chamber, and not know who left it there! This is some minx’s [harlot's] token, and I must take out the work! There, give it your hobby-horse [harlot]; wheresoever you had [obtained] it I’ll take out no work on ’t.            150
CASSIO:  How now, my sweet Bianca! how now, how now!   
OTHELLO:  By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!   
BIANCA:  An [If] you’ll come to supper to-night, you may; an [if] you will not, come when you are next prepared for.  [Exit.   
IAGO:  After her, after her.   
CASSIO:  Faith, I must; she’ll rail in the street else.            155
IAGO:  Will you sup there?   
CASSIO:  Faith, I intend so.   
IAGO:  Well, I may chance to see you, for I would very fain speak with you.   
CASSIO:  Prithee, come; will you?   
IAGO:  Go to [Get going]; say no more.  [Exit CASSIO.            160
OTHELLO:  [Advancing.]  How shall I murder him, Iago?   
IAGO:  Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?   
OTHELLO:  O! Iago!   
IAGO:  And did you see the handkerchief?   
OTHELLO:  Was that mine?            165
IAGO:  Yours, by this hand; and to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife! she gave it him, and he hath given it his whore.   
OTHELLO:  I would have him nine years a-killing. [I wish I could kill him again and again, for nine years.] A fine woman! a fair woman! a sweet woman!   
IAGO:  Nay, you must forget that.   
OTHELLO:  Ay, let her rot, and perish, and be damned to-night; for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned to stone; I strike it, and it hurts my hand. O! the world hath not a sweeter creature; she might lie by an emperor’s side and command him tasks.   
IAGO:  Nay, that’s not your way.            170
OTHELLO:  Hang her! I do but say what she is. So delicate with her needle! An admirable musician! O, she will sing the savageness out of a bear. Of so high and plenteous wit [intelligence] and invention!   
IAGO:  She’s the worse for all this.   
OTHELLO:  O! a thousand, a thousand times. And then, of so gentle a condition!   
IAGO:  Ay, too gentle.   
OTHELLO:  Nay, that’s certain;—but yet the pity of it, Iago! O! Iago, the pity of it, Iago!            175
IAGO:  If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her patent to offend; for, if it touch not you, it comes near nobody.
[If you . . . nobody: If you are so fond of this sinner, give her permission to be unfaithful. If her conduct doesn't bother you, it won't bother others.]  
OTHELLO:  I will chop her into messes. Cuckold me!  [How dares she to cheat on me!]
IAGO:  O! ’tis foul in her.   
OTHELLO:  With mine officer! [To cheat with my own officer!] 
IAGO:  That’s fouler.            180
OTHELLO:  Get me some poison, Iago; this night: I’ll not expostulate [reason; argue] with her, lest her body and beauty unprovide [soften; weaken] my mind again. This night, Iago.
IAGO:  Do it not with poison, strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated.   
OTHELLO:  Good, good; the justice of it pleases; very good.   
IAGO:  And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker; you shall hear more by midnight.   
OTHELLO:  Excellent good.  [A trumpet within.            185
What trumpet is that same?   
IAGO:  Something from Venice, sure. ’Tis Lodovico,   
Come from the duke; and see, your wife is with him.   
 
Enter LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants.

LODOVIDO:  God save you, worthy general!            190
OTHELLO:   With all my heart, sir.   
LODOVICO:  The duke and senators of Venice greet you.  [Gives him a packet.   
OTHELLO:  I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.  [Opens the packet, and reads.   
DESDEMONA:  And what’s the news, good cousin Lodovico?   
IAGO:  I am very glad to see you, signior;            195
Welcome to Cyprus.   
LODOVICO:  I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?   
IAGO:  Lives, sir.   
DESDEMONA:  Cousin, there’s fall’n between him and my lord   
An unkind breach; but you shall make all well.            200
OTHELLO:  Are you sure of that?   
DESDEMONA:  My lord?   
OTHELLO:  [Reads] "This fail you not to do, as you will—[Do not fail to do this, as you will—]" 
LODOVICO:  He did not call [reply]; he’s busy in the paper [busy reading a letter from the packet].   
Is there division ’twixt my lord and Cassio?            205
DESDEMONA:  A most unhappy one; I would do much   
To atone [reconcile] them, for the love I bear to Cassio.   
OTHELLO:  Fire and brimstone!   
DESDEMONA:  My lord?   
OTHELLO:  Are you wise? [Are they serious?]           210
DESDEMONA:  What! is he angry?   
LODOVICO:  May be the letter mov’d him;   
For, as I think, they do command him home,   
Deputing Cassio in his government [assigning Cassio to govern in his place].   
DESDEMONA:  Trust me, I am glad on ’t.            215
OTHELLO:  Indeed!   
DESDEMONA:  My lord?   
OTHELLO:  I am glad to see you mad. [I am glad that you are crazy enough to say such things to my face.]  
DESDEMONA:  Why, sweet Othello?   
OTHELLO:  Devil!  [Strikes her.            220
DESDEMONA:  I have not deserved this.   
LODOVICO:  My lord, this would not be believ’d in Venice,   
Though I should swear I saw ’t: ’tis very much [very much unlike you];   
Make her amends, she weeps.   
OTHELLO:  O devil, devil!            225
If that the earth could teem with woman’s tears,   
Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile. [Each teardrop would be false and insincere. She's like a crocodile that cries to pretend that it is sorry for eating a victim.]  
Out of my sight!   
DESDEMONA:  I will not stay to offend you.  [Going.   
LODOVICO:  Truly, an obedient lady;            230
I do beseech your lordship, call her back.   
OTHELLO:  Mistress!   
DESDEMONA:  My lord?   
OTHELLO:  What would you with her, sir?   
LODOVICO:  Who, I, my lord?            235
OTHELLO:  Ay; you did wish that I would make her turn:   
Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on,   
And turn again; and she can weep, sir, weep;   
And she’s obedient, as you say, obedient,   
Very obedient. Proceed you in your tears.            240
Concerning this, sir,—O well-painted [faked; pretended] passion!—   
I am commanded home. Get you [Desdemona] away;   
I’ll send for you anon [soon]. Sir, I obey the mandate,   
And will return to Venice. Hence! [Be off, Desdemona!] avaunt! [Get out of my sight!] [Exit DESDEMONA.   
Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, to-night,            245
I do entreat that we may sup together;   
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus. Goats and monkeys! [An allusion to Desdemona and Cassio as animals with unbridled lust.] [Exit.   
LODOVICO:  Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate   
Call all-in-all sufficient? is this the noble nature   
Whom passion could not shake? whose solid virtue            250
The shot of accident nor dart of chance   
Could neither graze nor pierce?   
IAGO:  He is much chang’d.   
LODOVICO:  Are his wits safe? [Is he in his right mind?] is he not light of brain?   
IAGO:  He’s that he is; I may not breathe my censure.            255
What he might be, if, what he might, he is not,   
I would to heaven he were!   
[He's that . . . he were: He is who he is. I won't breathe a word against him. But I wish to heaven he would be the man that he should be.]
LODOVICO:  What! strike his wife!   
IAGO:  Faith, that was not so well; yet would I knew   
That stroke would prove the worst!            260
[Faith . . . worst: In truth, that was a bad thing. I wish I could say that the slap would prove to be his worst offense after all is said and done.]
LODOVICO:  Is it his use? [Has he been exhibiting such behavior lately?]  
Or did the letters work upon his blood,   
And new-create this fault?   
IAGO:  Alas, alas!   
It is not honesty in me to speak            265
What I have seen and known. You shall observe him,   
And his own courses [behavior] will denote [describe] him so   
That I may save my speech. Do but go after   
And mark how he continues [notice what he does].   
LODOVICO:  I am sorry that I am deceiv’d in him.  [Exeunt.            270

Act 4, Scene 2

A room in the castle.
Enter OTHELLO and EMILIA.

OTHELLO:  You have seen nothing, then?   
EMILIA:  Nor ever heard, nor ever did suspect.   
OTHELLO:  Yes, you have seen Cassio and her together.            5
EMILIA:  But then I saw no harm, and then I heard   
Each syllable that breath made up between them.   
OTHELLO:  What! did they never whisper?   
EMILIA:  Never, my lord.   
OTHELLO:  Nor send you out o’ the way?            10
EMILIA:  Never.   
OTHELLO:  To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing?   
EMILIA:  Never, my lord.   
OTHELLO:  That’s strange.   
EMILIA:  I durst [dare], my lord, to wager she is honest [faithful],            15
Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other,   
Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom.   
If any wretch have put this in your head,   
Let heaven requite [condemn] it with the serpent’s curse!   
For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true,            20
There’s no man happy; the purest of their wives   
Is foul as slander.   
OTHELLO:  Bid her come hither; go.  [Exit EMILIA.   
She says enough; yet she’s a simple bawd   
That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore,            25
A closet lock and key of villanous secrets;   
And yet she’ll kneel and pray; I have seen her do ’t.   
[She says . . . secrets: Desdemona knows what to say to appear innocent. But she's no better than a common prostitute who doesn't have my wife's gift of words. Desdemona is a subtle whore with a closetful of dirty secrets.]
 
Re-enter EMILIA with DESDEMONA.
   
DESDEMONA:  My lord, what is your will?   
OTHELLO:  Pray, chuck [attractive woman], come hither.            30
DESDEMONA:  What is your pleasure?   
OTHELLO:   Let me see your eyes;   
Look in my face.   
DESDEMONA:  What horrible fancy’s this?   
OTHELLO:  [To EMILIA.]  Some of your function, mistress;            35
Leave procreants [husband and wife; man and woman capable of producing offspring] alone and shut the door;   
Cough or cry ‘hem’ if any body come;   
Your mystery, your mystery; nay, dispatch.  [Exit EMILIA.  
[Your mystery . . . dispatch: That's your profession, to stand guard for couples about to have sex. Leave us.]
DESDEMONA:  Upon my knees, what doth your speech import?   
I understand a fury in your words,            40
But not the words.   
OTHELLO:  Why, what art thou?   
DESDEMONA:  Your wife, my lord; your true   
And loyal wife.   
OTHELLO:  Come, swear it, damn thyself;             45
Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves   
Should fear to seize thee; therefore be double-damn’d;   
Swear thou art honest.   
[Come . . . seize thee: Swear that you are loyal. In doing so, you would be damning yourself by telling a horrid lie. But if you don't tell such a lie, the devils will be afraid to seize you in the belief that you are like an angel in heaven. Now that you know what's at stake, swear that you are faithful to me.]
DESDEMONA:  Heaven doth truly know it.   
OTHELLO:  Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.            50
DESDEMONA:  To whom, my lord? with whom? how am I false?   
OTHELLO:  Ah! Desdemona; away, away, away!   
DESDEMONA:  Alas, the heavy day!—Why do you weep?   
Am I the motive of these tears, my lord?   
If haply you my father do suspect            55
An instrument of this your calling back,   
[If haply . . . back: If perhaps you suspect that my father is responsible for having you called back to Venice,]
Lay not your blame on me; if you have lost him,   
Why, I have lost him too.   
OTHELLO:  Had it pleas’d heaven   
To try [test] me with affliction [disease and suffering], had he [God] rain’d            60
All kinds of sores, and shames, on my bare head,   
Steep’d me in poverty to the very lips,   
Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes,   
I should have found in some part of my soul   
A drop of patience; but, alas! to make me            65
The fixed figure for the time of scorn   
To point his slow and moving finger at;   
[to make . . . finger at: To make me an eternal object of scorn to point His accusatory finger at]
Yet could I bear that too; well, very well:   
But there, where I have garner’d up my heart,   
Where either I must live or bear no life,            70
The fountain from the which my current runs   
Or else dries up; to be discarded thence!   
[But there . . . thence: But you, who have my heart, are the fountain from which springs a future of children and happiness, or nothing at all.]
To be discarded by you grieves me deeply.
Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads   
To knot and gender in! Turn thy complexion there,   
Patience, thou young and rose-lipp’d cherubin;            75
Ay, there, look grim as hell!   
[Or keep . . . hell: Or keep your womb as a cistern for foul toads to breed in. Turn your gaze there, Patience, and what you see will be as grim as hell. (Here, Patience is personified as a cherubin, an angel.]
DESDEMONA:  I hope my noble lord esteems me honest [faithful].   
OTHELLO:  O! ay; as summer flies are in the shambles [meat market; slaughterhouse; scene of bloodshed],   
That quicken even with blowing [that reproduce every time the wind blows.]. O thou weed!   
Who art so lovely fair and smell’st so sweet            80
That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst ne’er been born.   
DESDEMONA:  Alas! what ignorant sin [sin unknown to me] have I committed?   
OTHELLO:  Was this fair paper, this most goodly book,   
Made to write ‘whore’ upon? What committed!   
[Was this . . . committed: Othello compares Desdemona to paper in a book, asking whether the paper was made to write whore on.]
Committed! O thou public commoner!            85
I should make very forges of my cheeks,   
That would to cinders burn up modesty,   
Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed!   
Heaven stops the nose at it and the moon winks,   
The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets            90
Is hush’d within the hollow mine of earth,   
[O thou . . . earth: O you common prostitute! Speaking of your evil deeds heats my anger to a point that would burn to cinders your pretended modesty. What offense did you commit? Heaven holds its nose at it, the moon looks away, and the roaming wind halts at the horror of it.]
And will not hear it. What committed!   
Impudent strumpet!   
DESDEMONA:  By heaven, you do me wrong.   
OTHELLO:  Are not you a strumpet?            95
DESDEMONA:  No, as I am a Christian.   
If to preserve this vessel for my lord   
From any other foul unlawful touch   
Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.   
OTHELLO:  What! not a whore?            100
DESDEMONA:  No, as I shall be sav’d.   
OTHELLO:  Is it possible?   
DESDEMONA:  O! heaven forgive us.   
OTHELLO:  I cry you mercy, then;   
I took you for that cunning whore of Venice            105
That married with Othello. You, mistress,   
That have the office opposite to Saint Peter,   
And keep the gate of hell!   
 
Re-enter EMILIA.
   
You, you, ay, you!            110
We have done our course; there’s money for your pains.   
I pray you, turn the key and keep our counsel.  [After I leave, lock the door and keep quiet about my meeting with Desdemona.] [Exit.   
EMILIA:  Alas! what does this gentleman conceive? [What is this gentleman up to?] 
How do you, madam? how do you, my good lady?   
DESDEMONA:  Faith, half asleep.            115
EMILIA:  Good madam, what’s the matter with my lord?   
DESDEMONA:  With who?   
EMILIA:  Why, with my lord, madam.   
DESDEMONA:  Who is thy lord?   
EMILIA:  He that is yours, sweet lady.            120
DESDEMONA:  I have none; do not talk to me, Emilia;   
I cannot weep, nor answer have I none,   
But what should go by water. Prithee, to-night   
[I cannot . . . water: I have no answers to any of your questions. Only my tears could give answers, but I cannot weep.]
Lay on my bed my wedding sheets: remember:   
And call thy husband hither.            125
EMILIA:  Here is a change indeed!  [Exit.   
DESDEMONA:  ’Tis meet I should be us’d so, very meet.   
How have I been behav’d, that he might stick   
The small’st opinion on my least misuse? 
['Tis meet . . .  misuse:  The way Othello is treating me is just. But tell me what I have done to cause him to criticize me for the tiniest offense?]
 
Re-enter EMILIA, with IAGO.            130

IAGO:  What is your pleasure, madam? How is it with you?   
DESDEMONA:  I cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes   
Do it with gentle means and easy tasks;   
He might have chid me so; for, in good faith,   
I am a child to chiding.            135
[He might . . . chiding: He should have scolded (chid) me with the same gentleness that parents use to scold little children. For I am new to scolding, like a small child.]
IAGO:  What’s the matter, lady?   
EMILIA:  Alas! Iago, my lord hath so bewhor’d her,   
Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her,   
As true hearts cannot bear.
[my lord . . . bear: Othello has repeatedly accused Desdemona of being a whore. Moreover, he has exhibited such hatred toward her and rained such horrid criticism on her that I wonder whether her good heart can bear up.] 
DESDEMONA:  Am I that name, Iago?            140
IAGO:  What name, fair lady?   
DESDEMONA:  Such as she says my lord did say I was.   
EMILIA:  He call’d her whore; a beggar in his drink   
Could not have laid such terms upon his callat [prostitute; whore].   
IAGO:  Why did he so?            145
DESDEMONA:  I do not know; I am sure I am none such.   
IAGO:  Do not weep, do not weep. Alas the day!   
EMILIA:  Has she forsook [passed up] so many noble matches [suitors],   
Her father and her country and her friends,   
To be call’d whore? would it not make one weep?            150
DESDEMONA:  It is my wretched fortune.   
IAGO:  Beshrew him for it! [Shame on him!] 
How comes this trick upon him? [What caused him to say horrible things about you?]
DESDEMONA:  Nay, heaven doth know.   
EMILIA:  I will be hang’d, if some eternal villain,            155
Some busy and insinuating rogue,   
Some cogging cozening slave, to get some office,   
Have not devis’d this slander; I’ll be hang’d else.   
[Heaven doth . . . else: I'll be hanged if some villain—some deceitful, cowardly good-for-nothing—has not slandered you in order to get some position or promotion.]
IAGO:  Fie! there is no such man; it is impossible.   
DESDEMONA:  If any such there be, heaven pardon him!            160
EMILIA:  A halter [noose] pardon him, and hell gnaw his bones!   
Why should he [Othello] call her whore? who keeps her company?   
What place? what time? what form? what likelihood?   
The Moor’s abus’d by some most villanous knave,   
Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow.            165
O heaven! that such companions thou’dst unfold,   
[that such  . . . unfold: I wish you would expose such awful men]
And put in every honest hand a whip   
To lash the rascals naked through the world,   
Even from the east to the west!   
IAGO:  Speak within door. [Don't talk so loud. People outside might hear you.]          170
EMILIA:  O! fie upon them. Some such squire he was   
That turn’d your wit the seamy side without,   
And made you to suspect me with the Moor.  
[O! fie . . . the Moor: O, fie on the people outside. It was probably some busybody that turned your common sense inside out and made you suspect that I had sex with Othello.]
IAGO:  You are a fool; go to. [Keep quiet, you fool.] 
DESDEMONA:  O good Iago,            175
What shall I do to win my lord again?   
Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,   
I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:   
If e’er my will did trespass ’gainst his love,   
Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,            180
Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,   
Delighted them in any other form;   
Or that I do not yet, and ever did,   
And ever will, though he do shake me off   
To beggarly divorcement, love him dearly,            185
Comfort forswear me! Unkindness may do much;   
And his unkindness may defeat my life,  
[If e'er my . . . my life: Never did I trespass against his love in thought or deed. Never did my eyes, ears, or other senses take delight in another man. I have always loved Othello and always will even though it appears that he wants nothing to do with me. His unkindness is killing me.]
But never taint my love. I cannot say ‘whore:’   
It does abhor me now I speak the word;   
To do the act that might the addition earn            190
Not the world’s mass of vanity could make me. 
[To do . . . me: To have sex with anyone other than Othello for pleasure or for gaining a benefit for myself or another is something that I would never do.]
IAGO:  I pray you be content, ’tis but his humour [Othello's mood];   
The business of the state does him offence,   
And he does chide with you. 
[The business . . . you: The business of state puts great stress on him, and he takes out his frustrations on you.]
DESDEMONA:  If ’twere no other,—            195
IAGO:  ’Tis but so, I warrant.  [Trumpets.   
Hark! how these instruments summon to supper;   
The messengers of Venice stay the meat:   
Go in, and weep not; all things shall be well.  [Exeunt DESDEMONA and EMILIA.   
 
Enter RODERIGO.            200

How now, Roderigo!   
RODERIGO:  I do not find that thou dealest justly with me.   
IAGO:  What in the contrary?   
RODERIGO:  Every day thou daffest me [put me off] with some device, Iago; and rather, as it seems to me now, keepest from me all conveniency [opportunity], than suppliest me with the least advantage of hope. I will indeed no longer endure it, nor am I yet persuaded to put up in peace [to accept quietly] what already I have foolishly suffered.   
IAGO:  Will you hear me, Roderigo?            205
RODERIGO:  Faith, I have heard too much, for your words and performances are no kin together.   
IAGO:  You charge me most unjustly.   
RODERIGO:  With nought but truth. I have wasted myself out of my means. The jewels you have had from me to deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a votarist [person who has taken a vow to lead a holy life]; you have told me she has received them, and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance, but I find none.
[and returned . . . acquaintance: And assured me that I could expect to receive her attentions] 
IAGO:  Well; go to; very well. [Well, persevere. Things are still very well for you.] 
RODERIGO:  Very well! go to! I cannot go to, man; nor ’tis not very well: by this hand, I say, it is very scurvy [mean; despicable; contemptible], and begin to find myself fobbed [tricked; deceived; fooled] in it.            210
IAGO:  Very well.   
RODERIGO:  I tell you ’tis not very well. I will make myself known to Desdemona; if she will return me my jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my unlawful solicitation; if not, assure yourself I will seek satisfaction of you.   
IAGO:  You have said now. [You have spoken your mind.] 
RODERIGO:  Ay, and said nothing, but what I protest intendment of doing. [Yes, and everything I said I would do I will do.] 
IAGO:  Why, now I see there’s mettle [strength; courage] in thee, and even from this instant do build on thee a better opinion than ever before. Give me thy hand, Roderigo; thou hast taken against me a most just exception [thou hast rightly taken me to task]; but yet, I protest, I have dealt most directly in thy affair [but I have tried to do my best for you].            215
RODERIGO:  It hath not appeared. [It does not appear to me that you did so.] 
IAGO:  I grant indeed it hath not appeared, and your suspicion is not without wit [reason] and judgment. But, Roderigo, if thou hast that in thee indeed, which I have greater reason to believe now than ever, I mean purpose, courage, and valour, this night show it: if thou the next night following [tomorrow night] enjoy not Desdemona, take me from this world with treachery and devise engines for my life [devise ways to kill me].   
RODERIGO:  Well, what is it [the plan]? is it within reason and compass? [is it a good one that can be carried out?]  
IAGO:  Sir, there is especial commission come from Venice to depute Cassio in Othello’s place.   
RODERIGO:  Is that true? why, then Othello and Desdemona return again to Venice.            220
IAGO:  O, no! he goes into Mauritania, and takes away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be lingered here [unless he be detained here] by some accident; wherein none can be so determinate as [none can be better than] the removing of Cassio.   
RODERIGO:  How do you mean, removing of him?   
IAGO:  Why, by making him uncapable of Othello’s place; knocking out his brains.   
RODERIGO:  And that you would have me do?   
IAGO:  Ay; if you dare do yourself a profit and a right. He sups to-night with a harlotry [Cassio is dining tonight with a prostitute], and thither will I go to him; he knows not yet of his honourable fortune. If you will watch his going thence,—which I will fashion to fall out between twelve and one,—you may take him at your pleasure; I will be near to second your attempt, and he shall fall between us. Come, stand not amazed at it, but go along with me; I will show you such a necessity in his death that you shall think yourself bound to put it on [to kill] him. It is now high supper-time, and the night grows to waste; about it [about it: Let's go about our task.].            225
RODERIGO:  I will hear further reason for this.   
IAGO:  And you shall be satisfied.  [Exeunt.   

Act 4, Scene 3

Another room in the castle.
Enter OTHELLO, LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and Attendants.

LODOVICO:  I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.   
OTHELLO:  O! pardon me; ’twill do me good to walk.   
LODOVICO:  Madam, good night; I humbly thank your ladyship.            5
DESDEMONA:  Your honour is most welcome.   
OTHELLO:  Will you walk, sir?   
O! Desdemona,—   
DESDEMONA:  My lord?   
OTHELLO:  Get you to bed on the instant; I will be returned forthwith; dismiss your attendant there; look [see that] it be done.            10
DESDEMONA:  I will, my lord.  [Exeunt OTHELLO, LODOVICO, and Attendants.   
EMILIA:  How goes it now? he looks gentler than he did.   
DESDEMONA:  He says he will return incontinent [shortly];   
He hath commanded me to go to bed,   
And bade me to dismiss you.            15
EMILIA:  Dismiss me!   
DESDEMONA:  It was his bidding; therefore, good Emilia,   
Give me my nightly wearing [nightgown], and adieu [good-bye]:   
We must not now displease him.   
EMILIA:  I would you had never seen him.            20
DESDEMONA:  So would not I [I think otherwise]; my love doth so approve [praise; commend] him,   
That even his stubbornness, his checks and frowns,—   
Prithee [Please], unpin me,—have grace and favour in them.   
EMILIA:  I have laid those sheets [wedding sheets] you bade me on the bed.   
DESDEMONA:  All’s one [It doesn't really matter]. Good faith! how foolish are our minds!            25
If I do die before thee, prithee, shroud [wrap] me   
In one of those same sheets.  
EMILIA:  Come, come, you talk [Come, come, don't speak of such things].   
DESDEMONA:  My mother had a maid call’d Barbara;   
She was in love, and he [the man] she lov’d prov’d mad            30
And did forsake her [an allusion to Othello's forsaking of Desdemona]; she had a song of ‘willow;’   
An old thing ’twas, but it express’d her fortune,   
And she died singing it; that song to-night   
Will not go from my mind; I have much to do   
But to go hang my head all at one side,            35
And sing it like poor Barbara. Prithee, dispatch. 
[But to . . . dispatch: I feel like hanging my head and singing a sad song like Barbara. Please, hurry up with your tasks.]
EMILIA:  Shall I go fetch your night-gown?   
DESDEMONA:  No, unpin me here.   
This Lodovico is a proper man.   
EMILIA:  A very handsome man.            40
DESDEMONA:  He speaks well.   
EMILIA:  I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether [lower] lip.   

DESDEMONA:
    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 murmur’d her moans;
      Sing willow, willow, willow:
    Her salt tears fell from her, and soften’d the stones;—
   
Lay by these:—
    Sing willow, 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,—
            45
Nay, that’s not next. Hark! who is it that knocks?   
EMILIA:  It is the wind.   
DESDEMONA:
    I call’d my love false love; but what said he then?
      Sing willow, willow, willow:
    If I court moe women, you’ll couch with moe men.
   
[The "Willow Song": In poetry and verse, a willow tree often symbolizes loss of, or abandonment by, a lover. Desdemona has lost Othello's love and laments the loss in the "Willow Song," which she apparently learned from her mother and her mother's servant, Barbara. Barbara's lover had forsaken her, and she expressed her sorrow in the song. Desdemona adds her own words to the song when she sings, "Let nobody blame him [Othello], his scorn I approve." Emilia corrects her, saying, "Nay, that's not next." One might be tempted to conclude that Desdemona had in mind a weeping willow, a variety of willow with branches that sag and droop as if in mourning. However, the weeping willow—of Chinese origin—was not introduced into England until the 1700s. A willow tree plays a role in another major Shakespeare play, Hamlet. Ophelia, suffering deep depression after Hamlet rejects her and her father dies, drowns in a pond after falling from the branch of a willow. Note that Desdemona interrupts the song with instructions for Emilia: "Lay by these—" and "Prithee, hie thee; he'll come anon.]

So, get thee gone; good night. Mine eyes do itch;   
Doth that bode weeping? [Does that mean I am about to weep?]            50
EMILIA:  ’Tis neither here nor there.   
DESDEMONA:  I have heard it said so. O! these men, these men!   
Dost thou in conscience think, tell me, Emilia,   
That there be women do abuse [who are unfaithful to] their husbands   
In such gross kind?            55
EMILIA:  There be some such, no question.   
DESDEMONA:  Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?   
EMILIA:  Why, would not you?   
DESDEMONA:  No, by this heavenly light!   
EMILIA:  Nor I neither by this heavenly light;            60
I might do ’t as well i’ the dark.   
DESDEMONA:  Wouldst thou do such a deed [cheating on your husband] for all the world?   
EMILIA:  The world is a huge thing; ’tis a great price [reward]  
For a small vice.   
DESDEMONA:  In troth [truth], I think thou wouldst not.            65
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 [finger jewelry with two or more rings joined to form one ring], nor measures of lawn [very fine fabric used to make clothing], nor for gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty exhibition; but for the whole world, who would not make her husband a cuckold [man with an unfaithful wife] to make him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for ’t.  [Emilia errs in her interpretation of Roman Catholic theology. Roman Catholics believe that adultery is a mortal (deadly) sin. If the sinner dies before repenting, he or she goes to hell. A person who dies with venial (less serious) sins on his or her soul goes to Purgatory. There, the venial sins are purged to make the person worthy of going to heaven.]
DESDEMONA:  Beshrew [curse] me, if I would do such a wrong   
For the whole world.   
EMILIA:  Why, the wrong is but a wrong i’ the world; and having the world for your labour, ’tis a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right.   
[Why, the . . . it right: Why, committing adultery is not so bad, especially considering that you would win the world for what you did. Once you have the world, all you have to do is repent or make up for your wrongdoing.]
DESDEMONA:  I do not think there is any such woman.            70
EMILIA:  Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage, as would store the world they played for.   
[Yes . . . for: Yes, a dozen. In fact, as many women who would vie for the world as a prize for their infidelity. In other words, tens of thousands—even millions—of women.]
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, 
[Say that . . .  laps: Say that husbands begin tiring of their wives and ignoring them, then pour themselves into the laps of other women.] 
Or else break out in peevish jealousies,            75
Throwing restraint upon us; or, say they strike us,   
Or scant [reduce] our former having [former allowance] in despite [spite]
Why, we have galls [bitter fluids excreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder; bitter feelings; irritabilities], and though we have some grace [willingness to forgive our husbands],   
Yet have we some [desire to gain] revenge. Let husbands know   
Their wives have sense like them; they see and smell,            80
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 [passion; desire; lust] breed it?   
I think it doth; is ’t frailty that thus errs?            85
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.   
DESDEMONA:  Good night, good night; heaven me such usage send,            90
Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!  [Exeunt. 
[heaven . . . mend: Heaven help me to avoid imitating the bad behavior of women who commit such ills.] 

Act 5, Scene 1

Cyprus, a street.
Enter IAGO and RODERIGO

IAGO:  Here, stand behind this bulk [wall of a stand or cubicle used by street vendor]; straight will he come:   
Wear thy good rapier bare, and put it home.  
Quick, quick; fear nothing; I’ll be at thy elbow.            5
[Wear . . . elbow: Keep your sword unsheathed, and at the right time run him through. Be quick and have no fear. I will back you up.]
It makes us, or it mars us; think on that,   
And fix most firm thy resolution [And be determined].   
RODERIGO:  Be near at hand; I may miscarry in ’t. [Make sure you are nearby in case something goes wrong.]
IAGO:  Here, at thy hand: be bold, and take thy stand.  [Retires.   
RODERIGO:  I have no great devotion to the deed;            10
And yet he has given me satisfying reasons:   
’Tis but a man gone: forth, my sword; he dies. 
['Tis . . . dies: Only one man will be gone. When I wield my sword, he will die.]
IAGO:  I have rubb’d this young quat almost to the sense,
And he grows angry. Now, whether he kill Cassio,   
[I have . . . angry: This young man swells with pus. I have rubbed him to the point of bursting. Now he is agitated and angry.]
Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other,            15
Every way makes my gain: live Roderigo,   
He calls me to a restitution large   
Of gold and jewels that I bobb’d from him,   
As gifts to Desdemona;   
It must not be: if Cassio do remain,            20
He hath a daily beauty in his life   
That makes me ugly; and, besides, the Moor   
May unfold me to him; there stand I in much peril.   
No, he must die. But so; I hear him coming.
[live Roderigo . . . him coming: If Roderigo survives, he will ask me for the gold and jewels I took from him while pretending they were gifts for Desdemona. I can't let go of those gains. If Cassio survives, he will be around to remind me of how handsome he is and how ugly I am. Besides, Othello might disclose to him the lies I told to him. I would be in great danger. Therefore, Cassio must die. I hear him coming.]
 
Enter CASSIO.            25

RODERIGO:  I know his gait; ’tis he. Villain, thou diest!  [Makes a pass at CASSIO.   
CASSIO:  That thrust had been mine enemy indeed   
But that my coat is better than thou know’st;   
I will make proof of thine. 
[That thrust . . . thine: That thrust would have wounded me if I had not been wearing chain mail under my coat. Now I will test whatever you're wearing for protection. (Roderigo is wearing no armor.)]
[Draws, and wounds RODERIGO.  
RODERIGO:  O! I am slain.  [IAGO from behind wounds CASSIO in the leg, and exits.            30
CASSIO:  I am maim’d for ever. Help, ho! murder! murder!  [Falls.   
 
Enter OTHELLO, at a distance.
   
OTHELLO:  The voice of Cassio: Iago keeps his word.   
RODERIGO:  O! villain that I am!   
OTHELLO:  It is e’en so [That's true].           35
CASSIO:  O, help, ho! light! a surgeon!   
OTHELLO:  ’Tis he: O brave Iago, honest and just!   
That hast such noble sense of thy friend’s wrong; [You were right all along;] 
Thou teachest me [I have learned a lesson]. Minion, your dear lies dead,   
And your unblest fate hies; strumpet, I come!            40
Forth of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted;   
Thy bed lust-stain’d shall with lust’s blood be spotted.  [Exit. 
[Minion . . . spotted: Desdemona, your lover lies dead. (But Cassio is still alive.) And your unblest fate—to go to hell—is about to manifest itself. Whore, I am coming! I have blotted out from my mind the image of your charming eyes. Now I will bloody your lust-stained bed.]
 
Enter LODOVICO and GRATIANO, at a distance.
   
CASSIO:  What ho! no watch? no passage? [no guard? no one passing by?] murder! murder!   
GRATIANO:  ’Tis some mischance; the cry is very direful. [Gratiano and Lodovico are too far away to recognize Cassio or his voice.]            45
CASSIO:  O, help!   
LODOVICO:  Hark!   
RODERIGO:  O [I am a] wretched villain!   
LODOVICO:  Two or three groan: it is a heavy night;   
These may be counterfeits [pretenders; fakes]; let’s think ’t [it] unsafe            50
To come in to the cry without more help.   
RODERIGO:  Nobody come? then shall I bleed to death.   
LODOVICO:  Hark!   
 
Re-enter IAGO, with a light.
   
GRATIANO:  Here’s one comes in his shirt [nightshirt], with light and weapons.            55
IAGO:  Who’s there? whose noise is this that cries on murder?   
LODOVICO:  We do not know.   
IAGO:  Did not you hear a cry?   
CASSIO:  Here, here! for heaven’s sake, help me.   
IAGO:  What’s the matter?            60
GRATIANO:  This is Othello’s ancient [Iago], as I take it.   
LODOVICO:  The same indeed; a very valiant fellow.   
IAGO:  What are you here that cry so grievously?   
CASSIO:  Iago? O! I am spoil’d, undone by villains!   
Give me some help.            65
IAGO:  O me, lieutenant! what villains have done this?   
CASSIO:  I think that one of them is hereabout,   
And cannot make away.   
IAGO: O treacherous villains!   
[To LODOVICO and GRATIANO.]  What are you there? come in, and give some help.            70
RODERIGO:  O! help me here.   
CASSIO:  That’s one of them.   
IAGO:  O murderous slave! O villain!  [Stabs RODERIGO.   
RODERIGO:  O damn’d Iago! O inhuman dog!   
IAGO:  Kill men i’ the dark! Where be these bloody thieves [assailants]?            75
How silent is this town! Ho! murder! murder!   
What may you be? are you of good or evil?   
LODOVICO:  As you shall prove us, praise us [See for yourself].   
IAGO:  Signior Lodovico?   
LODOVICO:  He, sir.            80
IAGO:  I cry you mercy. Here’s Cassio hurt by villains.   
GRATIANO:  Cassio!   
IAGO:  How is it, brother?   
CASSIO:  My leg is cut in two.   
IAGO:  Marry, heaven forbid,            85
Light, gentlemen; I’ll bind it [the wound] with my shirt.   
 
Enter BIANCA.
   
BIANCA:  What is the matter, ho? who is ’t that cried?   
IAGO:  Who is ’t that cried!   
BIANCA:  O my dear Cassio! my sweet Cassio!            90
O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!   
IAGO:  O notable strumpet! Cassio, may you suspect [do you know] 
Who they should be that have thus mangled you?   
CASSIO:  No.   
GRATIANO:  I am sorry to find you thus; I have been to seek you.            95
IAGO:  Lend me a garter. So. O! for a chair,   
To bear him easily hence!   
BIANCA:  Alas! he faints! O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!   
IAGO:  Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash [Bianca] 
To be a party in this injury.            100
Patience awhile, good Cassio. Come, come.   
Lend me a light. Know we this face, or no?   
Alas! my friend and my dear countryman,   
Roderigo? no: yes, sure, O heaven! Roderigo.   
GRATIANO:  What! of Venice?            105
Iago  Even he, sir: did you know him?   
GRATIANO:  Know him! ay.   
IAGO:  Signior Gratiano? I cry you gentle pardon;   
These bloody accidents must excuse my manners,   
That so neglected you.            110
GRATIANO:  I am glad to see you.   
IAGO:  How do you, Cassio? O! a chair, a chair!   
GRATIANO:  Roderigo!  [A chair brought in.   
IAGO:  He, he, ’tis he.—O! that’s well said; the chair:   
Some good men bear him carefully from hence;            115
I’ll fetch the general’s surgeon.  [To BIANCA.]  For you, mistress,   
Save you your labour [Don't bother to help]. He that lies slain [wounded] here, Cassio,   
Was my dear friend. What malice was between you?   
CASSIO:  None in the world; nor do I know the man.   
IAGO:  [To BIANCA.]  What! look you pale? O! bear him out o’ the air—  [CASSIO and RODERIGO are borne off.            120
Stay you, good gentlemen. Look you pale, mistress?—   
Do you perceive the gastness of [fear in] her eye?   
Nay, if you stare, we shall hear more anon [more from her soon].   
Behold her well; I pray you, look upon her:   
Do you see, gentlemen? nay, guiltiness will speak            125
Though tongues were out of use. 
[Behold . . . use: Look her over closely. Do you see, gentlemen, that her guiltiness speaks in her countenance when her tongue will not.]
 
Enter EMILIA.
   
EMILIA:  ’Las! [Alas!] what’s the matter? what’s the matter, husband?   
IAGO:  Cassio hath here been set on [attacked] in the dark   
By Roderigo and fellows that are ’scap’d [escaped villains]:            130
He’s almost slain, and Roderigo dead.   
EMILIA:  Alas! good gentleman; alas! good Cassio!   
IAGO:  This is the fruit of whoring. [This is what happens when you associate with whores.] Prithee, Emilia,   
Go know of Cassio where he supp’d to-night.   
What! do you shake at that?            135
[Go know . . . that: Go ask Cassio where he had dinner tonight? What! Does my question make you, Bianca, quiver nervously?]
BIANCA:  He supp’d at my house; but I therefore shake not.   
IAGO:  O! did he so? I charge you, go with me.   
EMILIA:  Fie, fie upon thee, strumpet!  [A curse upon thee, whore!]
BIANCA:  I am no strumpet, but of life as honest   
As you that thus abuse me.            140
EMILIA:  As I! foh! fie upon thee!   
IAGO:  Kind gentlemen, let’s go see poor Cassio dress’d [bandaged].   
Come, mistress, you must tell’s [tell us] another tale.   
Emilia, run you to the citadel,   
And tell my lord and lady what hath happ’d.            145
Will you go on afore?  [Aside.]  This is the night   
That either makes me or fordoes [breaks] me quite.  [Exeunt.   

Act 5, Scene 2

A bedchamber in the castle. DESDEMONA in bed asleep. A light burning.
Enter OTHELLO.

OTHELLO:  It [Desdemona's supposed infidelity] is the cause, it is the cause, my soul;   
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars!   
It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood,            5
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,   
And smooth as monumental alabaster
[monumental alabaster: Alabaster is a white, semitransparent, or opaque type of gypsum, a stonelike mineral. Alabaster is used to make monuments, statues, and vases.]
Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men.   
Put out the light, and then put out the light:   
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,            10
I can again thy former light restore,   
Should I repent me; but once put out thy light,   
Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,   
I know not where is that Promethean heat   
That can thy light relume. When I have pluck’d the rose,            15
[Put out . . . relume: I'll put out the candlelight. Then I'll kill Desdemona, who had been the light of my life. If I put out the candle, I can simply light it again to restore its fire. But once I kill you, Desdemona—you sly creation of nature—not even Prometheus could restore your fire. (In Greek mythology, the god Prometheus assured the survival of the human race by stealing fire from Mount Olympus in defiance of the king of the gods, Zeus.]
I cannot give it vital growth again,   
It needs must wither: I’ll smell it on the tree.  [I'll smell this rose (Desdemona) while she still lives on the bush.] [Kisses her.   
O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade   
Justice to break her sword! One more, one more.  
[O balmy . . . more: O, your sweet breath almost persuades me to spare you. One more kiss, one more.]
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,            20
And love thee after. One more, and this the last:  
[Be thus . . . last: If you are so appealing when you are dead, I will kill you once more just to love your appeal. One more kiss, the last.]
So sweet [a kiss] was ne’er so fatal. I must weep,   
But they are cruel tears; this sorrow’s heavenly,   
It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.   
DESDEMONA:  Who’s there? Othello?            25
OTHELLO:  Ay, Desdemona.   
DESDEMONA:  Will you come to bed, my lord?   
OTHELLO:  Have you pray’d to-night, Desdemona?   
DESDEMONA:  Ay, my lord.   
OTHELLO:  If you bethink yourself of any crime            30
Unreconcil’d as yet to heaven and grace,   
Solicit for it straight.   
[If you . . . straight: If you think you have committed a sin that heaven has not yet forgiven, ask for forgiveness now.]
DESDEMONA:  Alas! my lord, what may you mean by that?   
OTHELLO:  Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by:   
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit;            35
No; heaven forfend [prevent; protect against; forbid]! I would not kill thy soul.   
DESDEMONA:  Talk you of killing?   
OTHELLO:  Ay, I do.   
DESDEMONA:  Then heaven   
Have mercy on me!            40
OTHELLO:  Amen! with all my heart.   
DESDEMONA:  If you say so, I hope you will not kill me.   
OTHELLO:  Hum!   
DESDEMONA:  And yet I fear you; for you are fatal then   
When your eyes roll so. Why I should fear I know not,            45
Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.   
OTHELLO:  Think on thy sins.   
DESDEMONA:  They are loves I bear to you.   
OTHELLO:  Ay, and for that thou diest.   
DESDEMONA:  That death’s unnatural that kills for loving.            50
Alas! why gnaw you so your nether [lower] lip?   
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame;   
These are portents [bad signs], but yet, I hope, I hope   
They do not point on me.   
OTHELLO:  Peace, and be still!            55
DESDEMONA:  I will so. What’s the matter?   
OTHELLO:  That handkerchief which I so lov’d and gave thee   
Thou gav’st to Cassio.   
DESDEMONA:  No, by my life and soul!   
Send for the man and ask him.            60
OTHELLO:  Sweet soul, take heed,   
Take heed of perjury; thou’rt on thy death-bed.   
DESDEMONA:  Ay, but not yet to die.   
OTHELLO:  Yes, presently;   
Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin;            65
For to deny each article with oath   
Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception   
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.
[For to . . . withal: For to deny on oath each of the sins that make me groan will not make you innocent—at least in my eyes.]
DESDEMONA:  Then Lord have mercy on me!   
OTHELLO:  I say, amen.            70
 DESDEMONA:  And have you mercy too! I never did   
Offend you in my life; never lov’d Cassio   
But with such general warranty [approval] of heaven   
As I might love [all human beings]; I never gave him token [the handkerchief or any other token].   
OTHELLO:  By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in ’s hand.            75
O perjur’d woman! thou dost stone my heart,   
And mak’st me call what I intend to do   
A murder, which I thought [would be] a sacrifice:   
I saw the handkerchief.   
DESDEMONA:  He found it then;            80
I never gave it [to] him. Send for him hither;   
Let him confess a truth.   
OTHELLO:  He hath confess’d.   
DESDEMONA:  What, my lord?   
OTHELLO:  That he hath us’d thee.            85
DESDEMONA:  How? unlawfully?   
OTHELLO:  Ay.   
DESDEMONA:  He will not say so.   
OTHELLO:  No; his mouth is stopp’d:   
Honest Iago hath ta’en order for ’t [has seen to it].            90
DESDEMONA:  O! my fear interprets. What! is he dead?  [O! I fear for his life. Is he dead?]
OTHELLO:  Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge   
Had stomach for them all [would have killed each one of them].   
DESDEMONA:  Alas! he is betray’d and I undone.   
OTHELLO:  Out, strumpet! Weep’st thou for him to my face? [Out with it, whore! Are you crying for him to my face?]            95
DESDEMONA:  O! banish me, my lord, but kill me not!   
OTHELLO:  Down, strumpet!   
DESDEMONA:  Kill me to-morrow; let me live to-night!   
OTHELLO:  Nay, if you strive,—   
DESDEMONA:  But half an hour!            100
OTHELLO:  Being done, there is no pause. [I am done with thinking about your fate. I cannot grant you a pause.] 
DESDEMONA:  But while I say one prayer!   
OTHELLO:  It is too late.  [He smothers her.   
EMILIA:  [Within.]  My lord, my lord! what, ho! my lord, my lord! [Within: A stage direction indicating that Emilia's cries are shouted outside the bedroom—that is, offstage.]   
OTHELLO:  What noise is this? Not dead? not yet quite dead?            105
[What . . . quite dead: Is that noise Desdemona's voice? Is she still alive?]
I that am cruel am yet merciful;   
I would not have thee linger in thy pain.   
So, so.   
EMILIA:  [Within.]  What, ho! my lord, my lord!
OTHELLO:  Who’s there?            110
EMILIA:  [Within.]  O! good my lord, I would speak a word with you!   
OTHELLO:  Yes; ’tis Emilia: by and by. She’s dead.
’Tis like she comes to speak of Cassio’s death;   
The noise was high. Ha! no more moving?   
Still as the grave. Shall she come in? Were ’t good?            115
I think she stirs again: no. What’s best to do? 
[Yes . . . best to do: Othello says to himself, "Yes, it is Emilia outside." Then he raises his voice and says to Emilia, "By and by" ("just give me a moment"). Othello then resumes talking to himself. He says, "She's dead," meaning that he believes Desdemona is dead. Othello then speculates that Emilia has come to inform him that Cassio is dead (which he is not). Othello remarks that the noisiness of the incident involving Cassio and Roderigo may have attracted Emilia to the scene. Looking at Desdemona's apparently lifeless body, Othello says, "Ha! no more moving?; / Still as the grave. Shall she (Emilia) come in? Were 't good (a good thing)?" Othello then says Desdemona seems to be stirring, then says she is indeed dead. He wonders what to do next.]
If she [Emilia] come in she’ll sure speak to my wife:   
My wife! my wife! what wife? I have no wife:   
O, insupportable! [O, this is too heavy a burden to bear.] O heavy hour!   
Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse            120
Of sun and moon, and that the affrighted globe [frightened earth]
Should yawn at alteration [Should be wonderstruck at the change]
EMILIA:  [Within.]  I do beseech you   
That I may speak with you, O! good my lord.   
OTHELLO:  I had forgot thee: O! come in, Emilia:            125
Soft, by and by: let me the curtains draw. [Just a minute: let me draw the bed curtains.]  
Where art thou?  [Unlocks the door.   
 
Enter EMILIA.
   
What’s the matter with thee now?   
EMILIA:  O! my good lord, yonder’s foul murder done.            130
OTHELLO:  What! now?   
EMILIA:  But now, my lord.   
OTHELLO:  It is the very error of the moon;   
She comes more near the earth than she was wont,   
And makes men mad.            135
[She comes . . . mad: When the moon comes closer to the earth, it drives men mad.]
EMILIA:  Cassio, my lord, has kill’d a young Venetian   
Call’d Roderigo.   
OTHELLO:  Roderigo kill’d!   
And Cassio kill’d?   
EMILIA:  No, Cassio is not kill’d.            140
OTHELLO:  Not Cassio kill’d! then murder’s out of tune,  [then murder has taken the wrong man]
And sweet revenge grows harsh.  [And my revenge is unfulfilled.]
DESDEMONA:  O! falsely, falsely murder’d.   
EMILIA:  Alas! what cry is that?   
OTHELLO:  That! what?            145
EMILIA:  Out, and alas! that was my lady’s voice:   
Help! Help, ho! help! O lady, speak again!   
Sweet Desdemona! O! sweet mistress, speak.   
DESDEMONA:  A guiltless death I die.   
EMILIA:  O! who hath done this deed?            150
DESDEMONA:  Nobody; I myself; farewell:   
Commend me to my kind lord. O! farewell!  [Dies.   
OTHELLO:  Why, how should she be murder’d?   
EMILIA:  Alas! who knows?   
OTHELLO:  You heard her say herself it was not I.            155
EMILIA:  She said so; I must needs report the truth.   
OTHELLO:  She’s like a liar gone to burning hell;   
’Twas I that kill’d her.   
EMILIA:  O! the more angel she,   
And you the blacker devil.            160
OTHELLO:  She turn’d to folly [She gave in to her lust], and she was a whore.   
EMILIA:  Thou dost belie her [falsify her character], and thou art a devil.   
OTHELLO:  She was false as water.  [Desdemona was unreliable and unstable, like a river or an ocean that may be calm and serene one moment, then wild and tempestuous the next.]
EMILIA:  Thou art rash as fire to say   
That she was false: O! she was heavenly true.            165
OTHELLO:  Cassio did tup [have sex with] her; ask thy husband else.   
O! I were damn’d beneath all depth in hell   
But that I did proceed upon just grounds   
To this extremity. Thy husband knew it all.   
[O! I were . . . it all: O! I would be damned to the lowest part of hell if I did not have justice on my side in killing her. Your husband knew all about her infidelity.]
EMILIA:  My husband!            170
OTHELLO:  Thy husband.   
EMILIA:  That she was false to wedlock?   
OTHELLO:  Ay, with Cassio. Nay, had she been true,   
If heaven would make me such another world   
Of one entire and perfect chrysolite [gemstone],            175
I’d not have sold her for it.   
[If heaven . . . for it: If heaven had offered me a spectacular gemstone as large as the earth in trade for Desdemona, I would not have given her up so long as she remained faithful to me.]
EMILIA:  My husband!   
OTHELLO:  Ay, ’twas he that told me first:   
An honest man he is, and hates the slime   
That sticks on filthy deeds.            180
EMILIA:  My husband!   
OTHELLO:  What needs this iterance [repetition], woman? I say thy husband.   
EMILIA:  O mistress! villany hath made mocks with love.   
My husband says that she was false!   
[O mistress . . . false: O, my poor mistress, a villain—my husband—has made a mockery of your love for Othello. He dares to say that you were unfaithful.]
OTHELLO:  He, woman;             185
I say, thy husband: dost understand the word?   
[He . . . word: Yes, I say that it was he, woman, your husband. Don't you understand the word?]
My friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago.   
EMILIA:  If he say so, may his pernicious soul   
Rot half a grain a day! he lies to the heart:   
She was too fond of her most filthy bargain.            190
[If he . . . bargain: If Iago says Desdemona was unfaithful, may he rot inch by inch. He is a liar. Desdemona was too fond of you even though her marriage to you was a filthy bargain.]
OTHELLO:  Ha!   
EMILIA:  Do thy worst:   
This deed of thine is no more worthy heaven   
Than thou wast worthy her.   
OTHELLO:  Peace! you were best.  [Peace! You had best say no more.]         195
EMILIA:  Thou hast not half the power to do me harm   
As I have to be hurt. O gull! O dolt!   
[Thou . . . dolt!: You don't have half the power to inflict pain on me as I have to endure it. O you gullible fool! How stupid you are!]
As ignorant as dirt! thou hast done a deed,—   
I care not for thy sword; I’ll make thee known,   
Though I lost twenty lives. Help! help, ho! help!            200
[I care . . . lives: Your sword doesn't scare me. I'll expose you even if you kill me twenty times.]
The Moor has kill’d my mistress! Murder! murder!   
 
Enter MONTANO, GRATIANO, IAGO, and Others.
   
MONTANO:  What is the matter? How now, general!   
EMILIA:  O! are you come, Iago? you have done well,   
That men must lay their murders on your neck.            205
GRATIANO:  What is the matter?   
EMILIA:  Disprove this villain if thou be’st [be] a man:   
He says thou told’st him that his wife was false.   
I know thou didst not, thou’rt not such a villain.   
Speak, for my heart is full.            210
[Disprove . . . heart is full: Iago, prove that Othello is a liar if you are a man. He says you told him that his wife was unfaithful. Speak, my heart is at the breaking point.]
IAGO:  I told him what I thought, and told no more   
Than what he found himself was apt and true.   
EMILIA:  But did you ever tell him she was false?   
IAGO:  I did.   
EMILIA:  You told a lie, an odious damned lie;            215
Upon my soul, a lie, a wicked lie.   
She false with Cassio! Did you say with Cassio?   
IAGO:  With Cassio, mistress. Go to, charm your tongue.  [Now hold your tongue.]
EMILIA:  I will not charm my tongue; I am bound to speak.   
My mistress here lies murder’d in her bed.            220
All.  O heavens forfend [forbid]!   
EMILIA:  And your reports have set the murder on.   
OTHELLO:  Nay, stare not, masters; it is true, indeed.   
GRATIANO:  ’Tis a strange truth.   
MONTANO:  O monstrous act!            225
EMILIA:  Villany [Villainy]! villany! villany!   
I think upon ’t, I think, I smell ’t; O villany!   
I thought so then; I’ll kill myself for grief. 
[I thought . . . grief: I suspected foul play when Iago took Desdemona's handkerchief from me. I'll kill myself out of grief.]
O! villany, villany!   
IAGO:  What! are you mad? I charge you, get you home.            230
EMILIA:  Good gentlemen, let me have leave to speak:   
’Tis proper I obey him, but not now.   
Perchance, Iago, I will ne’er go home.   
OTHELLO:  O! O! O!  [Falls on the bed.   
EMILIA:  Nay, lay thee down and roar, [As you lie there, you should roar with regret]           235
For thou hast kill’d the sweetest innocent   
That e’er did lift up eye.   
OTHELLO:  O! she was foul.   
I scarce did know you, uncle. There lies your niece,
[Uncle: Reference to Gratiano, the brother of Desdemona's father, Brabantio, and therefore Desdemona's uncle. Gratiano became Othello's "uncle-in-law" when Othello married Desdemona.]  
Whose breath, indeed, these hands have newly stopp’d:            240
I know this act shows terrible and grim.   
GRATIANO:  Poor Desdemona! I am glad thy father’s dead.   
Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief   
Shore his old thread in twain: did he live now,   
This sight would make him do a desperate turn,            245
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,   
And fall to reprobation.   
[Thy match . . . reprobation: Your marriage to Othello was a deadly blow to him. Your father's grief over the marriage cut him in two. If he were still alive, this sight would make him curse heaven even at the risk damnation.]
OTHELLO:  ’Tis pitiful; but yet Iago knows   
That she with Cassio hath the act of shame   
A thousand times committed; Cassio confess’d it:            250
And she did gratify [reward] his amorous works   
With that recognizance and pledge of love  [the handkerchief as a symbol and pledge of love]
Which I first gave her. I saw it in his hand:   
It was a handkerchief, an antique token   
My father gave my mother.            255
EMILIA:  O heaven! O heavenly powers!   
IAGO:  Come, hold your peace. [Shut up.]  
EMILIA:  ’Twill out, ’twill out; I hold my peace, sir? no;   
No, I will speak as liberal as the north;   
Let heaven and men and devils, let them all,            260
All, all, cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak. 
['Twill . . . I'll speak: The truth will come out. Will I be quiet about it? No, sir. I will speak out as liberally as the north wind blows across the world. Heaven, hell, and earth may all cry shame against me . But I will have my say.]
IAGO:  Be wise, and get you home.   
EMILIA:  I will not.  [IAGO offers to stab EMILIA.   
GRATIANO:  Fie!   
Your sword upon a woman?            265
EMILIA:  O thou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou speak’st of   
I found by fortune and did give [to] my husband;   
For often, with a solemn earnestness,   
More than, indeed, belong’d to such a trifle,   
He begg’d of me to steal it.            270
IAGO:  Villanous whore!   
EMILIA:  She give it Cassio! no, alas! I found it,   
And I did give ’t [to] my husband.   
IAGO:  Filth, thou liest!   
EMILIA:  By heaven, I do not, I do not, gentlemen.            275
O murderous coxcomb [buffoon]! what should such a fool   
Do with so good a wife?   
OTHELLO:  Are there no stones in heaven   
But what serve for the thunder? Precious villain!  [He runs at IAGO.  IAGO stabs EMILIA, and exits.
[Are these . . . thunder: Are there no lightning bolts in heaven that will kill Iago instead of merely making thunder? You unmitigated villain!] 
GRATIANO:  The woman falls: sure, he has kill’d his wife.            280
EMILIA:  Ay, ay; O! lay me by my mistress’ side.   
GRATIANO:  He’s gone; but his wife’s kill’d.   
MONTANO:  ’Tis a notorious villain. Take you this weapon,   
Which I have here recover’d from the Moor.   
Come, guard the door without; let him not pass,            285
But kill him rather. I’ll after that same villain,   
For ’tis a damnèd slave.  [Exeunt MONTANO and GRATIANO.   
OTHELLO:  I am not valiant neither,   
But every puny whipster [tiny person; insignificant person] gets my sword.   
But why should honour outlive honesty?            290
[But why . . . honesty: Why should my reputation as a man and as a military leader outlive the honesty of Desdemona, who was loyal and faithful to me after all?]
Let it go all.   
EMILIA:  What did thy song bode, lady?   
Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan,   
And die in music:—
[ I will . . . music: In myth and legend, a swan was said to sing a song when it was dying.]
[singing] Willow, willow, willow.
Moor, she was chaste; she lov’d thee, cruel Moor;            295
So come my soul to bliss [heaven] as I speak true;   
So speaking as I think, I die, I die.  [Dies.   
OTHELLO:  I have another weapon in this chamber;   
It is a sword of Spain, the ice brook’s temper [tempered in ice water].  
O! here it is. Uncle, I must come forth.            300
GRATIANO:  [Within.]  If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear:   
Thou hast no weapon, and perforce must suffer.   
OTHELLO:  Look in upon me then, and speak with me,   
Or, naked [unarmed] as I am, I will assault thee.   
 
Re-enter GRATIANO.            305

GRATIANO:  What is the matter?   
OTHELLO:  Behold! I have a weapon;   
A better never did itself sustain   
Upon a soldier’s thigh: I have seen the day,   
That with this little arm, and this good sword,            310
I have made my way through more impediments   
Than twenty times your stop [a reference to Gratiano as a barrier]: but, O vain boast!   
Who can control his fate? ’tis not so now.   
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon’d;   
Here is my journey’s end, here is my butt,            315
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.  
[Here is . . . sail: Here is the end of my journey through life; here is the very sea-mark (as opposed to landmark) where my voyage will end.]
Do you go back dismay’d? ’tis a lost fear;   
Man but a rush against Othello’s breast,   
And he retires. Where should Othello go?   
[Do you . . . retires: Are you backing away from me in fear? Don't worry. If you manned or brandished only a rush (a marsh plant with a hollow stem) against me, I would retire.]
Now how dost thou look now? O ill-starr’d [ill-fated; unlucky] wench!            320
Pale as thy smock! when we shall meet at compt [the accounting before God; Day of Judgment],   
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven,   
And fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my girl!   
Even like thy chastity.   
[Cold . . . chastity: You are cold now, just as you were cold toward other men except me.]
O! cursed, cursed slave. Whip me, ye devils,            325
From the possession of this heavenly sight!   
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur!   
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!   
O Desdemona! Desdemona! dead!   
Oh! Oh! Oh!            330
 
Enter LODOVICO, MONTANO, CASSIO carried in a chair, and Officers with IAGO, prisoner.
   
LODOVICO:  Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?   
OTHELLO:  That’s he that was Othello; here I am.   
LODOVICO:  Where is that viper? bring the villain forth.   
OTHELLO:  I look down towards his feet; but that’s a fable.            335
[I look . . .  fable: I look at his feet to see whether they are hooves, like a devil's. But I guess it's just a myth that devils have hooves.]
If that thou be’st [you be] a devil, I cannot kill thee.  [Wounds IAGO.   
LODOVICO:  Wrench his sword from him.   
IAGO:  I bleed, sir; but not kill’d.   
OTHELLO:  I am not sorry neither; I’d have thee live;   
For, in my sense, ’tis happiness to die.            340
LODOVICO:  O thou Othello! that wert once so good,   
Fall’n in the practice of a damnèd slave,  
[Fall'n: Fallen, meaning deceived. Thus: Deceived by believing the lies of this damnèd slave, Iago.]
What shall be said to thee?   
OTHELLO:   Why, any thing:   
An honourable murderer, if you will;            345
For nought did I in hate, but all in honour.   
LODOVICO:  This wretch hath part confess’d his villany:   
Did you and he consent in Cassio’s death?   
OTHELLO:  Ay.   
CASSIO:  Dear general, I never gave you cause.            350
OTHELLO:  I do believe it, and I ask your pardon.   
Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil   
Why he hath thus ensnar’d my soul and body?
[Will you . . . body: Will you demand of Iago why he lied to me?]  
IAGO:  Demand me nothing: what you know, you know:   
From this time forth I never will speak word.            355
LODOVICO:  What! not to pray?   
GRATIANO:  Torments will ope your lips. [Torture will make you talk.] 
OTHELLO:  Well, thou dost best.  [Do what you have to do.]
LODOVICO:  Sir, you shall understand what hath befall’n,   
Which, as I think, you know not. Here is a letter            360
Found in the pocket of the slain Roderigo,   
And here another; the one of them imports   
The death of Cassio to be undertook   
By Roderigo.   
OTHELLO:  O villain!            365
CASSIO:  Most heathenish and most gross!   
LODOVICO:  Now here’s another discontented paper [letter of complaint],   
Found in his pocket too; and this, it seems,   
Roderigo meant to have sent this damnèd villain [sent to this damnèd villain, Iago]  
But that, belike [probably], Iago in the interim            370
Came in and satisfied [murdered] him.   
OTHELLO:  O the pernicious caitiff [coward; villain]!   
How came you, Cassio, by that handkerchief   
That was my wife’s?   
CASSIO:  I found it in my chamber;            375
And he [Iago] himself confess’d but even now   
That there he dropp’d it for a special purpose   
Which wrought to [promoted; furthered] his desire.   
OTHELLO:  O fool! fool! fool!   
CASSIO:  There is besides in Roderigo’s letter            380
How he upbraids Iago that he made him   
Brave [provoke; insult] me upon the watch [to get me in trouble]; whereon it came   
That I was cast [cast out of your favor]: and even but now he spake,   
After long seeming dead, Iago hurt him,   
Iago set him on.            385
LODOVICO:  You [Othello] must forsake this room and go with us;   
Your power and your command is taken off,   
And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave [Iago],   
If there be any cunning cruelty   
That can torment him much and hold him long,            390
[and . . . long: While keeping him alive for a long time]
It shall be his. You shall close prisoner rest.   
Till that the nature of your fault be known   
To the Venetian state. Come, bring him away.  
[You shall . . . state: Othello, you shall remain a closely guarded prisoner until the details of your fault are made clear.]
OTHELLO: Soft you [Just a moment]; a word or two before you go.   
I have done the state some service, and they know ’t;            395
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,   
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,   
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate [don't play down anything],   
Nor set down aught in malice [Nor should you exaggerate the facts out of malice]: then, must you speak   
Of one that lov’d not wisely but too well;            400
Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought [manipulated],   
Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand,   
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away   
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdu’d eyes
[Like the  . . . tribe: One can interpret Indian at least three ways: (1) As a reference to a native American who was ignorant of the value of a pearl. (2) As a reference to an inhabitant of Judea, an ancient region consisting of present-day southern Israel and southwest Jordan. In an early text of Othello, the prepositional phrase at the beginning of line 403 reads, "Like the base Iudean." Iudea or Iudaea is Latin for Judea. Base Iudean could be a reference to Judas Iscariot, who "threw away" Jesus—and apparently his own soul. (3) As a reference to an inhabitant of India. Indians are well known for harvesting and selling pearls.]
Albeit unused to the melting mood,            405
[Albeit . . . mood: Although unused to responding to highly emotional events]
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees [acacia trees]
Their med’cinable [medicinal] gum. Set you down this;   
And say besides, that in Aleppo [large city in northwestern Syria] once,   
Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk   
Beat a Venetian and traduc’d [humiliated] the state,            410
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,   
And smote him thus.  [Stabs himself.   
LODOVICO:  O bloody period!   
GRATIANO:  All that’s spoke is marr’d. [All that we hear and see in this place is horrifying.]  
OTHELLO:  I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee; no way but this,  [Falling upon DESDEMONA.            415
Killing myself to die upon a kiss.  [Dies.   
CASSIO:  This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon;   
For he was great of heart.   
LODOVICO:  [To IAGO.]  O Spartan [cruel] dog!   
More fell [deadly] than anguish, hunger, or the sea.            420
Look on the tragic loading of this bed; [The bed is "loaded" with the bodies of Othello and Desdemona.] 
This is thy work; the object poisons sight; [Iago poisons my sight.] 
Let it [Iago] be hid. Gratiano, keep the house,   
And seize upon the fortunes of the Moor,   
For they succeed on you [For you inherited them]. To you, lord governor [Cassio],            425
Remains the censure of this hellish villain,   
The time, the place, the torture; O! enforce it.   
Myself will straight aboard, and to the state   
This heavy act with heavy heart relate.  [Exeunt.   
[Myself . . . related: I myself will now board a ship bound for Venice to report, with a heavy heart, what has happened here.]