Othello: Act 3, Scene 4


           Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and CLOWN.

      DESDEMONA
1. sirrah: term of address to inferiors.
  1   Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio
  2   lies?

      Clown
3. lies: lodges (but the Clown makes the obvious sexual pun).
  3   I dare not say he lies any where.

      DESDEMONA
  4   Why, man?

      Clown
  5   He's a soldier, and for one to say a soldier lies,
  6   is stabbing.

      DESDEMONA
  7   Go to! where lodges he?

      Clown
  8   To tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where
  9   I lie.

      DESDEMONA
 10   Can any thing be made of this?

      Clown
 11   I know not where he lodges, and for me to
 12   devise a lodging and say he lies here or he
13. lie in mine own throat: tell a gross and deliberate lie.
 13   lies there, were to lie in mine own throat.

      DESDEMONA
 14   Can you inquire him out, and be edified by
 15   report?

      Clown
 16   I will catechise the world for him; that is, make
 17   questions, and by them answer.

      DESDEMONA
 18   Seek him, bid him come hither. Tell him I have
19. moved: petitioned, urged, made suit to.
 19   moved my lord on his behalf, and hope all will
 20   be well.

      Clown
 21   To do this is within the compass of man's wit:
 22   and therefore I will attempt the doing it.

           Exit Clown.

      DESDEMONA
23. should I lose: could I have lost.
 23   Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?

      EMILIA
 24   I know not, madam.

      DESDEMONA

26. crusadoes: Portuguese gold coins stamped with a cross.
 25   Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse
 26   Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor
 27   Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
 28   As jealous creatures are, it were enough
 29   To put him to ill thinking.

      EMILIA
 29                                         Is he not jealous?

      DESDEMONA
 30   Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
31. humors: bodily fluids (which were thought to determine temperament).
 31   Drew all such humors from him.

      EMILIA
 31                                 Look, where he comes.

           Enter OTHELLO.

      DESDEMONA
 32   I will not leave him now till Cassio
 33   Be call'd to him. —How is't with you, my lord?

      OTHELLO
 34   Well, my good lady. — O, hardness to dissemble!—
 35   How do you, Desdemona?

      DESDEMONA
 35                         Well, my good lord.

      OTHELLO
 36   Give me your hand. This hand is moist, my lady.

      DESDEMONA
 37   It yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.

      OTHELLO
 38   This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart;
 39   Hot, hot, and moist. This hand of yours requires
40. sequester: sequestration, separation.
 40   A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer,
41. castigation: corrective discipline, penance.
 41   Much castigation, exercise devout;
 42   For here's a young and sweating devil here,
 43   That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand,
44. frank: Desdemona takes this as meaning generous, but Othello may have in mind also the meanings lusty, vigorous or open, unable to conceal secrets. So liberal in line 46 can mean both generous and licentious.
 44   A frank one.

      DESDEMONA
 44               You may, indeed, say so;
 45   For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart.

      OTHELLO
 46   A liberal hand. The hearts of old gave hands;
47. our new heraldry is hands, not hearts: under our newfangled heraldry, hands (given in marriage) no longer signify that hearts are given also.
 47   But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.

      DESDEMONA
 48   I cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.

      OTHELLO
49. chuck: a term of endearment, related to chick.
 49   What promise, chuck?

      DESDEMONA
 50   I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.

      OTHELLO
51. salt and sorry rheum: distressing head cold or watering of the eyes.
 51   I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
 52   Lend me thy handkerchief.

      DESDEMONA
 52                            Here, my lord.

      OTHELLO
 53   That which I gave you.

      DESDEMONA
 53                         I have it not about me.

      OTHELLO
 54   Not?

      DESDEMONA
 54             No, faith, my lord.

      OTHELLO
 55   That's a fault. That handkerchief
 56   Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
57. charmer: sorceress, magician.
 57   She was a charmer, and could almost read
 58   The thoughts of people. She told her, while she kept it,
59. amiable: desirable.
 59   'Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
 60   Entirely to her love, but if she lost it
 61   Or made gift of it, my father's eye
 62   Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt
 63   After new fancies. She, dying, gave it me;
 64   And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,
65. To give it her: To give it to my wife.
 65   To give it her. I did so: and take heed on't;
 66   Make it a darling like your precious eye;
67. perdition: loss.
 67   To lose't or give't away were such perdition
 68   As nothing else could match.

      DESDEMONA
 68                               Is't possible?

      OTHELLO
69. web: fabric.
 69   'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it.
70. sibyl: prophetess.
 70   A sibyl, that had number'd in the world
71. compasses: annual circlings. (The sibyl, or prophetess, was 200 years old). 72. prophetic fury: the divine frenzy which enabled her to prophesy.
 71   The sun to course two hundred compasses,
 72   In her prophetic fury sew'd the work;
 73   The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk;
74. mummy: medicinal or magical fluid drawn from embalmed bodies. 75. Conserv'd of: prepared or preserved out of.
 74   And it was dyed in mummy which the skilful
 75   Conserv'd of maidens' hearts.

      DESDEMONA
 75                               Indeed! is't true?

      OTHELLO
 76   Most veritable; therefore look to't well.

      DESDEMONA
 77   Then would to God that I had never seen't!

      OTHELLO
 78   Ha! wherefore?

      DESDEMONA
79. startingly and rash: disjointedly and impetuously.
 79   Why do you speak so startingly and rash?

      OTHELLO
 80   Is't lost? is't gone? speak, is it out o' the way?

      DESDEMONA
 81   Heaven bless us!

      OTHELLO
 82   Say you?

      DESDEMONA
83. an if: if.
 83   It is not lost; but what an if it were?

      OTHELLO
 84   How!

      DESDEMONA
 85   I say, it is not lost.

      OTHELLO
 85                   Fetch't, let me see't.

      DESDEMONA
 86   Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now.
 87   This is a trick to put me from my suit:
 88   Pray you, let Cassio be received again.

      OTHELLO
 89   Fetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives.

      DESDEMONA
 90   Come, come;
91. sufficient: able, complete.
 91   You'll never meet a more sufficient man.

      OTHELLO
 92   The handkerchief!

      DESDEMONA
 92                    I pray, talk me of Cassio.

      OTHELLO
 93   The handkerchief!

      DESDEMONA
93. all his time: throughout his career.
 93                    A man that all his time
 94   Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
 95   Shared dangers with you,—

      OTHELLO
 96   The handkerchief!

      DESDEMONA
 97   I' faith, you are to blame.

      OTHELLO
 98   Zounds!

           Exit Othello.

      EMILIA
 99   Is not this man jealous?

      DESDEMONA
100   I ne'er saw this before.
101   Sure, there's some wonder in this handkerchief:
102   I am most unhappy in the loss of it.

      EMILIA
103. Tis not a year or two shows us a man: i.e., worthy men come along seldom. 104. but: nothing but.
103   'Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
104   They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
105   They eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
106   They belch us. Look you, Cassio and my husband!

           Enter IAGO and CASSIO.

      IAGO
107   There is no other way; 'tis she must do't:
108. happiness: good luck.
108   And, lo, the happiness! Go, and importune her.

      DESDEMONA
109   How now, good Cassio! what's the news with you?

      CASSIO
110   Madam, my former suit: I do beseech you
111. virtuous: efficacious.
111   That by your virtuous means I may again
112   Exist, and be a member of his love
113. office: devoted service.
113   Whom I with all the office of my heart
114   Entirely honor. I would not be delay'd.
115. mortal: fatal.
115   If my offence be of such mortal kind
116. nor my service past, nor: neither my past service, nor. 117. purpos'd merit in futurity: intention to serve well in the future.
116   That nor my service past, nor present sorrows,
117   Nor purpos'd merit in futurity,
118   Can ransom me into his love again,
119. But to know so must be my benefit: Merely to know that my case is hopeless must be all I can expect.
119   But to know so must be my benefit;
120   So shall I clothe me in a forced content,
121   And shut myself up in some other course,
122. fortune's alms: pittances handed out by Fortune to beggars (throwing myself on the mercy of fortune).
122   To fortune's alms.

      DESDEMONA
122                     Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio!
123. advocation: advocacy.
123   My advocation is not now in tune;
124-125. My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him, / Were he in favor as in humor alter'd.: Desdemona says that she would not recognize her husband if his appearance (favor) were as altered as his mood.
124   My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him,
125   Were he in favor as in humor alter'd.
126   So help me every spirit sanctified,
127   As I have spoken for you all my best
128. blank: center of a target; i.e., directly in the line of fire.
128   And stood within the blank of his displeasure
129   For my free speech! you must awhile be patient.
130   What I can do I will; and more I will
131   Than for myself I dare: let that suffice you.

      IAGO
132   Is my lord angry?

      EMILIA
132                    He went hence but now,
133   And certainly in strange unquietness.

      IAGO
134   Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
135   When it hath blown his ranks into the air,
136   And, like the devil, from his very arm
137   Puff'd his own brother:—and is he angry?
138   Something of moment then: I will go meet him:
139   There's matter in't indeed, if he be angry.

      DESDEMONA
140   I prithee, do so.

           Exit [Iago].

140                              Something, sure, of state,
141. unhatch'd practice: plot not yet ready for execution.
141   Either from Venice, or some unhatch'd practise
142   Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,
143. puddled: muddied.
143   Hath puddled his clear spirit; and in such cases
144   Men's natures wrangle with inferior things,
145   Though great ones are their object. 'Tis even so;
146. indues: brings to the same condition, makes conformable.
146   For let our finger ache, and it indues
147   Our other healthful members even to that sense
148   Of pain. Nay, we must think men are not gods,
149. observances: devoted attention.
149   Nor of them look for such observances
150. bridal: wedding (when a bridegroom is newly attentive). Beshrew me: a mild imprecation. 151. unhandsome: insufficient, unskillful. 152. with my soul: before the bar of my soul. 153. suborn'd the witness: caused the witness to lie, i.e., misinterpreted Othello's behavior.
150   As fit the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia,
151   I was, unhandsome warrior as I am,
152   Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
153   But now I find I had suborn'd the witness,
154   And he's indicted falsely.

      EMILIA
155   Pray heaven it be state-matters, as you think,
156. toy: fancy.
156   And no conception nor no jealous toy
157   Concerning you.

      DESDEMONA
158   Alas the day! I never gave him cause.

      EMILIA
159   But jealous souls will not be answer'd so;
160   They are not ever jealous for the cause,
161. for: because.
161   But jealous for they are jealous. It is a monster
162. Begot upon itself: i.e., spontaneously generated solely from itself, without cause.
162   Begot upon itself, born on itself.

      DESDEMONA
163   Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind!

      EMILIA
164   Lady, amen.

      DESDEMONA
165   I will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout:
166   If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit
167   And seek to effect it to my uttermost.

      CASSIO
168   I humbly thank your ladyship.

           Exeunt [Desdemona and Emilia].

           Enter BIANCA.

      BIANCA
169. Save you: God save you.
169   Save you, friend Cassio!

      CASSIO
169.  make: brings.
169                           What make you from home?
170   How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?
171   I' faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.

      BIANCA
172   And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
173   What, keep a week away? seven days and nights?
174   Eight score eight hours? and lovers' absent hours,
175   More tedious than the dial eight score times?
176   O weary reckoning!

      CASSIO
176                     Pardon me, Bianca.
177   I have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd:
178. continuate: uninterrupted.
178   But I shall, in a more continuate time,
179. Strike off this score: Settle this account.
179   Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,

           [Giving her Desdemona's handkerchief.]

180. Take me this work out: Copy this embroidery for me.
180   Take me this work out.

      BIANCA
180                         O Cassio, whence came this?
181   This is some token from a newer friend:
182   To the felt absence now I feel a cause:
183   Is't come to this? Well, well.

      CASSIO
183                               Go to, woman!
184   Throw your vile guesses in the devil's teeth,
185   From whence you have them. You are jealous now
186   That this is from some mistress, some remembrance:
187   No, in good troth, Bianca.

      BIANCA
187                           Why, whose is it?

      CASSIO
188   I know not, neither: I found it in my chamber.
189. demanded: inquired for.
189   I like the work well: ere it be demanded—
190   As like enough it will—I'ld have it copied:
191   Take it, and do't; and leave me for this time.

      BIANCA
192   Leave you! Wherefore?

      CASSIO
193   I do attend here on the general;
194. addition: credit; i.e., addition to my reputation.
194   And think it no addition, nor my wish,
195   To have him see me woman'd.

      BIANCA
195                             Why, I pray you?

      CASSIO
196   Not that I love you not.

      BIANCA
196                    But that you do not love me.
197   I pray you, bring me on the way a little,
198   And say if I shall see you soon at night.

      CASSIO
199   'Tis but a little way that I can bring you;
200   For I attend here: but I'll see you soon.

      BIANCA
201. be circumstanced: yield to circumstances, accept your conditions.
201   'Tis very good; I must be circumstanced.

           Exeunt omnes.