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Navigate this workOthello
Act 4, scene 1
Iago continues to torment Othello with vivid descriptions of Desdemona’s alleged sexual activity. Othello falls into an epileptic seizure. Iago next places Othello where he can see (but not hear) a conversation between Cassio and Iago about Bianca, telling Othello that the bawdy talk is about Cassio and Desdemona. Othello’s fury grows.
Lodovico arrives from Venice with orders from the duke and senators that Othello return to Venice and that Cassio be appointed in his place. Othello strikes Desdemona in Lodovico’s presence, then rudely dismisses her, leaving in a jealous rage. Lodovico expresses his astonishment at the change in Othello.Enter Othello and Iago.
2381 Will you think so?
OTHELLO 2382 Think so, Iago?
IAGO 23830 What,
2383 To kiss in private?
OTHELLO 2384 5 An unauthorized kiss!
2385 Or to be naked with her friend in bed
2386 An hour or more, not meaning any harm?
2387 Naked in bed, Iago, and not mean harm?
2388 It is hypocrisy against the devil!
2389 10 They that mean virtuously, and yet do so,
2390 The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt
2392 If they do nothing, ’tis a venial slip.
2393 But if I give my wife a handkerchief—
OTHELLO 2394 15What then?
2395 Why then, ’tis hers, my lord, and being hers,
2396 She may, I think, bestow ’t on any man.
2397 She is protectress of her honor, too.
2398 May she give that?
2399 20 Her honor is an essence that’s not seen;
2400 They have it very oft that have it not.
2401 But for the handkerchief—
2402 By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it.
2403 Thou saidst—O, it comes o’er my memory
2404 25 As doth the raven o’er the infectious house,
2405 Boding to all—he had my handkerchief.
2406 Ay, what of that?
OTHELLO 2407 That’s not so good now.
IAGO 24080 What
2408 30 If I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
2409 Or heard him say (as knaves be such abroad,
2410 Who having, by their own importunate suit
2411 Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,
2412 Convincèd or supplied them, cannot choose
2413 35 But they must blab)—
OTHELLO 2414 Hath he said anything?
2415 He hath, my lord, but be you well assured,
2416 No more than he’ll unswear.
OTHELLO 2417 What hath he said?
2418 40 ⟨Faith,⟩ that he did—I know not what he did.
OTHELLO 2419 What? What?
OTHELLO 2421 With her?
IAGO 2422 With her—on her—what you will.
OTHELLO 2423 45Lie with her? Lie on her? We say “lie on her”
2424 when they belie her. Lie with her—⟨Zounds,⟩ that’s
2425 fulsome! Handkerchief—confessions—handkerchief.
2426 [To confess and be hanged for his labor.
2427 First to be hanged and then to confess—I tremble
2428 50 at it. Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing
2429 passion without some instruction. It is not
2431 lips—is ’t possible? Confess—handkerchief—O,
2432 devil!]⟨He⟩ falls in a trance.
IAGO 2433 55Work on,
2434 My medicine, ⟨work!⟩ Thus credulous fools are
2436 And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,
2437 All guiltless, meet reproach.—What ho! My lord!
2438 60 My lord, I say. Othello!
2439 How now, Cassio?
CASSIO 2440 What’s the matter?
2441 My lord is fall’n into an epilepsy.
2442 This is his second fit. He had one yesterday.
2443 65 Rub him about the temples.
IAGO 2444 ⟨No, forbear.⟩
2445 The lethargy must have his quiet course.
2446 If not, he foams at mouth, and by and by
2447 Breaks out to savage madness. Look, he stirs.
2448 70 Do you withdraw yourself a little while.
2449 He will recover straight. When he is gone,
2450 I would on great occasion speak with you.
2451 How is it, general? Have you not hurt your head?
2452 Dost thou mock me?
IAGO 2453 75 I mock you not, by heaven!
2454 Would you would bear your fortune like a man!
2455 A hornèd man’s a monster and a beast.
2456 There’s many a beast, then, in a populous city,
2457 And many a civil monster.
2458 80 Did he confess it?
IAGO 2459 Good sir, be a man!
2460 Think every bearded fellow that’s but yoked
2461 May draw with you. There’s millions now alive
2462 That nightly lie in those unproper beds
2463 85 Which they dare swear peculiar. Your case is better.
2464 O, ’tis the spite of hell, the fiend’s arch-mock,
2465 To lip a wanton in a secure couch
2466 And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know,
2467 And knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.
OTHELLO 2468 90O, thou art wise, ’tis certain.
IAGO 2469 Stand you awhile apart.
2470 Confine yourself but in a patient list.
2471 Whilst you were here, o’erwhelmèd with your grief—
2472 A passion most ⟨unsuiting⟩ such a man—
2473 95 Cassio came hither. I shifted him away
2474 And laid good ’scuses upon your ecstasy,
2475 Bade him anon return and here speak with me,
2476 The which he promised. Do but encave yourself,
2477 And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns
2478 100 That dwell in every region of his face.
2479 For I will make him tell the tale anew—
2480 Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when
2481 He hath and is again to cope your wife.
2482 I say but mark his gesture. Marry, patience,
2483 105 Or I shall say you’re all in all in spleen,
2484 And nothing of a man.
OTHELLO 2485 Dost thou hear, Iago,
2486 I will be found most cunning in my patience,
2487 But (dost thou hear?) most bloody.
IAGO 2488 110 That’s not amiss.
2489 But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?
2490 Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,
2491 A huswife that by selling her desires
2492 Buys herself bread and ⟨clothes.⟩ It is a creature
2494 To beguile many and be beguiled by one.
2495 He, when he hears of her, cannot restrain
2496 From the excess of laughter. Here he comes.
2497 As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad,
2498 120 And his unbookish jealousy must ⟨construe⟩
2499 Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behaviors
2500 Quite in the wrong.—How do you, lieutenant?
2501 The worser that you give me the addition
2502 Whose want even kills me.
2503 125 Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on ’t.
2504 Now, if this suit lay in Bianca’s ⟨power,⟩
2505 How quickly should you speed!
CASSIO, ⌜laughing⌝ 2506 Alas, poor caitiff!
OTHELLO 2507 Look how he laughs already!
IAGO 2508 130I never knew woman love man so.
2509 Alas, poor rogue, I think ⟨i’ faith⟩ she loves me.
2510 Now he denies it faintly and laughs it out.
2511 Do you hear, Cassio?
OTHELLO 2512 Now he importunes him
2513 135 To tell it o’er. Go to, well said, well said.
2514 She gives it out that you shall marry her.
2515 Do you intend it?
CASSIO 2516 Ha, ha, ha!
2517 Do you triumph, Roman? Do you triumph?
CASSIO 2518 140I marry ⟨her?⟩ What, a customer? Prithee bear
2519 some charity to my wit! Do not think it so unwholesome.
2520 Ha, ha, ha!
2522 ⟨Faith,⟩ the cry goes that you marry her.
CASSIO 2523 145Prithee say true!
IAGO 2524 I am a very villain else.
OTHELLO 2525 Have you scored me? Well.
CASSIO 2526 This is the monkey’s own giving out. She is
2527 persuaded I will marry her out of her own love and
2528 150 flattery, not out of my promise.
2529 Iago ⟨beckons⟩ me. Now he begins the story.
CASSIO 2530 She was here even now. She haunts me in
2531 every place. I was the other day talking on the
2532 sea-bank with certain Venetians, and thither comes
2533 155 the bauble. ⟨By this hand, she falls⟩ thus about my
OTHELLO 2535 Crying, “O dear Cassio,” as it were; his
2536 gesture imports it.
CASSIO 2537 So hangs and lolls and weeps upon me, so
2538 160 shakes and pulls me. Ha, ha, ha!
OTHELLO 2539 Now he tells how she plucked him to my
2540 chamber.—O, I see that nose of yours, but not that
2541 dog I shall throw it to.
CASSIO 2542 Well, I must leave her company.
IAGO 2543 165Before me, look where she comes.
CASSIO 2544 ’Tis such another fitchew—marry, a perfumed
2545 one!—What do you mean by this haunting
2546 of me?
BIANCA 2547 Let the devil and his dam haunt you! What did
2548 170 you mean by that same handkerchief you gave me
2549 even now? I was a fine fool to take it! I must take
2550 out the work? A likely piece of work, that you
2551 should find it in your chamber and know not who
2553 175 take out the work! There, give it your hobbyhorse.
2554 Wheresoever you had it, I’ll take out no work on ’t.
2555 How now, my sweet Bianca? How now? How now?
2556 By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!
BIANCA 2557 If you’ll come to supper tonight you may. If
2558 180 you will not, come when you are next prepared
2559 for.She exits.
IAGO 2560 After her, after her!
CASSIO 2561 ⟨Faith,⟩ I must. She’ll rail in the streets else.
IAGO 2562 Will you sup there?
CASSIO 2563 185⟨Faith,⟩ I intend so.
IAGO 2564 Well, I may chance to see you, for I would very
2565 fain speak with you.
CASSIO 2566 Prithee come. Will you?
IAGO 2567 Go to; say no more.⟨Cassio exits.⟩
OTHELLO, ⌜coming forward⌝ 2568 190How shall I murder him,
IAGO 2570 Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?
OTHELLO 2571 O Iago!
IAGO 2572 And did you see the handkerchief?
OTHELLO 2573 195Was that mine?
[IAGO 2574 Yours, by this hand! And to see how he prizes
2575 the foolish woman your wife! She gave it him, and
2576 he hath giv’n it his whore.]
OTHELLO 2577 I would have him nine years a-killing! A fine
2578 200 woman, a fair woman, a sweet woman!
IAGO 2579 Nay, you must forget that.
OTHELLO 2580 Ay, let her rot and perish and be damned
2581 tonight, for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned
2582 to stone. I strike it, and it hurts my hand. O, the
2583 205 world hath not a sweeter creature! She might lie by
2584 an emperor’s side and command him tasks.
OTHELLO 2586 Hang her, I do but say what she is! So
2587 delicate with her needle, an admirable musician—
2588 210 O, she will sing the savageness out of a bear!
2589 Of so high and plenteous wit and invention!
IAGO 2590 She’s the worse for all this.
OTHELLO 2591 O, a thousand, a thousand times!—And then
2592 of so gentle a condition!
IAGO 2593 215Ay, too gentle.
OTHELLO 2594 Nay, that’s certain. But yet the pity of it,
2595 Iago! O, Iago, the pity of it, Iago!
IAGO 2596 If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her
2597 patent to offend, for if it touch not you, it comes
2598 220 near nobody.
OTHELLO 2599 I will chop her into messes! Cuckold me?
IAGO 2600 O, ’tis foul in her.
OTHELLO 2601 With mine officer!
IAGO 2602 That’s fouler.
OTHELLO 2603 225Get me some poison, Iago, this night. I’ll not
2604 expostulate with her lest her body and beauty
2605 unprovide my mind again. This night, Iago.
IAGO 2606 Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed,
2607 even the bed she hath contaminated.
OTHELLO 2608 230Good, good. The justice of it pleases. Very
IAGO 2610 And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker. You
2611 shall hear more by midnight.
2612 Excellent good.⟨A trumpet sounds.⟩
2613 235 What trumpet is that same?
IAGO 2614 I warrant something from Venice.
Enter Lodovico, Desdemona, and Attendants.
2615 ’Tis Lodovico. This comes from the Duke.
2616 See, your wife’s with him.
LODOVICO 2617 ⟨God⟩ save you, worthy general.
2619 The Duke and the Senators of Venice greet you.
⌜He hands Othello a paper.⌝
2620 I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.
2621 And what’s the news, good cousin Lodovico?
2622 I am very glad to see you, signior.
2623 245 Welcome to Cyprus.
2624 I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?
IAGO 2625 Lives, sir.
2626 Cousin, there’s fall’n between him and my lord
2627 An unkind breach, but you shall make all well.
OTHELLO 2628 250Are you sure of that?
DESDEMONA 2629 My lord?
OTHELLO, ⌜reading⌝ 2630 “This fail you not to do, as you
2632 He did not call; he’s busy in the paper.
2633 255 Is there division ’twixt my lord and Cassio?
2634 A most unhappy one. I would do much
2635 T’ atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.
OTHELLO 2636 Fire and brimstone!
DESDEMONA 2637 My lord?
OTHELLO 2638 260Are you wise?
2639 What, is he angry?
LODOVICO 2640 May be the letter moved him.
2641 For, as I think, they do command him home,
2642 Deputing Cassio in his government.
DESDEMONA 2643 265⟨By my troth,⟩ I am glad on ’t.
DESDEMONA 2645 My lord?
OTHELLO 2646 I am glad to see you mad.
DESDEMONA 2647 Why, sweet Othello!
OTHELLO, ⌜striking her⌝ 2648 270Devil!
DESDEMONA 2649 I have not deserved this.
2650 My lord, this would not be believed in Venice,
2651 Though I should swear I saw ’t. ’Tis very much.
2652 Make her amends. She weeps.
OTHELLO 2653 275 O, devil, devil!
2654 If that the Earth could teem with woman’s tears,
2655 Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
2656 Out of my sight!
DESDEMONA 2657 I will not stay to offend you.
⌜She begins to leave.⌝
LODOVICO 2658 280Truly ⟨an⟩ obedient lady.
2659 I do beseech your Lordship call her back.
OTHELLO 2660 Mistress.
DESDEMONA, ⌜turning back⌝ 2661 My lord?
OTHELLO 2662 What would you with her, sir?
LODOVICO 2663 285Who, I, my lord?
2664 Ay, you did wish that I would make her turn.
2665 Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on,
2666 And turn again. And she can weep, sir, weep.
2667 And she’s obedient, as you say, obedient.
2668 290 Very obedient.—Proceed you in your tears.—
2669 Concerning this, sir—O, well-painted passion!—
2670 I am commanded home.—Get you away.
2671 I’ll send for you anon.—Sir, I obey the mandate
2672 And will return to Venice.—Hence, avaunt!
2673 295 Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight
2674 I do entreat that we may sup together.
2676 monkeys!He exits.
2677 Is this the noble Moor, whom our full senate
2678 300 Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature
2679 Whom passion could not shake, whose solid virtue
2680 The shot of accident nor dart of chance
2681 Could neither graze nor pierce?
IAGO 2682 He is much
2683 305 changed.
2684 Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?
2685 He’s that he is. I may not breathe my censure
2686 What he might be. If what he might he is not,
2687 I would to heaven he were.
LODOVICO 2688 310 What? Strike his wife?
2689 ’Faith, that was not so well. Yet would I knew
2690 That stroke would prove the worst.
LODOVICO 2691 Is it his use?
2692 Or did the letters work upon his blood
2693 315 And new-create ⟨this⟩ fault?
IAGO 2694 Alas, alas!
2695 It is not honesty in me to speak
2696 What I have seen and known. You shall observe
2698 320 And his own courses will denote him so
2699 That I may save my speech. Do but go after
2700 And mark how he continues.
2701 I am sorry that I am deceived in him.