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Act 4, Scene 1


IAGO: Will you think so?

OTHELLO:                Think so, Iago!

IAGO:                                    What,
To kiss in private?

OTHELLO:                An unauthorized kiss.

IAGO: Or to be naked with her friend in bed
An hour or more, not meaning any harm?

OTHELLO: Naked in bed, Iago, and not mean harm!     [5]
It is hypocrisy against the devil:
They that mean virtuously, and yet do so,
The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven.

IAGO: So they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip:
But if I give my wife a handkerchief,--     [10]

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 too:
May she give that?     [15]

IAGO: Her honour is an essence that's not seen;
They have it very oft that have it not:
But, for the handkerchief,--

OTHELLO: By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it.
Thou said'st--O, it comes o'er my memory,     [20]
As doth the raven o'er the infected house,
Boding to all--he had my handkerchief.

IAGO: Ay, what of that?

OTHELLO:               That's not so good now.

IAGO:                                             What,
If I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
Or heard him say,--as knaves be such abroad,     [25]
Who having, by their own importunate suit,
Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,
Convinced or supplied them, cannot choose
But they must blab--

OTHELLO:                Hath he said any thing?

IAGO: He hath, my lord; but be you well assured,     [30]
No more than he'll unswear.

OTHELLO:                     What hath he said?

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.

OTHELLO: Lie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her,     [35]
when they belie her. Lie with her! that's fulsome.
--Handkerchief--confessions--handkerchief! --To
confess, and be hanged for his labour;--first, to be
hanged, and then to confess.--I tremble at it.
Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing     [40]
passion without some instruction. It is not words
that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips.
--Is't possible?--Confess--handkerchief!--O devil!--
[Falls in a trance.]

IAGO: Work on,
My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught;     [45]
And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,
All guiltless, meet reproach. What, ho! my lord!
My lord, I say! Othello!
                                    How now, Cassio!

CASSIO: What's the matter?

IAGO: My lord is fall'n into an epilepsy:     [50]
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:
If not, he foams at mouth and by and by
Breaks out to savage madness. Look he stirs:     [55]
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?

OTHELLO: Dost thou mock me?     [60]

IAGO:                I mock you! no, by heaven.
Would you would bear your fortune like a man!

OTHELLO: A horned man's a monster and a beast.

IAGO: There's many a beast then in a populous city,
And many a civil monster.

OTHELLO: Did he confess it?     [65]

IAGO:                Good sir, be a man;
Think every bearded fellow that's but yoked
May draw with you: there's millions now alive
That nightly lie in those unproper beds
Which they dare swear peculiar: your case is better.
O, 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock,     [70]
To lip a wanton in a secure couch,
And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know;
And knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.

OTHELLO: O, thou art wise; 'tis certain.

IAGO:                          Stand you awhile apart;
Confine yourself but in a patient list.     [75]
Whilst you were here o'erwhelmed with your grief--
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;     [80]
The which he promised. Do but encave yourself,
And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns,
That dwell in every region of his face;
For I will make him tell the tale anew,
Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when     [85]
He hath, and is again to cope your wife:
I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience;
Or I shall say you are all in all in spleen,
And nothing of a man.

OTHELLO:                Dost thou hear, Iago?
I will be found most cunning in my patience;     [90]
But--dost thou hear?--most bloody.

IAGO:                          That's not amiss;
But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?
[OTHELLO retires.]
Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,
A housewife that by selling her desires
Buys herself bread and clothes: it is a creature     [95]
That dotes on Cassio; as 'tis the strumpet's plague
To beguile many and be beguiled by one:
He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain
From the excess of laughter. Here he comes:
Re-enter CASSIO.
As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad;     [100]
And his unbookish jealousy must construe
Poor Cassio's smiles, gestures and light behavior,
Quite in the wrong. How do you now, lieutenant?

CASSIO: The worser that you give me the addition
Whose want even kills me.     [105]

IAGO: Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on't.
[Speaking lower.]
Now, if this suit lay in Bianco's power,
How quickly should you speed!

CASSIO:                         Alas, poor caitiff!

OTHELLO: Look, how he laughs already!

IAGO: I never knew woman love man so.     [110]

CASSIO: Alas, poor rogue! I think, i' faith, she loves me.

OTHELLO: Now he denies it faintly, and laughs it out.

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 hey:     [115]
Do you intend it?

CASSIO: Ha, ha, ha!

OTHELLO: Do you triumph, Roman? do you triumph?

CASSIO: I marry her! what? a customer! Prithee, bear some
charity to my wit: do not think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!     [120]

OTHELLO: So, so, so, so: they laugh that win.

IAGO: 'Faith, the cry goes that you shall marry her.

CASSIO: Prithee, say true.

IAGO: I am a very villain else.

OTHELLO: Have you scored me? Well.     [125]

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.

CASSIO: She was here even now; she haunts me in     [130]
every place. I was the other day talking on the sea-bank
with certain Venetians; and thither comes the bauble,
and, by this hand, she falls me thus about 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,     [135]
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 that dog I shall throw it to.

CASSIO: Well, I must leave her company.

IAGO: Before me! look, where she comes.     [140]

CASSIO: 'Tis such another fitchew! marry a perfumed one.
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     [145]
take out the work?--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 token, and I must
take out the work? There; give it your hobby-horse:
wheresoever you had 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 you'll come to supper to-night, you may;
an you will not, come when you are next prepared for.

IAGO: After her, after her.     [155]

CASSIO: 'Faith, I must; she'll rail in the street else.

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?     [160]

IAGO: Go to; say no more.

[Exit CASSIO.]

OTHELLO: [Advancing] How shall I murder him, Iago?

IAGO: Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?


IAGO: And did you see the handkerchief?     [165]

OTHELLO: Was that mine?

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.     [170]
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     [175]
hath not a sweeter creature: she might lie by an emperor's
side and command him tasks.

IAGO: Nay, that's not your way.

OTHELLO: Hang her! I do but say what she is: so delicate with
her needle: an admirable musician: O! she will sing the savageness     [180]
out of a bear: of so high and plenteous wit and invention:--

IAGO: She's the worse for all this.

OTHELLO: O, a thousand thousand times: and then, of so
gentle a condition!

IAGO: Ay, too gentle.     [185]

OTHELLO: Nay, that's certain: but yet the pity of it, Iago!
O Iago, the pity of it, Iago!

IAGO: If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her patent
to offend; for, if it touch not you, it comes near nobody.

OTHELLO: I will chop her into messes: cuckold me!     [190]

IAGO: O, 'tis foul in her.

OTHELLO: With mine officer!

IAGO: That's fouler.

OTHELLO: Get me some poison, Iago; this night:
I'll not expostulate with her, lest her body and beauty     [195]
unprovide 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     [200]
hear more by midnight.

OTHELLO: Excellent good.
[A trumpet within.]
                                         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.

LODOVICO: Save you, worthy general!     [205]

OTHELLO:                     With all my heart, sir.

LODOVICO: The duke and senators of Venice greet you.
[Gives him a letter.]

OTHELLO: I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.
[Opens the letter, and reads.]

DESDEMONA: And what's the news, good cousin Lodovico?

IAGO: I am very glad to see you, signior;
Welcome to Cyprus.     [210]

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.

OTHELLO: Are you sure of that?     [215]


OTHELLO: [Reads] 'This fail you not to do, as you will--'

LODOVICO: He did not call; he's busy in the paper.
Is there division 'twixt my lord and Cassio?

DESDEMONA: A most unhappy one: I would do much     [220]
To atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.

OTHELLO: Fire and brimstone!

DESDEMONA:                My lord?

OTHELLO:                               Are you wise?

DESDEMONA: What, is he angry?

LODOVICO:                May be the letter moved him;
For, as I think, they do command him home,
Deputing Cassio in his government.     [225]

DESDEMONA: Trust me, I am glad on't.

OTHELLO:                     Indeed!

DESDEMONA:                          My lord?

OTHELLO: I am glad to see you mad.

DESDEMONA:                     Why, sweet Othello,--

OTHELLO: [Striking her] Devil!

DESDEMONA: I have not deserved this.

LODOVICO: My lord, this would not be believed in Venice,     [230]
Though I should swear I saw't: 'tis very much:
Make her amends; she weeps.

OTHELLO:                     O devil, devil!
If that the earth could teem with woman's tears,
Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
Out of my sight!     [235]

DESDEMONA: I will not stay to offend you.

LODOVICO: Truly, an obedient lady:
I do beseech your lordship, call her back.

OTHELLO: Mistress!

DESDEMONA:      My lord?

OTHELLO: What would you with her, sir?     [240]

LODOVICO: Who, I, my lord?

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,     [245]
Very obedient. Proceed you in your tears.
Concerning this, sir,--O well-painted passion!--
I am commanded home. Get you away;
I'll send for you anon. Sir, I obey the mandate,
And will return to Venice. Hence, avaunt!     [250]
Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight,
I do entreat that we may sup together:
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.--Goats and monkeys!

LODOVICO: Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate
Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature     [255]
Whom passion could not shake? whose solid virtue
The shot of accident, nor dart of chance,
Could neither graze nor pierce?

IAGO:                          He is much changed.

LODOVICO: Are his wits safe? is he not light of brain?

IAGO: He's that he is: I may not breathe my censure     [260]
What he might be: if what he might he is not,
I would to heaven he were!

LODOVICO:                     What, strike his wife!

IAGO: 'Faith, that was not so well; yet would I knew
That stroke would prove the worst!

LODOVICO:                          Is it his use?
Or did the letters work upon his blood,     [265]
And new-create this fault?

IAGO:                     Alas, alas!
It is not honesty in me to speak
What I have seen and known. You shall observe him,
And his own courses will denote him so
That I may save my speech: do but go after,     [270]
And mark how he continues.

LODOVICO: I am sorry that I am deceived in him.


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