Othello: Act 4, Scene 1

           Enter OTHELLO and IAGO.

  1   Will you think so?

  1                     Think so, Iago!

  1                                   What,
  2   To kiss in private?

  2                      An unauthorized kiss.

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

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

  9   So they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip;
 10   But if I give my wife a handkerchief —

 11   What then?

 12   Why, then, 'tis hers, my lord; and, being hers,
 13   She may, I think, bestow't on any man.

 14   She is protectress of her honor too:
 15   May she give that?

 16   Her honor is an essence that's not seen;
17. They have it very oft that have it not: i.e., often individuals enjoy a reputation for honor who have it not.
 17   They have it very oft that have it not:
 18   But, for the handkerchief —

 19   By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it.
 20   Thou said'st (O, it comes o'er my memory,
21. raven o'er the infected house: allusion to the belief that the raven hovered over a house of sickness or infection, such as one visited by the plague.
 21   As doth the raven o'er the infected house,
 22   Boding to all) he had my handkerchief.

 23   Ay, what of that?

 23                  That's not so good now.

 23                                              What
 24   If I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
25. abroad: around or about.
 25   Or heard him say — as knaves be such abroad,
 26   Who having, by their own importunate suit,
 27   Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,
28. Convinced or supplied them: Seduced or satisfied them.
 28   Convinced or supplied them, cannot choose
 29   But they must blab —

 29                    Hath he said any thing?

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

 31                         What hath he said?

 32   Faith, that he did—I know not what he did.

 33   What? what?

 34   Lie—

 34               With her?

 34                               With her, on her; what you will.

 35   Lie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her, when
 36   they belie her. Lie with her! that's fulsome.
 37   —Handkerchief—confessions—handkerchief!—To
 38   confess, and be hanged for his labor;—first, to be
 39   hanged, and then to confess.—I tremble at it.
40-41. Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing / passion without some instruction: i.e., It is not natural that I would feel such overwhelming (shadowing) emotion (jealousy) without some foundation in fact. instruction: prompting, cause.
 40   Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing
 41   passion without some instruction. It is not words
 42   that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips.
 43   —Is't possible?—Confess—handkerchief!—O devil!

           Falls in a trance.

 44   Work on,
 45   My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught;
 46   And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,
 47   All guiltless, meet reproach. —What, ho! my lord!
 48   My lord, I say! Othello!

           Enter CASSIO.

 48                              How now, Cassio!

 49   What's the matter?

 50   My lord is fall'n into an epilepsy.
 51   This is his second fit; he had one yesterday.

 52   Rub him about the temples.

 52                                      No, forbear;
53. lethargy must have his: coma must have its.
 53   The lethargy must have his quiet course:
 54   If not, he foams at mouth and by and by
 55   Breaks out to savage madness. Look he stirs:
 56   Do you withdraw yourself a little while,
 57   He will recover straight: when he is gone,
 58   I would on great occasion speak with you.

           [Exit Cassio.]

59. hurt your head: Othello takes this as alluding to a cuckold's horns.
 59   How is it, general? Have you not hurt your head?

 60   Dost thou mock me?

 60                               I mock you not, by heaven.
 61   Would you would bear your fortune like a man!

 62   A horned man's a monster and a beast.

 63   There's many a beast then in a populous city,
64. civil: i.e., among the citizenry, city-dwelling.
 64   And many a civil monster.

 65   Did he confess it?

 65                     Good sir, be a man;
66. yoked: married.
 66   Think every bearded fellow that's but yoked
67. draw with you: pull you like yoked oxen who i.e., share your fate as cuckold. 68. unproper beds / Which they dare swear peculiar: not exclusively their own beds which they dare to swear private. your case is better: i.e., because you know the truth. 71. lip: kiss. secure: unsuspected.
 67   May draw with you. There's millions now alive
 68   That nightly lie in those unproper beds
 69   Which they dare swear peculiar: your case is better.
 70   O, 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock,
 71   To lip a wanton in a secure couch,
 72   And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know;
 73   And knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.

 74   O, thou art wise; 'tis certain.

 74                                    Stand you awhile apart;
75. in a patient list: within the bounds of patience (manly self control).
 75   Confine yourself but in a patient list.
 76   Whilst you were here o'erwhelmed with your grief—
 77   A passion most unsuiting such a man—
 78   Cassio came hither: I shifted him away,
79. ecstasy: trance.
 79   And laid good 'scuse upon your ecstasy,
 80   Bade him anon return and here speak with me;
81. encave: conceal.
 81   The which he promised. Do but encave yourself,
82. fleers: sneers. notable scorns: obvious instances of disrespect.
 82   And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns,
 83   That dwell in every region of his face,
 84   For I will make him tell the tale anew:
 85   Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when
86. cope: copulate with.
 86   He hath, and is again to cope your wife.
 87   I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience;
88. all in all in spleen: utterly governed by passionate impulses.
 88   Or I shall say you are all in all in spleen,
 89   And nothing of a man.

 89                              Dost thou hear, Iago?
 90   I will be found most cunning in my patience;
 91   But—dost thou hear?—most bloody.

 91                                                   That's not amiss;
 92   But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?

           [Othello withdraws.]

 93   Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,
94. huswife: hussy.
 94   A huswife that by selling her desires
 95   Buys herself bread and clothes: it is a creature
 96   That dotes on Cassio; as 'tis the strumpet's plague
 97   To beguile many and be beguiled by one:
 98   He, when he hears of her, cannot refrain
 99   From the excess of laughter. Here he comes:

           Enter CASSIO.

100   As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad;
101. unbookish: uninstructed; ignorant. construe: interpret.
101   And his unbookish jealousy must construe
102   Poor Cassio's smiles, gestures and light behavior,
103   Quite in the wrong. How do you now, lieutenant?

104. addition: the title of lieutenant makes Cassio feel worser because he is no longer a lieutenant.
104   The worser that you give me the addition
105   Whose want even kills me.

106   Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on't.

           [Speaking lower.]

107   Now, if this suit lay in Bianca's power,
108   How quickly should you speed!

108. caitiff: wretch.
108                               Alas, poor caitiff!

109   Look, how he laughs already!

110   I never knew woman love man so.

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

112. faintly: not very earnestly.
112   Now he denies it faintly, and laughs it out.

113   Do you hear, Cassio?

113                             Now he importunes him
114   To tell it o'er: go to; well said, well said.

115   She gives it out that you shall marry hey:
116   Do you intend it?

117   Ha, ha, ha!

118. Roman: the Romans were noted for their triumphs or triumphal processions.
118   Do you triumph, Roman? do you triumph?

119. customer: prostitute.
119   I marry her! what? a customer! Prithee,
120   bear some charity to my wit: do not think
121. unwholesome: unsound.
121   it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!

122. they laugh that win: i.e., they that laugh last laugh best.
122   So, so, so, so: they laugh that win.

123   Faith, the cry goes that you shall marry her.

124   Prithee, say true.

125   I am a very villain else.

126. scor'd: scored off, beaten.
126   Have you scor'd me? Well.

127. the monkey's own giving out: i.e., Bianca's own story.
127   This is the monkey's own giving out. She is
128-129. her own / love and flattery: her self-love and self-satisfaction.
128   persuaded I will marry her, out of her own
129   love and flattery, not out of my promise.

130. beckons: signals.
130   Iago beckons me; now he begins the
131   story.

132   She was here even now; she haunts me in
133   every place. I was the other day talking on
134   the sea-bank with certain Venetians; and
135. bauble: plaything; toy.
135   thither comes the bauble, and, by this hand,
136   she falls me thus about my neck—

137   Crying "O dear Cassio!" as it were: his gesture
138   imports it.

139   So hangs, and lolls, and weeps upon me; so hales,
140   and pulls me: ha, ha, ha!

141   Now he tells how she plucked him to my chamber.
142   O, I see that nose of yours, but not that dog I shall
143   throw it to.

144   Well, I must leave her company.

145. Before me: i.e., on my soul.
145   Before me! look, where she comes.

           Enter BIANCA.

146. fitchew: polecat (thought to be very lecherous as well as strong smelling); also a slang word for prostitute.
146   'Tis such another fitchew! marry, a perfumed one.—
147   What do you mean by this haunting of me?

148   Let the devil and his dam haunt you! What did you
149   mean by that same handkerchief you gave me even
150   now? I was a fine fool to take it. I must take out the
151   work?—A likely piece of work, that you should
152   find it in your chamber, and not know who left it
153   there! This is some minx's token, and I must take
154. hobby-horse: harlot; woman of easy virtue.
154   out the work? There; give it your hobby-horse:
155   wheresoever you had it, I'll take out no work on't.

156   How now, my sweet Bianca! how now! how
157   now!

158   By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!

159. An: If.
159   An you'll come to supper tonight, you may;
160   an you will not, come when you are next
161   prepared for.


162   After her, after her.

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

164   Will you sup there?

165   Faith, I intend so.

166   Well, I may chance to see you; for I would
167   very fain speak with you.

168   Prithee, come; will you?

169   Go to; say no more.

           [Exit Cassio.]

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

171   Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?

172   O Iago!

173   And did you see the handkerchief?

174   Was that mine?

175   Yours by this hand: and to see how he prizes the
176   foolish woman your wife! she gave it him, and he
177   hath given it his whore.

178   I would have him nine years a-killing.
179   A fine woman! a fair woman! a sweet woman!

180   Nay, you must forget that.

181   Ay, let her rot, and perish, and be damned tonight;
182   for she shall not live: no, my heart is turned to
183   stone; I strike it, and it hurts my hand. O, the
184   world hath not a sweeter creature! she might lie by
185   an emperor's side and command him tasks.

186. your way: your proper course, the direction your mind should take; i.e., the way you should think of her.
186   Nay, that's not your way.

187   Hang her! I do but say what she is. So delicate
188   with her needle: an admirable musician! O, she
189   will sing the savageness out of a bear. Of so high
190   and plenteous wit and invention!

191   She's the worse for all this.

192-193. of so gentle a condition: so nobly born and bred.
192   O, a thousand thousand times: and then, of so
193   gentle a condition!

194. gentle: i.e., generous with her favors.
194   Ay, too gentle.

195   Nay, that's certain. But yet the pity of it, Iago!
196   O Iago, the pity of it, Iago!

197. fond: dotingly foolish.
197   If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her
198. patent: license.
198   patent to offend; for, if it touch not you, it comes
199   near nobody.

200. messes: portions of food. i.e., little pieces.
200   I will chop her into messes. Cuckold me!

201   O, 'tis foul in her.

202   With mine officer!

203   That's fouler.

204   Get me some poison, Iago; this night. I'll not
205. body and beauty: physical beauty.
205   expostulate with her, lest her body and beauty
206   unprovide my mind again. This night, Iago.

207   Do it not with poison, strangle her in her bed,
208   even the bed she hath contaminated.

209   Good, good: the justice of it pleases: very
210   good.

211. be his undertaker: undertake to dispatch him.
211   And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker: you
212   shall hear more by midnight.

213   Excellent good.

           [A trumpet within.]

213                            What trumpet is that same?

214   I warrant something from Venice.

           Enter LODOVICO, DESDEMONA,
           and ATTENDANTS.

214                                           'Tis Lodovico—
215   This comes from the Duke. See, your wife's with him.

216   God save you, worthy general!

216. With all my heart: i.e., I heartily thank you.
216                          With all my heart, sir.

217   The duke and senators of Venice greet you.

           [Gives him a letter.]

218   I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.

           [Opens the letter, and reads.]

219   And what's the news, good cousin Lodovico?

220   I am very glad to see you, signior
221   Welcome to Cyprus.

222   I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?

223   Lives, sir.

224   Cousin, there's fall'n between him and my lord
225   An unkind breach; but you shall make all well.

226   Are you sure of that?

227   My lord?

      OTHELLO [Reads.]
228   "This fail you not to do, as you
229   will—"

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

232   A most unhappy one. I would do much
233. atone: reconcile.
233   To atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.

234   Fire and brimstone!

234                                 My lord?

234                                               Are you wise?

235   What, is he angry?

235                           May be the letter moved him;
236   For, as I think, they do command him home,
237. government: office.
237   Deputing Cassio in his government.

238   By my troth, I am glad on't.

238                                               Indeed!

238                                                            My lord?

239   I am glad to see you mad.

239                                        Why, sweet Othello,—

      OTHELLO [Striking her.]
240   Devil!

241   I have not deserved this.

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

244                             O devil, devil!
245. teem with: breed, be made pregnant by.
245   If that the earth could teem with woman's tears,
246. falls: lets fall. crocodile: Crocodiles were supposed to weep hypocritical tears for their victims.
246   Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
247   Out of my sight!

247                  I will not stay to offend you.


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

250   Mistress!

250                  My lord?

250                               What would you with her, sir?

251   Who, I, my lord?

252   Ay; you did wish that I would make her turn:
253   Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on,
254   And turn again; and she can weep, sir, weep;
255   And she's obedient, as you say, obedient,
256   Very obedient. —Proceed you in your tears.—
257   Concerning this, sir,—O well-painted passion!—
258   I am commanded home. —Get you away;
259   I'll send for you anon. —Sir, I obey the mandate,
260. avaunt: begone.
260   And will return to Venice. —Hence, avaunt!

           [Exit Desdemona.]

261   Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight,
262   I do entreat that we may sup together:
263. Goats and monkeys!: Both animals were known to be extremely lecherous.
263   You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.—Goats and monkeys!


264   Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate
265   Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature
266   Whom passion could not shake? whose solid virtue
267   The shot of accident, nor dart of chance,
268   Could neither graze nor pierce?

268                                 He is much changed.

269. safe: sound.
269   Are his wits safe? is he not light of brain?

270-272. I may not breathe my censure / What he might be. If what he might he is not, / I would to heaven he were!: I dare not venture an opinion as to whether he's of unsound mind, as you suggest; but if he isn't, then it might be better to wish he were in fact insane, since only that could excuse his wild behavior.
270   He's that he is; I may not breathe my censure
271   What he might be. If what he might he is not,
272   I would to heaven he were!

272                            What, strike his wife!

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

274. use: custom, habit.
274                                Is it his use?
275. blood: passions.
275   Or did the letters work upon his blood,
276   And new-create this fault?

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

282   I am sorry that I am deceived in him.