Othello: Act 2, Scene 3

           Enter OTHELLO, DESDEMONA,
           CASSIO, and ATTENDANTS.

  1   Good Michael, look you to the guard tonight:
2. stop: restraint
  2   Let's teach ourselves that honorable stop,
3. outsport: carry our sports beyond.
  3   Not to outsport discretion.

  4   Iago hath direction what to do;
  5   But, notwithstanding, with my personal eye
  6   Will I look to't.

  6                   Iago is most honest.
  7   Michael, good night: tomorrow with your earliest
  8   Let me have speech with you.

           To Desdemona.

  8                              Come, my dear love,
  9   The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
 10   That profit's yet to come 'tween me and you.
 11   Good night.

           Exit [with Desdemona and Attendants].

           Enter IAGO.

 12   Welcome, Iago; we must to the watch.

13. Not this hour: Not for an hour yet.
 13   Not this hour, lieutenant; 'tis not yet ten o' the
14. cast: dismissed.
 14   clock. Our general cast us thus early for the
 15   love of his Desdemona; who let us not therefore
 16   blame: he hath not yet made wanton the night
 17   with her; and she is sport for Jove.

 18   She's a most exquisite lady.

 19   And, I'll warrant her, full of game.

 20   Indeed, she's a most fresh and delicate
 21   creature.

22-23. sounds / a parley: issues an invitation with a parley—a trumpet signal which calls for a conference.
 22   What an eye she has! methinks it sounds
 23   a parley to provocation.

 24   An inviting eye; and yet methinks right
 25   modest.

26. alarum: trumpet signaling men to arms.
 26   And when she speaks, is it not an alarum
 27   to love?

 28   She is indeed perfection.

 29   Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant, I
30. stoup: measure of liquor (two quarts); large drinking vessel.
 30   have a stoup of wine; and here without are a brace
 31   of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to
 32   the health of black Othello.

 33   Not tonight, good Iago: I have very poor and
 34   unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish
 35   courtesy would invent some other custom of
 36   entertainment.

 37   O, they are our friends — but one cup, I'll drink
 38   for you.

 39   I have drunk but one cup tonight, and that was
40. craftily qualified: cannily diluted. innovation: disturbance, insurrection. 41. here: i.e., in Cassio's head.
 40   craftily qualified too, and, behold, what innovation
 41   it makes here. I am unfortunate in the infirmity,
 42   and dare not task my weakness with any more.

 43   What, man! 'tis a night of revels: the gallants
 44   desire it.

 45   Where are they?

 46   Here at the door; I pray you, call them in.

47. it dislikes me: i.e., I don't care for it.
 47   I'll do't; but it dislikes me.


 48   If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
 49   With that which he hath drunk tonight already,
 50   He'll be as full of quarrel and offence
51. my young mistress' dog: a young lady's pet dog (likely to be spoiled).
 51   As my young mistress' dog. Now, my sick fool Roderigo,
 52   Whom love hath turn'd almost the wrong side out,
53. carous'd: drunk off.
 53   To Desdemona hath tonight carous'd
54. pottle-deep: to the bottom of the tankard. A pottle was a two-quart vessel. 55. swelling: proud.
 54   Potations pottle-deep; and he's to watch:
 55   Three lads of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits,
56. hold their honors in a wary distance: i.e., are very touchy about their honor. 57. very elements: true representatives, typical products.
 56   That hold their honors in a wary distance,
 57   The very elements of this warlike isle,
 58   Have I tonight fluster'd with flowing cups,
59. watch: are members of the guard.
 59   And they watch too. Now, 'mongst this flock of drunkards,
 60   Am I to put our Cassio in some action
 61   That may offend the isle.—But here they come:

           Enter CASSIO, MONTANO, and GENTLEMEN;
           [servants following with wine].

62. If . . . dream: if the sequel corresponds to my fond hope; if subsequent events will only confirm my scheme. 63. stream: current.
 62   If consequence do but approve my dream,
 63   My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream.

64. rouse: drink, full draft of liquor.
 64   'Fore God, they have given me a rouse
 65   already.

 66   Good faith, a little one; not past a pint,
 67   as I am a soldier.

 68   Some wine, ho!


69-73. And let me the canakin clink, clink; / And let me the canakin clink / A soldier's a man; / A life's but a span span: i.e., brief stretch of time.; / Why, then, let a soldier drink: Probably an old drinking song. (canakin = small drinking vessel).
 69          "And let me the canakin clink, clink;
 70          And let me the canakin clink
 71            A soldier's a man;
 72            A life's but a span;
 73          Why, then, let a soldier drink."

 74   Some wine, boys!

 75   'Fore God, an excellent song.

 76   I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are
 77   most potent in potting: your Dane, your German,
 78   and your swag-bellied Hollander—Drink, ho!—
 79   are nothing to your English.

 80   Is your Englishman so exquisite in his
 81   drinking?

 82   Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane dead
83. Almain: German.
 83   drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he
 84   gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottle
 85   can be filled.

 86   To the health of our general!

87. do you justice: i.e., match you in drinking that toast.
 87   I am for it, lieutenant; and I'll do you justice.

 88   O sweet England!


89-96. King Stephen was a worthy peer, / His breeches cost him but a crown; / He held them sixpence all too dear, / With that he call'd the tailor lown—lown: lout, rascal. / He was wight of high renown, / And thou art but of low degree: / 'Tis pride—pride: ostentation, extravagance in dress. that pulls the country down; / Then take thine auld—auld: old. cloak about thee: from an old ballad which is also alluded to in The Tempest.
 89        "King Stephen was a worthy peer,
 90          His breeches cost him but a crown;
 91        He held them sixpence all too dear,
 92          With that he call'd the tailor lown.
 93        He was a wight of high renown,
 94          And thou art but of low degree:
 95        'Tis pride that pulls the country down;
 96          Then take thine auld cloak about thee."

 97   Some wine, ho!

 98   'Fore God, this is a more exquisite song than the
 99   other.

100   Will you hear't again?

101   No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that
102   does those things. Well, God's above all; and there
103   be souls must be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

104   It's true, good lieutenant.

105   For mine own part,—no offense to the general, nor
106   any man of quality,—I hope to be saved.

107   And so do I too, lieutenant.

108   Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the
109   lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient. Let's
110   have no more of this; let's to our affairs.—Forgive
111   us our sins!—Gentlemen, let's look to our business.
112   Do not think, gentlemen. I am drunk: this is my
113   ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left:
114   I am not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and
115   speak well enough.

116   Excellent well.

117   Why, very well then; you must not think then
118   that I am drunk.


119   To the platform, masters; come, let's set the
120   watch.

121   You see this fellow that is gone before;
122   He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
123   And give direction: and do but see his vice;
124. just equinox: exact counterpart (of dark against light; equinox is an equal length of daylight and night-time hours).
124   'Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
125   The one as long as the other: 'tis pity of him.
126   I fear the trust Othello puts him in.
127   On some odd time of his infirmity,
128   Will shake this island.

128                                       But is he often thus?

129   'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
130. watch the horologe a double set: stay awake twice around the clock or horologe.
130   He'll watch the horologe a double set,
131   If drink rock not his cradle.

131                                            It were well
132   The general were put in mind of it.
133   Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature
134   Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
135   And looks not on his evils: is not this true?

           Enter RODERIGO.

      IAGO [Aside to him.]
136   How now, Roderigo!
137   I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.

           [Exit Roderigo.]

138   And 'tis great pity that the noble Moor
139-140. hazard . . . / With: take risks with a position as important as that of his own deputy. 140. ingraft: ingrained, inveterate.
139   Should hazard such a place as his own second
140   With one of an ingraft infirmity:
141   It were an honest action to say
142   So to the Moor.

142                               Not I, for this fair island:
143   I do love Cassio well; and would do much
144   To cure him of this evil—But, hark! what noise?

           [Cry within: "Help! help!"]

           Enter CASSIO pursuing RODERIGO.

145   Zounds! You rogue! you rascal!

146   What's the matter, lieutenant?

147   A knave teach me my duty!
148. twiggen: wicker-covered.
148   I'll beat the knave into a twiggen bottle.

149   Beat me!

150   Dost thou prate, rogue?

           [Striking Roderigo.]

151   Nay, good lieutenant; I pray you, sir, hold
152   your hand.

           [Holding him back.]

153   Let me go, sir, or I'll knock you o'er the
154. mazzard: head (literally a drinking vessel).
154   mazzard.

155   Come, come — you're drunk.

156   Drunk!

           [They fight.]

      IAGO [Aside to Roderigo.]
157   Away, I say; go out, and cry a mutiny.

           [Exit Roderigo.]

158   Nay, good lieutenant,—alas, gentlemen;—
159   Help, ho!—Lieutenant,—sir,—Montano,—sir;
160   Help, masters!—Here's a goodly watch indeed!

           [Bell rings.]

161. Diablo: the devil
161   Who's that which rings the bell?—Diablo, ho!
162. rise: grow riotous.
162   The town will rise: God's will, lieutenant, hold!
163   You will be shamed for ever.

           Enter OTHELLO and [Attendants].

164   What is the matter here?

164                                       'Zounds, I bleed still;
165    I am hurt to the death. He dies!

           [Thrusts at Cassio.]

165                                              Hold, for your lives!

166   Hold, ho! Lieutenant,—sir—Montano,—gentlemen,—
167   Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
168   Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!

169   Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
170   Are we turn'd Turks, and to ourselves do that
171. Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites: i.e., by wrecking their fleet, so the Venetians need not fight them.
171   Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
172   For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
173. carve for his own rage: indulge his own impulse.
173   He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
174. light: of small value.
174   Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
175   Silence that dreadful bell: it frights the isle
176. propriety: proper state or condition; natural temper (of calmness and order).
176   From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
177   Honest Iago, that look'st dead with grieving,
178   Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.

179   I do not know: friends all but now, even now,
180. In quarter: in good military order, within bounds.
180   In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
181   Devesting them for bed; and then, but now—
182   As if some planet had unwitted men—
183   Swords out, and tilting one at other's breast,
184   In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
185. peevish odds: childish quarrel.
185   Any beginning to this peevish odds;
186   And would in action glorious I had lost
187   Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

188. are thus forgot: have forgotten yourself in this way.
188   How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

189   I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.

190   Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil;
191   The gravity and stillness of your youth
192   The world hath noted, and your name is great
193. censure: judgment.
193   In mouths of wisest censure: what's the matter,
194. unlace: undo, degrade, lay open.
194   That you unlace your reputation thus
195. opinion: reputation.
195   And spend your rich opinion for the name
196   Of a night-brawler? give me answer to it.

197   Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger.
198   Your officer, Iago, can inform you,—
199. something: somewhat. offends: pains.
199   While I spare speech, which something now offends me,—
200   Of all that I do know: nor know I aught
201   By me that's said or done amiss this night;
202   Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
203   And to defend ourselves it be a sin
204   When violence assails us.

204                                         Now, by heaven,
205. blood: passion [of] anger. safer guides: i.e., rational controls. 206. collied: darkened.
205   My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
206   And passion, having my best judgment collied,
207. Assays: Undertakes.
207   Assays to lead the way. 'Zounds, if I stir,
208   Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
209   Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
210. rout: riot.
210   How this foul rout began, who set it on;
211. approv'd in this offense: found guilty.
211   And he that is approv'd in this offence,
212   Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth,
213   Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,
214   Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear,
215. manage: undertake, carry on.
215   To manage private and domestic quarrel?
216. on the court and guard of safety: i.e., at the very headquarters on which the security of the town depends.
216   In night, and on the court and guard of safety?
217   'Tis monstrous. Iago, who began't?

218. partially affined: biased (in Cassio's favor) because of your connection with him.
218   If partially affined, or leagued in office,
219   Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
220   Thou art no soldier.

220                                 Touch me not so near:
221   I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
222   Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio;
223   Yet, I persuade myself, to speak the truth
224   Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general:
225   Montano and myself being in speech,
226   There comes a fellow crying out for help:
227   And Cassio following him with determined sword,
228. execute: give effect to [his anger].
228   To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
229   Steps in to Cassio, and entreats his pause:
230   Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
231   Lest by his clamour—as it so fell out—
232   The town might fall in fright: he, swift of foot,
233. rather: sooner, i.e., more speedily.
233   Outran my purpose; and I return'd the rather
234   For that I heard the clink and fall of swords,
235   And Cassio high in oath; which till tonight
236   I ne'er might say before. When I came back—
237   For this was brief—I found them close together,
238   At blow and thrust; even as again they were
239   When you yourself did part them.
240   More of this matter cannot I report:
241   But men are men; the best sometimes forget:
242   Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
243   As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
244   Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
245   From him that fled some strange indignity,
246. pass: pass over, overlook.
246   Which patience could not pass.

246                                                    I know, Iago,
247. mince: cut line, i.e., try to make light of.
247   Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
248   Making it light to Cassio. Cassio, I love thee
249   But never more be officer of mine.

           Enter DESDEMONA, attended.

250   Look, if my gentle love be not raised up!
251   I'll make thee an example.

252   What is the matter, dear?

252                                      All's well now, sweeting;
253   Come away to bed. [To Montano.] Sir, for your hurts,
254   Myself will be your surgeon — Lead him off.

           [Some lead Montano off.]

255   Iago, look with care about the town,
256   And silence those whom this vile brawl distracted.
257   Come, Desdemona: 'tis the soldiers' life
258   To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.

           Exit [all but Iago and Cassio].

259   What, are you hurt, lieutenant?

260   Ay, past all surgery.

261   Marry, heaven forbid!

262   Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost
263   my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
264   myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
265   Iago, my reputation!

266   As I am an honest man, I thought you had received
267. sense: physical sensation.
267   some bodily wound; there is more sense in that than
268   in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false
269. imposition: i.e., something laid on from outside; what others say of a person, and not the genuine person.
269   imposition: oft got without merit, and lost without
270   deserving. You have lost no reputation at all,
271   unless you repute yourself such a loser. What, man,
272. recover: regain the favor of.
272   there are ways to recover the general again. You
273. cast: dismissed. mood: anger.
273   are but now cast in his mood, a punishment more in
274-275. policy: expediency. malice: ill will. as one would beat his / offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion: proverbial.
274   policy than in malice, even so as one would beat his
275   offenceless dog to affright an imperious lion. Sue
276   to him again, and he's yours.

277   I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so
278. slight: worthless.
278   good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so
279. speak parrot: talk nonsense, rant.
279   indiscreet an officer. Drunk? and speak parrot?
280   and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse
281. fustian: gibberish.
281   fustian with one's own shadow? O thou invisible
282   spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by,
283   let us call thee devil!

284   What was he that you followed with your sword?
285   What had he done to you?

286   I know not.

287   Is't possible?

288   I remember a mass of things, but nothing
289   distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God,
290   that men should put an enemy in their mouths to
291   steal away their brains! that we should, with joy,
292   pleasance, revel and applause, transform ourselves
293   into beasts!

294   Why, but you are now well enough: how came you
295   thus recovered?

296   It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place
297   to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me
298   another, to make me frankly despise myself.

299   Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time,
300   the place, and the condition of this country
301   stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen;
302   but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.

303   I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me
304. Hydra: many-headed snake killed by Hercules as one of his twelve labors.
304   I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra,
305   such an answer would stop them all. To be now a
306. sensible: in possession of one's faculties.
306   sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a
307   beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is
308   unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.

309. familiar: domestic, serviceable.
309   Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
310   if it be well used: exclaim no more against it.
311   And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.

312. approv'd: proved, tested and found true.
312   I have well approv'd it, sir. I drunk!

313. at a time: at some time, on some occasion.
313   You, or any man living, may be drunk at a time, man.
314   I'll tell you what you shall do. Our general's wife
315   is now the general — I may say so in this respect, for
316   that he hath devoted and given up himself to the
317. mark: marking, observing. denotement: noting.
317   contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and
318. parts: good qualities.
318   graces: confess yourself freely to her; importune
319   her help to put you in your place again. She is of
320. free: generous. apt: willing.
320   so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition,
321   she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more
322   than she is requested: this broken joint between
323. splinter: bind up with splints.
323   you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my
324. lay: stake, wager.
324   fortunes against any lay worth naming, this
325   crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.

326   You advise me well.

327. protest: declare.
327   I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest
328   kindness.

329   I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I
330   will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake
331. check: repulse.
331   for me: I am desperate of my fortunes if they check
332   me here.

333   You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant; I
334   must to the watch.

335   Good night, honest Iago.

           Exit Cassio.

336   And what's he then that says I play the villain?
337. free: free from guile.
337   When this advice is free I give and honest,
338. Probal to thinking: Something that thought would show to be true.
338   Probal to thinking and indeed the course
339   To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
340. inclining: favorably disposed. subdue: persuade.
340   The inclining Desdemona to subdue
341. fruitful: generous.
341   In any honest suit: she's framed as fruitful
342. free elements: i.e., earth, air, fire, and water, which sustain life (?).
342   As the free elements. And then for her
343   To win the Moor—were't to renounce his baptism,
344   All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
345   His soul is so enfetter'd to her love,
346   That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
347   Even as her appetite shall play the god
348. function: mental faculties.
348   With his weak function. How am I then a villain
349. parallel: i.e., conforming with these facts and corresponding to his best interests. 350. Divinity of hell: inverted theology of hell . . . more 351. put on: further, instigate. 352. suggest: tempt.
349   To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
350   Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
351   When devils will the blackest sins put on,
352   They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
353   As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
354   Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
355   And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
356   I'll pour this pestilence into his ear,
357. repeals: recalls, i.e., seeks to reinstate.
357   That she repeals him for her body's lust;
358   And by how much she strives to do him good,
359   She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
360   So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
361   And out of her own goodness make the net
362   That shall enmesh them all.

           Enter RODERIGO.

362                                         How now, Roderigo!

363   I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that
364. cry: pack.
364   hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is
365   almost spent; I have been tonight exceedingly well
366   cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall
367   have so much experience for my pains, and so, with
368   no money at all and a little more wit, return again to
369   Venice.

370   How poor are they that have not patience!
371   What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
372   Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
373   And wit depends on dilatory time.
374   Does't not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
375. cashier'd: dismissed from service.
375   And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio:
376   Though other things grow fair against the sun,
377   Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
378   Content thyself awhile. By the mass, 'tis morning;
379   Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
380   Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
381   Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter:
382   Nay, get thee gone.

           (Exit Roderigo.)

382                                   Two things are to be done:
383   My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress —
384   I'll set her on —
385   Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
386. jump: at the precise moment.
386   And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
387   Soliciting his wife. Ay, that's the way
388. device: plotting.
388   Dull not device by coldness and delay.