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Othello: Act 3, Scene 3

Full Summary

           Enter DESDEMONA, CASSIO,
           and EMILIA.

  1   Be thou assured, good Cassio, I will do
  2   All my abilities in thy behalf.

  3   Good madam, do: I warrant it grieves my husband,
  4   As if the case were his.

  5   O, that's an honest fellow. Do not doubt, Cassio,
  6   But I will have my lord and you again
  7   As friendly as you were.

  7                          Bounteous madam,
  8   Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio,
  9   He's never any thing but your true servant.

 10   I know't; I thank you. You do love my lord:
 11   You have known him long; and be you well assured
 12   He shall in strangeness stand no further off
 13   Than in a politic distance.

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

 19   Do not doubt that; before Emilia here
 20   I give thee warrant of thy place. Assure thee,
 21   If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it
 22   To the last article. My lord shall never rest;
 23   I'll watch him tame and talk him out of patience;
 24   His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift;
 25   I'll intermingle every thing he does
 26   With Cassio's suit. Therefore be merry, Cassio;
 27   For thy solicitor shall rather die
 28   Than give thy cause away.

 29   Madam, here comes my lord.

           Enter OTHELLO and IAGO.

Full Summary

 30   Madam, I'll take my leave.

 31   Why, stay, and hear me speak.

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

 34   Well, do your discretion.

           Exit Cassio.

 35   Ha! I like not that.

 35                       What dost thou say?

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

 37   Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?

 38   Cassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it,
 39   That he would steal away so guilty-like,
 40   Seeing you coming.

 40                     I do believe 'twas he.

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

 44   Who is't you mean?

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

 51                          Went he hence now?

 52   Ay, sooth; so humbled
 53   That he hath left part of his grief with me,
 54   To suffer with him. Good love, call him back.

 55   Not now, sweet Desdemon; some other time.

 56   But shall't be shortly?

 56                    The sooner, sweet, for you.

 57   Shall't be tonight at supper?

 57                             No, not tonight.

 58   tomorrow dinner, then?

 58                  I shall not dine at home;
 59   I meet the captains at the citadel.

 60   Why, then, tomorrow night; or Tuesday morn;
 61   On Tuesday noon, or night; on Wednesday morn:
 62   I prithee, name the time, but let it not
 63   Exceed three days. In faith, he's penitent;
 64   And yet his trespass, in our common reason—
 65   Save that, they say, the wars must make examples
 66   Out of her best—is not almost a fault
 67   To incur a private check. When shall he come?
 68   Tell me, Othello: I wonder in my soul,
 69   What you would ask me, that I should deny,
 70   Or stand so mammering on. What! Michael Cassio,
 71   That came a-wooing with you, and so many a time,
 72   When I have spoke of you dispraisingly,
 73   Hath ta'en your part — to have so much to do
 74   To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much,—

 75   Prithee, no more; let him come when he will;
 76   I will deny thee nothing.

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

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

 86   Shall I deny you? no: farewell, my lord.

 87   Farewell, my Desdemona: I'll come to thee straight.

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

Full Summary

           Exit [with Emilia].

 90   Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
 91   But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
 92   Chaos is come again.

 93   My noble lord—

 93                What dost thou say, Iago?

 94   Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady,
 95   Know of your love?

 96   He did, from first to last: why dost thou ask?

 97   But for a satisfaction of my thought;
 98   No further harm.

 98                  Why of thy thought, Iago?

 99   I did not think he had been acquainted with her.

100   O, yes; and went between us very oft.

101   Indeed!

102   Indeed! ay, indeed: discern'st thou aught in that?
103   Is he not honest?

103                   Honest, my lord?

104   Honest! ay, honest.

104                  My lord, for aught I know.

105   What dost thou think?

105                       Think, my lord!

106   Think, my lord! By heaven, he echoes me,
107   As if there were some monster in his thought
108   Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something:
109   I heard thee say even now, thou likedst not that,
110   When Cassio left my wife: what didst not like?
111   And when I told thee he was of my counsel
112   In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst "Indeed!"
113   And didst contract and purse thy brow together,
114   As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain
115   Some horrible conceit. If thou dost love me,
116   Show me thy thought.

117   My lord, you know I love you.

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

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

126   I think so too.

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

128   Certain, men should be what they seem.

129   Why, then, I think Cassio's an honest man.

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

133                     Good my lord, pardon me:
134   Though I am bound to every act of duty,
135   I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.
136   Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false;
137   As where's that palace whereinto foul things
138   Sometimes intrude not? Who has a breast so pure,
139   But some uncleanly apprehensions
140   Keep leets and law-days and in session sit
141   With meditations lawful?

142   Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,
143   If thou but think'st him wrong'd and makest his ear
144   A stranger to thy thoughts.

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

154             'Zounds, what dost thou mean?

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

162   By heaven, I'll know thy thoughts.

163   You cannot, if my heart were in your hand;
164   Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody.

165   Ha!

165      O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
166   It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
167   The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
168   Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
169   But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
170   Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!

171   O misery!

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

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

193   I am glad of it; for now I shall have reason
194   To show the love and duty that I bear you
195   With franker spirit: therefore, as I am bound,
196   Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof.
197   Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
198   Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure.
199   I would not have your free and noble nature,
200   Out of self-bounty, be abused; look to't.
201   I know our country disposition well;
202   In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks
203   They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience
204   Is not to leave't undone, but keep't unknown.

205   Dost thou say so?

206   She did deceive her father, marrying you;
207   And when she seem'd to shake and fear your looks,
208   She loved them most.

208                      And so she did.

208                                 Why, go to then;
209   She that, so young, could give out such a seeming,
210   To seel her father's eyes up close as oak,
211   He thought 'twas witchcraft—but I am much to blame;
212   I humbly do beseech you of your pardon
213   For too much loving you.

213                     I am bound to thee for ever.

214   I see this hath a little dash'd your spirits.

215   Not a jot, not a jot.

215                  I' faith, I fear it has.
216   I hope you will consider what is spoke
217   Comes from my love. But I do see you're moved:
218   I am to pray you not to strain my speech
219   To grosser issues nor to larger reach
220   Than to suspicion.

221   I will not.

221             Should you do so, my lord,
222   My speech should fall into such vile success
223   As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio's my worthy friend—
224   My lord, I see you're moved.

224                            No, not much moved:
225   I do not think but Desdemona's honest.

226   Long live she so! and long live you to think so!

227   And yet, how nature erring from itself,—

228   Ay, there's the point: as—to be bold with you—
229   Not to affect many proposed matches
230   Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,
231   Whereto we see in all things nature tends—
232   Foh! one may smell in such, a will most rank,
233   Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural.
234   But pardon me; I do not in position
235   Distinctly speak of her; though I may fear
236   Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
237   May fall to match you with her country forms
238   And happily repent.

238                     Farewell, farewell!
239   If more thou dost perceive, let me know more;
240   Set on thy wife to observe: leave me, Iago:

      IAGO [Going.]
241   My lord, I take my leave.

242   Why did I marry? This honest creature doubtless
243   Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.

      IAGO [Returning.]
244   My lord, I would I might entreat your honor
245   To scan this thing no further; leave it to time:
246   Though it be fit that Cassio have his place,
247   For sure, he fills it up with great ability,
248   Yet, if you please to hold him off awhile,
249   You shall by that perceive him and his means:
250   Note, if your lady strain his entertainment
251   With any strong or vehement importunity;
252   Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,
253   Let me be thought too busy in my fears—
254   As worthy cause I have to fear I am—
255   And hold her free, I do beseech your honor.

256   Fear not my government.

257   I once more take my leave.

Full Summary


258   This fellow's of exceeding honesty,
259   And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,
260   Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,
261   Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,
262   I'ld whistle her off and let her down the wind,
263   To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black
264   And have not those soft parts of conversation
265   That chamberers have, or for I am declined
266   Into the vale of years,—yet that's not much—
267   She's gone. I am abused; and my relief
268   Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,
269   That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
270   And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
271   And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,
272   Than keep a corner in the thing I love
273   For others' uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones;
274   Prerogativ'd are they less than the base;
275   'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death:
276   Even then this forked plague is fated to us
277   When we do quicken. Look where she comes:

Full Summary

           Enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA.

278   If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!
279   I'll not believe't.

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

282   I am to blame.

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

284   I have a pain upon my forehead here.

285   'Faith, that's with watching; 'twill away again:
286   Let me but bind it hard, within this hour
287   It will be well.

287                  Your napkin is too little:

           [He puts the handkerchief from him, and it drops.]

288   Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you.

289   I am very sorry that you are not well.

Full Summary

           Exit [with Othello].

290   I am glad I have found this napkin:
291   This was her first remembrance from the Moor.
292   My wayward husband hath a hundred times
293   Woo'd me to steal it; but she so loves the token,
294   For he conjured her she should ever keep it,
295   That she reserves it evermore about her
296   To kiss and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out,
297   And give't Iago: what he will do with it
298   Heaven knows, not I;
299   I nothing but to please his fantasy.

           Re-enter Iago.

300   How now! what do you here alone?

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

302   A thing for me? it is a common thing—

303   Ha!

304   To have a foolish wife.

305   O, is that all? What will you give me now
306   For the same handkerchief?

306                             What handkerchief?

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

310   Hast stol'n it from her?

311   No, 'faith; she let it drop by negligence.
312   And, to the advantage, I, being here, took't up.
313   Look, here it is.

313                 A good wench; give it me.

314   What will you do with 't, that you have been so earnest
315   To have me filch it?

      IAGO [Snatching it.]
315                                     Why, what's that to you?

316   If it be not for some purpose of import,
317   Give't me again: poor lady, she'll run mad
318   When she shall lack it.

319   Be not acknown on 't; I have use for it.
320   Go, leave me.

           Exit Emilia.

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

Full Summary
           Enter OTHELLO.

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

333                              Ha! ha! false to me?

334   Why, how now, general! no more of that.

335   Avaunt! be gone! thou hast set me on the rack:
336   I swear 'tis better to be much abused
337   Than but to know't a little.

337                              How now, my lord!

338   What sense had I of her stol'n hours of lust?
339   I saw't not, thought it not, it harm'd not me:
340   I slept the next night well, was free and merry;
341   I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips:
342   He that is robb'd, not wanting what is stol'n,
343   Let him not know't, and he's not robb'd at all.

344   I am sorry to hear this.

345   I had been happy, if the general camp,
346   Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body,
347   So I had nothing known. O, now, for ever
348   Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!
349   Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars,
350   That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
351   Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
352   The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
353   The royal banner, and all quality,
354   Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!
355   And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
356   The immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit,
357   Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!

358   Is't possible, my lord?

359   Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore;
360   Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof:
361   Or by the worth of man's eternal soul,
362   Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
363   Than answer my waked wrath!

363                             Is't come to this?

364   Make me to see't; or, at the least, so prove it,
365   That the probation bear no hinge nor loop
366   To hang a doubt on; or woe upon thy life!

367   My noble lord,—

368   If thou dost slander her and torture me,
369   Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
370   On horror's head horrors accumulate;
371   Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;
372   For nothing canst thou to damnation add
373   Greater than that.

373                    O grace! O heaven forgive me!
374   Are you a man? have you a soul or sense?
375   God buy you; take mine office. O wretched fool,
376   That livest to make thine honesty a vice!
377   O monstrous world! Take note, take note, O world,
378   To be direct and honest is not safe.
379   I thank you for this profit; and from hence
380   I'll love no friend, sith love breeds such offence.

381   Nay, stay. Thou shouldst be honest.

382   I should be wise, for honesty's a fool
383   And loses that it works for.

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

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

393                         Would! nay, I will.

394   And may: but, how? how satisfied, my lord?
395   Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on—
396   Behold her topp'd?

396                    Death and damnation! O!

397   It were a tedious difficulty, I think,
398   To bring them to that prospect: damn them then,
399   If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster
400   More than their own! What then? how then?
401   What shall I say? Where's satisfaction?
402   It is impossible you should see this,
403   Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys,
404   As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross
405   As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say,
406   If imputation and strong circumstances,
407   Which lead directly to the door of truth,
408   Will give you satisfaction, you may have't.

409   Give me a living reason she's disloyal.

410   I do not like the office:
411   But, sith I am enter'd in this cause so far,
412   Prick'd to't by foolish honesty and love,
413   I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately;
414   And, being troubled with a raging tooth,
415   I could not sleep.
416   There are a kind of men so loose of soul,
417   That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs:
418   One of this kind is Cassio:
419   In sleep I heard him say "Sweet Desdemona,
420   Let us be wary, let us hide our loves";
421   And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand,
422   Cry "O sweet creature!" and then kiss me hard,
423   As if he pluck'd up kisses by the roots
424   That grew upon my lips: then laid his leg
425   Over my thigh, and sigh'd, and kiss'd; and then
426   Cried "Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!"

427   O monstrous! monstrous!

427                Nay, this was but his dream.

428   But this denoted a foregone conclusion:
429   'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.

430   And this may help to thicken other proofs
431   That do demonstrate thinly.

431                             I'll tear her all to pieces.

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

436   I gave her such a one; 'twas my first gift.

437   I know not that; but such a handkerchief—
438   I am sure it was your wife's—did I today
439   See Cassio wipe his beard with.

439                                 If it be that—

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

442   O, that the slave had forty thousand lives!
443   One is too poor, too weak for my revenge.
444   Now do I see 'tis true. Look here, Iago;
445   All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven.
446   'Tis gone.
447   Arise, black vengeance, from thy hollow cell!
448   Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne
449   To tyrannous hate! Swell, bosom, with thy fraught,
450   For 'tis of aspics' tongues!

450                              Yet be content.

451   O, blood, blood, blood!

452   Patience, I say; your mind perhaps may change.

453   Never, Iago: Like to the Pontic sea,
454   Whose icy current and compulsive course
455   Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
456   To the Propontic and the Hellespont,
457   Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
458   Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love,
459   Till that a capable and wide revenge
460   Swallow them up. Now, by yond marble heaven,


461   In the due reverence of a sacred vow
462   I here engage my words.

462                                     Do not rise yet.


463   Witness, you ever-burning lights above,
464   You elements that clip us round about,
465   Witness that here Iago doth give up
466   The execution of his wit, hands, heart,
467   To wrong'd Othello's service! Let him command,
468   And to obey shall be in me remorse,
469   What bloody business ever.

           [They rise.]

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

474   My friend is dead; 'tis done at your request:
475   But let her live.

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

480   I am your own for ever.


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