Dramatis Personae

OTHELLO, the Moor, general of the Venetian forces

DESDEMONA, his wife

IAGO, ensign to Othello

EMILIA, his wife, lady-in-waiting to Desdemona

CASSIO, lieutenant to Othello


BRABANTIO, Venetian Senator, father of Desdemona

GRATIANO, nobleman of Venice, brother of Brabantio

LODOVICO, nobleman of Venice, kinsman of Brabantio

RODERIGO, rejected suitor of Desdemona

BIANCA, mistress of Cassio

MONTANO, a Cypriot official

A Clown in service to Othello

Senators, Sailors, Messengers, Officers, Gentlemen, Musicians, and


SCENE: Venice and Cyprus


Venice. A street.

Enter Roderigo and Iago.

RODERIGO. O never tell me! I take it much unkindly

That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse

As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.

IAGO. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me.

If ever I did dream of such a matter,

Abhor me.

RODERIGO. Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

IAGO. Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city,

In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,

Off-capp'd to him; and, by the faith of man,

I know my price, I am worth no worse a place.

But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,

Evades them, with a bumbast circumstance

Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war,

And, in conclusion,

Nonsuits my mediators; for, "Certes," says he,

"I have already chose my officer."

And what was he?

Forsooth, a great arithmetician,

One Michael Cassio, a Florentine

(A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife)

That never set a squadron in the field,

Nor the division of a battle knows

More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,

Wherein the toged consuls can propose

As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice

Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election;

And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof

At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds

Christian and heathen, must be belee'd and calm'd

By debator and creditor. This counter-caster,

He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,

And I- God bless the mark!- his Moorship's ancient.

RODERIGO. By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.

IAGO. Why, there's no remedy. 'Tis the curse of service,

Preferment goes by letter and affection,

And not by old gradation, where each second

Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself

Whether I in any just term am affined

To love the Moor.

RODERIGO. I would not follow him then.

IAGO. O, sir, content you.

I follow him to serve my turn upon him:

We cannot all be masters, nor all masters

Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark

Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,

That doting on his own obsequious bondage

Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,

For nought but provender, and when he's old, cashier'd.

Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are

Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty,

Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves

And throwing but shows of service on their lords

Do well thrive by them; and when they have lined their coats

Do themselves homage. These fellows have some soul,

And such a one do I profess myself.

For, sir,

It is as sure as you are Roderigo,

Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago.

In following him, I follow but myself;

Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,

But seeming so, for my peculiar end.

For when my outward action doth demonstrate

The native act and figure of my heart

In complement extern, 'tis not long after

But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve

For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

RODERIGO. What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe,

If he can carry't thus!

IAGO. Call up her father,

Rouse him, make after him, poison his delight,

Proclaim him in the streets, incense her kinsmen,

And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,

Plague him with flies. Though that his joy be joy,

Yet throw such changes of vexation on't

As it may lose some color.

RODERIGO. Here is her father's house; I'll call a loud.

IAGO. Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell

As when, by night and negligence, the fire

Is spied in populous cities.

RODERIGO. What, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!

IAGO. Awake! What, ho, Brabantio! Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!

Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags!

Thieves! Thieves!

Brabantio appears above, at a window.

BRABANTIO. What is there a son of this terrible summons?

What is the matter there?

RODERIGO. Signior, is all your family within?

IAGO. Are your doors lock'd?

BRABANTIO. Why? Wherefore ask you this?

IAGO. 'Zounds, sir, you're robb'd! For shame, put on your gown;

Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;

Even now, very now, an old black ram

Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise!

Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,

Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you.

Arise, I say!

BRABANTIO. What, have you lost your have wits?

RODERIGO. Most reverend signior, do you know my voice?

BRABANTIO. Not I. What are you?

RODERIGO. My name is Roderigo.

BRABANTIO. The worser welcome.

I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors.

In honest plainness thou hast heard me say

My daughter is not for thee; and now, in madness,

Being full of supper and distempering draughts,

Upon malicious bravery, dost thou come

To start my quiet.

RODERIGO. Sir, sir, sir-

BRABANTIO. But thou must needs be sure

My spirit and my place have in them power

To make this bitter to thee.

RODERIGO. Patience, good sir.

BRABANTIO. What tell'st thou me of robbing? This is Venice;

My house is not a grange.

RODERIGO. Most grave Brabantio,

In simple and pure soul I come to you.

IAGO. 'Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not serve God,

if the devil bid you. Because we come to do you service and you

think we are ruffians, you'll have your daughter covered with a

Barbary horse; you'll have your nephews neigh to you; you'll have

coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans.

BRABANTIO. What profane wretch art thou?

IAGO. I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the

Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

BRABANTIO. Thou are a villain.

IAGO. You are- a senator.

BRABANTIO. This thou shalt answer; I know thee, Roderigo.

RODERIGO. Sir, I will answer anything. But, I beseech you,

If't be your pleasure and most wise consent,

As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter,

At this odd-even and dull watch o' the night,

Transported with no worse nor better guard

But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,

To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor-

If this be known to you, and your allowance,

We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs;

But if you know not this, my manners tell me

We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe

That, from the sense of all civility,

I thus would play and trifle with your reverence.

Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,

I say again, hath made a gross revolt,

Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes

In an extravagant and wheeling stranger

Of here and everywhere. Straight satisfy yourself:

If she be in her chamber or your house,

Let loose on me the justice of the state

For thus deluding you.

BRABANTIO. Strike on the tinder, ho!

Give me a taper! Call up all my people!

This accident is not unlike my dream;

Belief of it oppresses me already.

Light, I say, light! Exit above.

IAGO. Farewell, for I must leave you.

It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place,

To be produced- as, if I stay, I shall-

Against the Moor; for I do know, the state,

However this may gall him with some check,

Cannot with safety cast him, for he's embark'd

With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,

Which even now stands in act, that, for their souls,

Another of his fathom they have none

To lead their business; in which regard,

Though I do hate him as I do hell pains,

Yet for necessity of present life,

I must show out a flag and sign of love,

Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him,

Lead to the Sagittary the raised search,

And there will I be with him. So farewell. Exit.

Enter, below, Brabantio, in his nightgown, and

Servants with torches.

BRABANTIO. It is too true an evil: gone she is,

And what's to come of my despised time

Is nought but bitterness. Now, Roderigo,

Where didst thou see her? O unhappy girl!

With the Moor, say'st thou? Who would be a father!

How didst thou know 'twas she? O, she deceives me

Past thought! What said she to you? Get more tapers.

Raise all my kindred. Are they married, think you?

RODERIGO. Truly, I think they are.

BRABANTIO. O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood!

Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' minds

By what you see them act. Is there not charms

By which the property of youth and maidhood

May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo,

Of some such thing?

RODERIGO. Yes, sir, I have indeed.

BRABANTIO. Call up my brother. O, would you had had her!

Some one way, some another. Do you know

Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?

RODERIGO. I think I can discover him, if you please

To get good guard and go along with me.

BRABANTIO. Pray you, lead on. At every house I'll call;

I may command at most. Get weapons, ho!

And raise some special officers of night.

On, good Roderigo, I'll deserve your pains. Exeunt.


Another street.

Enter Othello, Iago, and Attendants with torches.

IAGO. Though in the trade of war I have slain men,

Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience

To do no contrived murther. I lack iniquity

Sometimes to do me service. Nine or ten times

I had thought to have yerk'd him here under the ribs.

OTHELLO. 'Tis better as it is.

IAGO. Nay, but he prated

And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms

Against your honor

That, with the little godliness I have,

I did full hard forbear him. But I pray you, sir,

Are you fast married? Be assured of this,

That the magnifico is much beloved,

And hath in his effect a voice potential

As double as the Duke's. He will divorce you,

Or put upon you what restraint and grievance

The law, with all his might to enforce it on,

Will give him cable.

OTHELLO. Let him do his spite.

My services, which I have done the signiory,

Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know-

Which, when I know that boasting is an honor,

I shall promulgate- I fetch my life and being

From men of royal siege, and my demerits

May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune

As this that I have reach'd. For know, Iago,

But that I love the gentle Desdemona,

I would not my unhoused free condition

Put into circumscription and confine

For the sea's worth. But, look! What lights come yond?

IAGO. Those are the raised father and his friends.

You were best go in.

OTHELLO. Not I; I must be found.

My parts, my title, and my perfect soul

Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?

IAGO. By Janus, I think no.

Enter Cassio and certain Officers with torches.

OTHELLO. The servants of the Duke? And my lieutenant?

The goodness of the night upon you, friends!

What is the news?

CASSIO. The Duke does greet you, general,

And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance,

Even on the instant.

OTHELLO. What is the matter, think you?

CASSIO. Something from Cyprus, as I may divine;

It is a business of some heat. The galleys

Have sent a dozen sequent messengers

This very night at one another's heels;

And many of the consuls, raised and met,

Are at the Duke's already. You have been hotly call'd for,

When, being not at your lodging to be found,

The Senate hath sent about three several quests

To search you out.

OTHELLO. 'Tis well I am found by you.

I will but spend a word here in the house

And go with you. Exit.

CASSIO. Ancient, what makes he here?

IAGO. Faith, he tonight hath boarded a land carack;

If it prove lawful prize, he's made forever.

CASSIO. I do not understand.

IAGO. He's married.

CASSIO. To who?

Re-enter Othello.


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