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Othello: Act 2, Scene 3


Full Summary

           Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA,
           CASSIO, and ATTENDANTS.

      OTHELLO
  1   Good Michael, look you to the guard tonight:
  2   Let's teach ourselves that honorable stop,
  3   Not to outsport discretion.

      CASSIO
  4   Iago hath direction what to do;
  5   But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
  6   Will I look to't.

      OTHELLO
  6                   Iago is most honest.
  7   Michael, good night: tomorrow with your earliest
  8   Let me have speech with you.

           To Desdemona.

  8                              Come, my dear love,
  9   The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
 10   That profit's yet to come 'tween me and you.
 11   Good night.

           Exit [with Desdemona and Attendants].

           Enter IAGO.

      CASSIO
 12   Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.

      IAGO
 13   Not this hour, lieutenant; 'tis not yet ten o' the
 14   clock. Our general cast us thus early for the
 15   love of his Desdemona; who let us not therefore
 16   blame: he hath not yet made wanton the night
 17   with her; and she is sport for Jove.

      CASSIO
 18   She's a most exquisite lady.

      IAGO
 19   And, I'll warrant her, full of game.

      CASSIO
 20   Indeed, she's a most fresh and delicate
 21   creature.

      IAGO
 22   What an eye she has! methinks it sounds
 23   a parley to provocation.

      CASSIO
 24   An inviting eye; and yet methinks right
 25   modest.

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

      CASSIO
 28   She is indeed perfection.

      IAGO
 29   Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I
 30   have a stoup of wine; and here without are a brace
 31   of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to
 32   the health of black Othello.

      CASSIO
 33   Not tonight, good Iago: I have very poor and
 34   unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish
 35   courtesy would invent some other custom of
 36   entertainment.

      IAGO
 37   O, they are our friends — but one cup, I'll drink
 38   for you.

      CASSIO
 39   I have drunk but one cup tonight, and that was
 40   craftily qualified too, and, behold, what innovation
 41   it makes here. I am unfortunate in the infirmity,
 42   and dare not task my weakness with any more.

      IAGO
 43   What, man! 'tis a night of revels: the gallants
 44   desire it.

      CASSIO
 45   Where are they?

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

      CASSIO
 47   I'll do't; but it dislikes me.

           Exit.

      IAGO
 48   If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
 49   With that which he hath drunk tonight already,
 50   He'll be as full of quarrel and offence
 51   As my young mistress' dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
 52   Whom love hath turn'd almost the wrong side out,
 53   To Desdemona hath tonight carous'd
 54   Potations pottle-deep; and he's to watch:
 55   Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,
 56   That hold their honors in a wary distance,
 57   The very elements of this warlike isle,
 58   Have I tonight fluster'd with flowing cups,
 59   And they watch too. Now, 'mongst this flock of drunkards,
 60   Am I to put our Cassio in some action
 61   That may offend the isle.—But here they come:

           Enter CASSIO, MONTANO, and GENTLEMEN;
           [servants following with wine].

 62   If consequence do but approve my dream,
 63   My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.

      CASSIO
 64   'Fore God, they have given me a rouse
 65   already.

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

      IAGO
 68   Some wine, ho!

           [Sings.]

 69          "And let me the canakin clink, clink;
 70          And let me the canakin clink
 71            A soldier's a man;
 72            A life's but a span;
 73          Why, then, let a soldier drink."

 74   Some wine, boys!

      CASSIO
 75   'Fore God, an excellent song.

      IAGO
 76   I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are
 77   most potent in potting: your Dane, your German,
 78   and your swag-bellied Hollander—Drink, ho!—
 79   are nothing to your English.

      CASSIO
 80   Is your Englishman so exquisite in his
 81   drinking?

      IAGO
 82   Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead
 83   drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he
 84   gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle
 85   can be filled.

      CASSIO
 86   To the health of our general!

      MONTANO
 87   I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you justice.

      IAGO
 88   O sweet England!

           [Sings.]

 89        "King Stephen was a worthy peer,
 90          His breeches cost him but a crown;
 91        He held them sixpence all too dear,
 92          With that he call'd the tailor lown.
 93        He was a wight of high renown,
 94          And thou art but of low degree:
 95        'Tis pride that pulls the country down;
 96          Then take thine auld cloak about thee."

 97   Some wine, ho!

      CASSIO
 98   'Fore God, this is a more exquisite song than the
 99   other.

      IAGO
100   Will you hear't again?

      CASSIO
101   No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that
102   does those things. Well, God's above all; and there
103   be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

      IAGO
104   It's true, good lieutenant.

      CASSIO
105   For mine own part,—no offense to the general, nor
106   any man of quality,—I hope to be saved.

      IAGO
107   And so do I too, lieutenant.

      CASSIO
108   Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the
109   lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let's
110   have no more of this; let's to our affairs.—Forgive
111   us our sins!—Gentlemen, let's look to our business.
112   Do not think, gentlemen. I am drunk: this is my
113   ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left:
114   I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and
115   speak well enough.

      All
116   Excellent well.

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

           Exit.

      MONTANO
119   To the platform, masters; come, let's set the
120   watch.

      IAGO
121   You see this fellow that is gone before;
122   He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
123   And give direction: and do but see his vice;
124   'Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
125   The one as long as the other: 'tis pity of him.
126   I fear the trust Othello puts him in.
127   On some odd time of his infirmity,
128   Will shake this island.

      MONTANO
128                                       But is he often thus?

      IAGO
129   'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
130   He'll watch the horologe a double set,
131   If drink rock not his cradle.

      MONTANO
131                                            It were well
132   The general were put in mind of it.
133   Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature
134   Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
135   And looks not on his evils: is not this true?

           Enter RODERIGO.

      IAGO [Aside to him.]
136   How now, Roderigo!
137   I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.

           [Exit Roderigo.]

      MONTANO
138   And 'tis great pity that the noble Moor
139   Should hazard such a place as his own second
140   With one of an ingraft infirmity:
141   It were an honest action to say
142   So to the Moor.

      IAGO
142                               Not I, for this fair island:
143   I do love Cassio well; and would do much
144   To cure him of this evil—But, hark! what noise?

           [Cry within: "Help! help!"]

           Enter CASSIO pursuing RODERIGO.

      CASSIO
145   Zounds! You rogue! you rascal!

      MONTANO
146   What's the matter, lieutenant?

      CASSIO
147   A knave teach me my duty!
148   I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.

      RODERIGO
149   Beat me!

      CASSIO
150   Dost thou prate, rogue?

           [Striking Roderigo.]

      MONTANO
151   Nay, good lieutenant; I pray you, sir, hold
152   your hand.

           [Holding him back.]

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

      MONTANO
155   Come, come — you're drunk.

      CASSIO
156   Drunk!

           [They fight.]

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

           [Exit Roderigo.] 158   Nay, good lieutenant,—alas, gentlemen;—
159   Help, ho!—Lieutenant,—sir,—Montano,—sir;
160   Help, masters!—Here's a goodly watch indeed!

           [Bell rings.]

161   Who's that which rings the bell?—Diablo, ho!
162   The town will rise: God's will, lieutenant, hold!
163   You will be shamed for ever.

Full Summary
           Enter OTHELLO and [Attendants].

      OTHELLO
164   What is the matter here?

      MONTANO
164                                       'Zounds, I bleed still;
165    I am hurt to the death. He dies!

           [Thrusts at Cassio.]

      OTHELLO
165                                              Hold, for your lives!

      IAGO
166   Hold, ho! Lieutenant,—sir—Montano,—gentlemen,—
167   Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
168   Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!

      OTHELLO
169   Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
170   Are we turn'd Turks, and to ourselves do that
171   Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
172   For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
173   He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
174   Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
175   Silence that dreadful bell: it frights the isle
176   From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
177   Honest Iago, that look'st dead with grieving,
178   Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.

      IAGO
179   I do not know: friends all but now, even now,
180   In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
181   Devesting them for bed; and then, but now—
182   As if some planet had unwitted men—
183   Swords out, and tilting one at other's breast,
184   In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
185   Any beginning to this peevish odds;
186   And would in action glorious I had lost
187   Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

      OTHELLO
188   How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

      CASSIO
189   I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.

      OTHELLO
190   Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil;
191   The gravity and stillness of your youth
192   The world hath noted, and your name is great
193   In mouths of wisest censure: what's the matter,
194   That you unlace your reputation thus
195   And spend your rich opinion for the name
196   Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.

      MONTANO
197   Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger.
198   Your officer, Iago, can inform you,—
199   While I spare speech, which something now offends me,—
200   Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
201   By me that's said or done amiss this night;
202   Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
203   And to defend ourselves it be a sin
204   When violence assails us.

      OTHELLO
204                                         Now, by heaven,
205   My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
206   And passion, having my best judgment collied,
207   Assays to lead the way. 'Zounds, if I stir,
208   Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
209   Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
210   How this foul rout began, who set it on;
211   And he that is approv'd in this offence,
212   Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth,
213   Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,
214   Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear,
215   To manage private and domestic quarrel?
216   In night, and on the court and guard of safety?
217   'Tis monstrous. Iago, who began't?

      MONTANO
218   If partially affined, or leagued in office,
219   Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
220   Thou art no soldier.

      IAGO
220                                 Touch me not so near:
221   I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
222   Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
223   Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
224   Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general:
225   Montano and myself being in speech,
226   There comes a fellow crying out for help:
227   And Cassio following him with determined sword,
228   To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
229   Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause:
230   Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
231   Lest by his clamour—as it so fell out—
232   The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
233   Outran my purpose; and I return'd the rather
234   For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
235   And Cassio high in oath; which till tonight
236   I ne'er might say before. When I came back—
237   For this was brief—I found them close together,
238   At blow and thrust; even as again they were
239   When you yourself did part them.
240   More of this matter cannot I report:
241   But men are men; the best sometimes forget:
242   Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
243   As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
244   Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
245   From him that fled some strange indignity,
246   Which patience could not pass.

      OTHELLO
246                                                    I know, Iago,
247   Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
248   Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee
249   But never more be officer of mine.

           Enter DESDEMONA, attended.

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

      DESDEMONA
252   What is the matter, dear?

      OTHELLO
252                                      All's well now, sweeting;
253   Come away to bed. [To Montano.] Sir, for your hurts,
254   Myself will be your surgeon — Lead him off.

           [Some lead Montano off.]

255   Iago, look with care about the town,
256   And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.
257   Come, Desdemona: 'tis the soldiers' life
258   To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.

Full Summary

           Exit [all but Iago and Cassio].

      IAGO
259   What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

      CASSIO
260   Ay, past all surgery.

      IAGO
261   Marry, heaven forbid!

      CASSIO
262   Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost
263   my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
264   myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
265   Iago, my reputation!

      IAGO
266   As I am an honest man, I thought you had received
267   some bodily wound; there is more sense in that than
268   in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false
269   imposition: oft got without merit, and lost without
270   deserving. You have lost no reputation at all,
271   unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man,
272   there are ways to recover the general again. You
273   are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in
274   policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his
275   offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion. Sue
276   to him again, and he's yours.

      CASSIO
277   I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so
278   good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so
279   indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot?
280   and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse
281   fustian with one's own shadow? O thou invisible
282   spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by,
283   let us call thee devil!

      IAGO
284   What was he that you followed with your sword?
285   What had he done to you?

      CASSIO
286   I know not.

      IAGO
287   Is't possible?

      CASSIO
288   I remember a mass of things, but nothing
289   distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God,
290   that men should put an enemy in their mouths to
291   steal away their brains! that we should, with joy,
292   pleasance, revel and applause, transform ourselves
293   into beasts!

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

      CASSIO
296   It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place
297   to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me
298   another, to make me frankly despise myself.

      IAGO
299   Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time,
300   the place, and the condition of this country
301   stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen;
302   but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.

      CASSIO
303   I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me
304   I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra,
305   such an answer would stop them all. To be now a
306   sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a
307   beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is
308   unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.

      IAGO
309   Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
310   if it be well used: exclaim no more against it.
311   And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.

      CASSIO
312   I have well approv'd it, sir. I drunk!

      IAGO
313   You, or any man living, may be drunk at a time, man.
314   I'll tell you what you shall do. Our general's wife
315   is now the general — I may say so in this respect, for
316   that he hath devoted and given up himself to the
317   contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and
318   graces: confess yourself freely to her; importune
319   her help to put you in your place again. She is of
320   so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition,
321   she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more
322   than she is requested: this broken joint between
323   you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my
324   fortunes against any lay worth naming, this
325   crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.

      CASSIO
326   You advise me well.

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

      CASSIO
329   I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I
330   will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake
331   for me: I am desperate of my fortunes if they check
332   me here.

      IAGO
333   You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I
334   must to the watch.

      CASSIO
335   Good night, honest Iago.

Full Summary
           Exit Cassio.

      IAGO
336   And what's he then that says I play the villain?
337   When this advice is free I give and honest,
338   Probal to thinking and indeed the course
339   To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
340   The inclining Desdemona to subdue
341   In any honest suit: she's framed as fruitful
342   As the free elements. And then for her
343   To win the Moor—were't to renounce his baptism,
344   All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
345   His soul is so enfetter'd to her love,
346   That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
347   Even as her appetite shall play the god
348   With his weak function. How am I then a villain
349   To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
350   Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
351   When devils will the blackest sins put on,
352   They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
353   As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
354   Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
355   And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
356   I'll pour this pestilence into his ear,
357   That she repeals him for her body's lust;
358   And by how much she strives to do him good,
359   She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
360   So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
361   And out of her own goodness make the net
362   That shall enmesh them all.

Full Summary

           Enter RODERIGO.

362                                         How now, Roderigo!

      RODERIGO
363   I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that
364   hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is
365   almost spent; I have been tonight exceedingly well
366   cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall
367   have so much experience for my pains, and so, with
368   no money at all and a little more wit, return again to
369   Venice.

      IAGO
370   How poor are they that have not patience!
371   What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
372   Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
373   And wit depends on dilatory time.
374   Does't not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
375   And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio:
376   Though other things grow fair against the sun,
377   Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
378   Content thyself awhile. By the mass, 'tis morning;
379   Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
380   Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
381   Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
382   Nay, get thee gone.

           (Exit Roderigo.)

382                                   Two things are to be done:
383   My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress —
384   I'll set her on —
385   Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
386   And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
387   Soliciting his wife. Ay, that's the way
388   Dull not device by coldness and delay.

           Exit.

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