Othello: Act 4, Scene 3


           Enter OTHELLO, LODOVICO, DESDEMONA,
           EMILIA and ATTENDANTS.

      LODOVICO
  1   I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.

      OTHELLO
  2   O, pardon me: 'twill do me good to walk.

      LODOVICO
  3   Madam, good night; I humbly thank your ladyship.

      DESDEMONA
  4   Your honor is most welcome.

      OTHELLO
  4                              Will you walk, sir?
  5   O,—Desdemona,—

      DESDEMONA
  6   My lord?

      OTHELLO
  7   Get you to bed on the instant; I will be returned
  8   forthwith Dismiss your attendant there.
  9   Look it be done.

      DESDEMONA
 10   I will, my lord.

           Exeunt [Othello, Lodovico, and Attendants].

      EMILIA
 11   How goes it now? he looks gentler than he did.

      DESDEMONA
12. incontinent: at once.
 12   He says he will return incontinent:
 13   He hath commanded me to go to bed,
 14   And bade me to dismiss you.

      EMILIA
 14                            Dismiss me?

      DESDEMONA
 15   It was his bidding: therefore, good Emilia,
 16   Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu:
 17   We must not now displease him.

      EMILIA
 18   I would you had never seen him!

      DESDEMONA
 19   So would not I. My love doth so approve him,
20. stubbornness: roughness. checks: rebukes.
 20   That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns—
21. favor: attractiveness.
 21   Prithee, unpin me,—have grace and favor in them.

      EMILIA
 22   I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.

      DESDEMONA
 23   All's one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds!
 24   If I do die before thee, prithee shroud me
 25   In one of those same sheets.

      EMILIA
25. talk: i.e., prattle idly.
 25                          Come, come you talk.

      DESDEMONA
 26   My mother had a maid call'd Barbary:
27. mad: wild; i.e., untrue, faithless.
 27   She was in love, and he she loved proved mad
28. Willow: Symbolic of disappointed love.
 28   And did forsake her: she had a song of "Willow,"
 29   An old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune,
 30   And she died singing it. That song tonight
31-32. I have much to do, / But to: it's all I can do not to.
 31   Will not go from my mind; I have much to do,
 32   But to go hang my head all at one side,
 33   And sing it like poor Barbary. Prithee, dispatch.

      EMILIA
 34   Shall I go fetch your nightgown?

      DESDEMONA
 34                                  No, unpin me here.
35. proper: good-looking, attractive.
 35   This Lodovico is a proper man.

      EMILIA
 36   A very handsome man.

      DESDEMONA
 37   He speaks well.

      EMILIA
 38   I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot
 39   to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.

      DESDEMONA [Singing.]
 40          "The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
 41              Sing all a green willow:
 42          Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
 43              Sing willow, willow, willow:
 44          The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur'd her moans;
 45              Sing willow, willow, willow;
 46          Her salt tears fell from her, and soften'd the stones;
 47              Sing willow"—
 48   Lay by these:—
 49                             — "willow, willow";—
50. hie thee: make haste.
 50   Prithee, hie thee; he'll come anon:—
 51          "Sing all a green willow must be my garland.
 52          Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve,"—
53. Nay, that's not next: The line, "Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve," is apparently a line that Desdemona unconsciously added to the ballad, because she was thinking about her loyalty to Othello.
 53   Nay, that's not next.—Hark! who is't that knocks?

      EMILIA
 54   It's the wind.

      DESDEMONA [Singing.]
 55          "I call'd my love false love; but what said he then?
 56              Sing willow, willow, willow:
 57          If I court moe women, you'll couch with moe men."
 58   So, get thee gone; good night. Mine eyes do itch;
 59   Doth that bode weeping?

      EMILIA
 59                               'Tis neither here nor there.

      DESDEMONA
 60   I have heard it said so. O, these men, these men!
61. in conscience: sincerely, truly.
 61   Dost thou in conscience think,—tell me, Emilia,—
 62   That there be women do abuse their husbands
 63   In such gross kind?

      EMILIA
 63                         There be some such, no question.

      DESDEMONA
 64   Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

      EMILIA
 65   Why, would not you?

      DESDEMONA
 65                           No, by this heavenly light!

      EMILIA
 66   Nor I neither by this heavenly light;
 67   I might do't as well i' the dark.

      DESDEMONA
 68   Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

      EMILIA
69. price: prize.
 69   The world's a huge thing: it is a great price
 70   For a small vice.

      DESDEMONA
 70                            Good troth, I think thou wouldst not.

      EMILIA
 71   In troth, I think I should; and undo't when I had
 72   done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a
73. joint-ring: cheap ring made in separable halves. lawn: fine linen.
 73   joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for
 74   gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty
75. exhibition: gift. 'ud's pity: A slangy way of saying "God's pity," which, like "for God's sake" now (C.E. 2016), has no real religious meaning.
 75   exhibition; but for all the whole world,—'ud's pity,
 76   who would not make her husband a cuckold to make
 77   him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for't.

      DESDEMONA
 78   Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong
 79   For the whole world.

      EMILIA
 80   Why the wrong is but a wrong i' the world: and
 81   having the world for your labor, tis a wrong in your
 82   own world, and you might quickly make it right.

      DESDEMONA
 83   I do not think there is any such woman.

      EMILIA
84. to th' vantage: in addition, to boot.
 84   Yes, a dozen; and as many to th' vantage as would
85. store: populate. In saying that such women would go on to have babies and populate the world, Emilia points out that unfaithfulness is natural—a "small vice" at worst. 87. duties: marital duties. 88. And . . . laps: i.e., are unfaithful, give what is rightfully ours (semen) to other women. 89. peevish: silly, childish.
 85   store the world they played for.
 86   But I do think it is their husbands' faults
 87   If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties,
 88   And pour our treasures into foreign laps,
 89   Or else break out in peevish jealousies,
 90   Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,
91. scant our former having in despite: reduce our allowance to spite us. 92. galls: tempers, the capacity to resent such treatment.
 91   Or scant our former having in despite;
 92   Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,
 93   Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know
94. sense: bodily senses.
 94   Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell
 95   And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
 96   As husbands have. What is it that they do
 97   When they change us for others? Is it sport?
 98   I think it is: and doth affection breed it?
 99   I think it doth: is't frailty that thus errs?
100   It is so too: and have not we affections,
101   Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
102   Then let them use us well: else let them know,
103   The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

      DESDEMONA
104. me such uses send: i.e., enable me to make it my practice. 105. Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend: not to use others' ill conduct as an excuse for behaving likewise (as Emilia has suggested women learn from men), but rather to learn from it how to behave otherwise.
104   Good night, good night. God me such uses send,
105   Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!



           Exeunt.