Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Othello: Act 3, Scene 3

           Enter DESDEMONA, CASSIO,
           and EMILIA.
Desdemona painted by Frederic Leighton
Desdemona by Frederic Leighton

  1   Be thou assured, good Cassio, I will do
  2   All my abilities in thy behalf.

  3   Good madam, do: I warrant it grieves my husband,
  4   As if the case were his.

  5   O, that's an honest fellow. Do not doubt, Cassio,
  6   But I will have my lord and you again
  7   As friendly as you were.

                             Bounteous madam,
  8   Whatever shall become of Michael Cassio,
  9   He's never any thing but your true servant.

 10   I know't; I thank you. You do love my lord:
 11   You have known him long; and be you well assured
 12   He shall in strangeness stand no further off
12. strangeness: aloofness.

 13   Than in a politic distance.
13. politic: dictated by wise policy.

                                Ay, but, lady,
 14   That policy may either last so long,
 15   Or feed upon such nice and waterish diet,
15. feed . . . diet: i.e., require so little to keep it alive.

 16   Or breed itself so out of circumstances,
16. breed . . . circumstances: be revived by something or another.

 17   That, I being absent and my place supplied,
17. supplied: filled.

 18   My general will forget my love and service.

 19   Do not doubt that; before Emilia here
19. doubt: fear.

 20   I give thee warrant of thy place. Assure thee,
 21   If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it
21. friendship: friendly act.

 22   To the last article. My lord shall never rest;
 23   I'll watch him tame and talk him out of patience;
23. watch him tame: keep him awake till he capitulates. talk . . .  patience: talk until he can't endure it any longer.

 24   His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift;
 25   I'll intermingle every thing he does
 26   With Cassio's suit. Therefore be merry, Cassio;
 27   For thy solicitor shall rather die
27. solicitor: advocate, lawyer.

 28   Than give thy cause away.
28. give thy cause away: give up on your cause.

 29   Madam, here comes my lord.

           Enter OTHELLO and IAGO.

 30   Madam, I'll take my leave.

 31   Why, stay, and hear me speak.

 32   Madam, not now: I am very ill at ease,
 33   Unfit for mine own purposes.

 34   Well, do your discretion.

           Exit Cassio.

 35   Ha! I like not that.
Iago saying to Othello, 'No, sure, I cannot think it, / That he would steal away so guilty-like, / Seeing you coming'
"he would steal away so guilty-like"

                          What dost thou say?

 36   Nothing, my lord: or if—I know not what.

 37   Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?

 38   Cassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it,
 39   That he would steal away so guilty-like,
 40   Seeing you coming.

                        I do believe 'twas he.

Desdemona saying 'Why, your lieutenant, Cassio' to Othello
"Why, your lieutenant, Cassio"

 41   How now, my lord!
 42   I have been talking with a suitor here,
 43   A man that languishes in your displeasure.

 44   Who is't you mean?

 45   Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord,
 46   If I have any grace or power to move you,
 47   His present reconciliation take;
47. present: immediate.

 48   For if he be not one that truly loves you,
 49   That errs in ignorance and not in cunning,
49. in cunning: wittingly.

 50   I have no judgment in an honest face:
 51   I prithee, call him back.

                             Went he hence now?

 52   Ay, sooth; so humbled
 53   That he hath left part of his grief with me,
 54   To suffer with him. Good love, call him back.

 55   Not now, sweet Desdemon; some other time.
55. Desdemon: This isn't a typo; Othello is calling his wife by a nickname to assure her of his love even as he avoids promising to do what she wants him to do.

 56   But shall't be shortly?

                       The sooner, sweet, for you.

 57   Shall't be tonight at supper?

                                No, not tonight.

 58   Tomorrow dinner, then?

                     I shall not dine at home;
 59   I meet the captains at the citadel.

 60   Why, then, tomorrow night; or Tuesday morn;
 61   On Tuesday noon, or night; on Wednesday morn:
 62   I prithee, name the time, but let it not
 63   Exceed three days. In faith, he's penitent;
64. common reason: everyday judgments.
 64   And yet his trespass, in our common reason—
 65   Save that, they say, the wars must make examples
 66   Out of her best—is not almost a fault
65-66. the wars . . . best: military discipline requires making an example of the very best men. not almost: scarcely.

 67   To incur a private check. When shall he come?
67. a private check: a private reprimand.

 68   Tell me, Othello: I wonder in my soul,
 69   What you would ask me, that I should deny,
 70   Or stand so mamm'ring on. What! Michael Cassio,
70. mamm'ring: hesitating; wavering about.

 71   That came a-wooing with you, and so many a time,
 72   When I have spoke of you dispraisingly,
 73   Hath ta'en your part — to have so much to do
73. to do: ado, fuss.

 74   To bring him in! Trust me, I could do much,—
74. bring him in: i.e., restore him to your favor.

 75   Prithee, no more; let him come when he will;
 76   I will deny thee nothing.

                                        Why, this is not a boon;
76. this is not a boon: i.e., you are not really doing me a favor.

 77   'Tis as I should entreat you wear your gloves,
 78   Or feed on nourishing dishes, or keep you warm,
 79   Or sue to you to do a peculiar profit
79. peculiar profit: personal benefit.

 80   To your own person: nay, when I have a suit
 81   Wherein I mean to touch your love indeed,
 82   It shall be full of poise and difficult weight
82. poise: weight, heaviness; or equipoise, delicate balance.

 83   And fearful to be granted.

                        I will deny thee nothing:
 84   Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this,
84. Whereon: in return for which.

 85   To leave me but a little to myself.

 86   Shall I deny you? no: farewell, my lord.

 87   Farewell, my Desdemona: I'll come to thee straight.

 88   Emilia, come. —Be as your fancies teach you;
 89   Whate'er you be, I am obedient.

           Exit [with Emilia].

 90   Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
90. wretch: i.e., poor little thing.

 91   But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
 92   Chaos is come again.
91. But I do: if I do not.

 93   My noble lord—

                                What dost thou say, Iago?

 94   Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady,
 95   Know of your love?

 96   He did, from first to last: why dost thou ask?

 97   But for a satisfaction of my thought;
 98   No further harm.

                     Why of thy thought, Iago?

 99   I did not think he had been acquainted with her.

100   O, yes; and went between us very oft.
Othello asking, 'Is he not honest?'
"Is he not honest?"
Willard White as Othello; Ian McKellen as Iago
1990 TV film

101   Indeed!

102   Indeed! ay, indeed: discern'st thou aught in that?
103   Is he not honest?

                     Honest, my lord?

104   Honest! ay, honest.

                    My lord, for aught I know.

105   What dost thou think?

                         Think, my lord!

106   Think, my lord! By heaven, he echoes me,
107   As if there were some monster in his thought
108   Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something:
109   I heard thee say even now, thou likedst not that,
110   When Cassio left my wife: what didst not like?
111   And when I told thee he was of my counsel
111. of my counsel: in my confidence.

112   In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst "Indeed!"
113   And didst contract and purse thy brow together,
114   As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain
115   Some horrible conceit. If thou dost love me,
115. conceit: idea, fancy.

116   Show me thy thought.

117   My lord, you know I love you.

                             I think thou dost;
118   And, for I know thou'rt full of love and honesty,
119   And weigh'st thy words before thou givest them breath,
120   Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more;
120. stops: significant pauses in a speech.

121   For such things in a false disloyal knave
122   Are tricks of custom, but in a man that's just
123   They are close dilations, working from the heart
124   That passion cannot rule.
123-124. close dilations, working from the heart / That passion cannot rule: i.e., expressions of thoughts growing so strongly from the heart that they cannot be contained.

                              For Michael Cassio,
125   I dare be sworn I think that he is honest.
Iago saying to Othello 'Why, then, I think Cassio's an honest man'
"Why, then, I think Cassio's an honest man"
Illustrator: Sir John Gilbert

126   I think so too.

                 Men should be what they seem;
127   Or those that be not, would they might seem none!

128   Certain, men should be what they seem.

129   Why, then, I think Cassio's an honest man.

130   Nay, yet there's more in this:
131   I prithee, speak to me as to thy thinkings,
131. as to: with respect to.

132   As thou dost ruminate, and give thy worst of thoughts
133   The worst of words.

                        Good my lord, pardon me:
134   Though I am bound to every act of duty,
135   I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.
135. that all slaves are free to: that which even a slave is not bound to.

136   Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false;
137   As where's that palace whereinto foul things
138   Sometimes intrude not? Who has a breast so pure,
139   But some uncleanly apprehensions
139. uncleanly apprehensions: dirty interpretations of others' actions.

140   Keep leets and law-days and in session sit
141   With meditations lawful?
141. With meditations lawful: along with innocent thoughts.

142   Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,
142. thy friend: any friend.

143   If thou but think'st him wrong'd and makest his ear
144   A stranger to thy thoughts.

                                I do beseech you—
145   Though I perchance am vicious in my guess,
145. vicious: spitefully wrong.

146   As, I confess, it is my nature's plague
147   To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy
147. jealousy: suspicion of evil.

148   Shapes faults that are not—that your wisdom then,
148. then: on that account.

149   From one that so imperfectly conceits,
149. one: i.e., myself, Iago. conceits: judges, conjectures.

150   Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble
151   Out of his scattering and unsure observance.
152   It were not for your quiet nor your good,
153   Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,
154   To let you know my thoughts.

                              'Zounds, what dost thou mean?

155   Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
156   Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
157   Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
158   'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands:
159   But he that filches from me my good name
160   Robs me of that which not enriches him
161   And makes me poor indeed.

162   By heaven, I'll know thy thoughts.

163   You cannot, if my heart were in your hand;
163. if: even if.

164   Nor shall not, whilst 'tis in my custody.

165   Ha!

               O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
166   It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
167   The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
167. meat it feeds on: i.e., the heart of the man who suffers it.

168   Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
168. his wronger: i.e., his faithless wife.

169   But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
170   Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!

171   O misery!

172   Poor and content is rich and rich enough,
173   But riches fineless is as poor as winter
173. fineless: boundless.

174   To him that ever fears he shall be poor.
175   Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend
176   From jealousy!

                           Why, why is this?
177   Think'st thou I'ld make a life of jealousy,
178   To follow still the changes of the moon
179   With fresh suspicions? No! to be once in doubt
180   Is once to be resolved. Exchange me for a goat,
180. once: once and for all.

181   When I shall turn the business of my soul
182   To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,
182. exsufflicate and blown: blown-up and inflated.

183   Matching thy inference. 'Tis not to make me jealous
183. jealous: suspicious.

184   To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,
185   Is free of speech, sings, plays and dances well;
186   Where virtue is, these are more virtuous.
187   Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw
188   The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt;
188. doubt: suspicion. revolt: unfaithfulness.

189   For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago;
190   I'll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
190. prove: test.

191   And on the proof, there is no more but this,—
192   Away at once with love or jealousy!
Iago saying to Othello, 'Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio'
"Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio"

193   I am glad of it; for now I shall have reason
194   To show the love and duty that I bear you
195   With franker spirit: therefore, as I am bound,
196   Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof.
197   Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
198   Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure.
198. not: neither. secure: overconfident.

199   I would not have your free and noble nature,
200   Out of self-bounty, be abused; look to't.
200. self-bounty: inherent or natural goodness.

201   I know our country disposition well;
202   In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks
203   They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience
204   Is not to leave't undone, but keep't unknown.

205   Dost thou say so?

206   She did deceive her father, marrying you;
207   And when she seem'd to shake and fear your looks,
208   She loved them most.

                                  And so she did.

                                                         Why, go to then;
208. go to: An expression of impatience.

209   She that, so young, could give out such a seeming,
209. seeming: false appearance.

210   To seel her father's eyes up close as oak,
210. seal: blind.oak: A close-grained wood.

211   He thought 'twas witchcraft—but I am much to blame;
212   I humbly do beseech you of your pardon
213   For too much loving you.

                        I am bound to thee for ever.
213. bound: indebted.

214   I see this hath a little dash'd your spirits.

215   Not a jot, not a jot.

                                             I' faith, I fear it has.
216   I hope you will consider what is spoke
217   Comes from my love. But I do see you're moved:
218   I am to pray you not to strain my speech
219   To grosser issues nor to larger reach
219. issues: significances, conclusions. reach: meaning, scope.

220   Than to suspicion.

221   I will not.

                   Should you do so, my lord,
222   My speech should fall into such vile success
222. success: effect.

223   As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio's my worthy friend—
224   My lord, I see you're moved.

                                     No, not much moved:
225   I do not think but Desdemona's honest.
225. honest: chaste.

226   Long live she so! and long live you to think so!

227   And yet, how nature erring from itself,—

228   Ay, there's the point: as—to be bold with you—
229   Not to affect many proposed matches
229. affect: prefer, look with favor on.

230   Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,
230. clime: region, country.

231   Whereto we see in all things nature tends—
232   Foh! one may smell in such, a will most rank,
232. rank: thick, coarse.

233   Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural.
233. disproportions: abnormalities.

234   But pardon me; I do not in position
234. in position: i.e., in arguing thus.

235   Distinctly speak of her; though I may fear
235. Distinctly speak of: refer specifically to.

236   Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
236. recoiling to: reverting to.

237   May fall to match you with her country forms
237. fall . . . forms: happen to compare your appearance with that of her countrymen.

238   And happily repent.
238. happily repent: haply [by chance] repent her marriage.

                         Farewell, farewell!
239   If more thou dost perceive, let me know more;
240   Set on thy wife to observe: leave me, Iago:

      IAGO [Going.]
241   My lord, I take my leave.

242   Why did I marry? This honest creature doubtless
243   Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.

      IAGO [Returning.]
244   My lord, I would I might entreat your honor
245   To scan this thing no further; leave it to time:
246   Though it be fit that Cassio have his place,
247   For sure, he fills it up with great ability,
248   Yet, if you please to hold him off awhile,
249   You shall by that perceive him and his means:
250   Note, if your lady strain his entertainment
250. strain his entertainment: repeatedly urge his reappointment.

251   With any strong or vehement importunity;
252   Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,
253   Let me be thought too busy in my fears—
254   As worthy cause I have to fear I am—
255   And hold her free, I do beseech your honor.
255. free: guiltless.

256   Fear not my government.
256. Fear not my government: don't worry about my self-control.

257   I once more take my leave.


258   This fellow's of exceeding honesty,
259   And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit,
259. qualities: types.

260   Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,
260. haggard: wild (a term from falconry).

261   Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,
261. jesses: leather control straps on the hawk's legs

262   I'ld whistle her off and let her down the wind,
262. I'ld . . . wind: i.e. I would signal to her that she was free.

263   To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black
263. To prey at fortune: to hunt at random.

264   And have not those soft parts of conversation
264. soft . . . conversation: pleasing qualities of social behavior.

265   That chamberers have, or for I am declined
265. chamberers: courtiers, indoor types.

266   Into the vale of years,—yet that's not much—
265-266. I . . . years: I have just begun my declining years. . . . more

267   She's gone. I am abused; and my relief
268   Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,
269   That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
270   And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
271   And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,
272   Than keep a corner in the thing I love
273   For others' uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones;
274   Prerogativ'd are they less than the base;
274. Prerogativ'd . . . base: they are given fewer rights than the lower classes.

275   'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death:
276   Even then this forked plague is fated to us
276. forked plague: the curse of a cuckold's horns.

277   When we do quicken. Look where she comes:
277. quicken: begin to live.

           Enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA.

278   If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!
279   I'll not believe't.

                       How now, my dear Othello!
280   Your dinner, and the generous islanders
280. generous: noble.

281   By you invited, do attend your presence.

282   I am to blame.

280. generous: noble.
                             Why do you speak so faintly?
283   Are you not well?

284   I have a pain upon my forehead here.

285. with watching: from lack of sleep or working late.
285   'Faith, that's with watching; 'twill away again:
286   Let me but bind it hard, within this hour
287   It will be well.

                     Your napkin is too little:
287. napkin: handkerchief.

           [He pushes the handkerchief away,
           and it drops.]

288   Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you.
288. Let it alone: don't trouble yourself about it.

289   I am very sorry that you are not well.

           Exit [with Othello].

290   I am glad I have found this napkin:
291   This was her first remembrance from the Moor.
292   My wayward husband hath a hundred times
292. wayward: capricious.

293   Woo'd me to steal it; but she so loves the token,
294   For he conjured her she should ever keep it,
295   That she reserves it evermore about her
296   To kiss and talk to. I'll have the work ta'en out,
296. work ta'en out: design of the embroidery copied.

297   And give't Iago: what he will do with it
298   Heaven knows, not I;
299   I nothing but to please his fantasy.
299. I nothing but: my only thought is. fantasy: fancy, whim.

           Enter Iago.

300   How now! what do you here alone?

301   Do not you chide; I have a thing for you.

302   A thing for me? it is a common thing—
302. it is a common thing: Iago is not referring to the handkerchief. He is making a sexual joke out of the fact that a slang word for "prostitute" was "commoner." Emilia understands what he is up to and stops him short with her "Ha!"

303   Ha!

304   To have a foolish wife.
Emilia asking Iago, 'What will you give me now for the same handkerchief?'
"What will you give me now
For the same handkerchief?"
Illustrator: H.C. Selous

305   O, is that all? What will you give me now
306   For the same handkerchief?

                                What handkerchief?

307   What handkerchief?
308   Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona;
309   That which so often you did bid me steal.

310   Hast stol'n it from her?

311   No, 'faith; she let it drop by negligence.
312   And, to the advantage, I, being here, took't up.
312. to the advantage: upon the opportunity.

313   Look, here it is.
Emilia (Lise Bruneau) with the handkerchief
Lise Bruneau as Emilia
--Shakespeare Theatre Company, Autumn 2005--

                                   A good wench, give it me.

314   What will you do with 't, that you have been so earnest
315   To have me filch it?

      IAGO [Snatching it.]
                                        Why, what's that to you?

316   If it be not for some purpose of import,
317   Give't me again: poor lady, she'll run mad
318   When she shall lack it.

319   Be not acknown on 't; I have use for it.
319. Be not acknown on't: pretend not to know of it.

320   Go, leave me.

           Exit Emilia.

321   I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin,
322   And let him find it. Trifles light as air
323   Are to the jealous confirmations strong
324   As proofs of holy writ: this may do something.
325   The Moor already changes with my poison:
326   Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
326. conceits: speculations, ideas.

327   Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
328   But with a little act upon the blood
328. with a little act: after they have acted for a little while.

329   Burn like the mines of sulphur.
329. Burn like the mines of sulphur: Fire in a sulphur mine burns blue, produces dangerous sulfur dioxide, and is difficult to extinguish.

           Enter OTHELLO.

                                                          I did say so.
330   Look where he comes! Not poppy, nor mandragora,
330. mandragora: an opiate, made of the mandrake root.

331   Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
332   Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
333   Which thou owedst yesterday.
333. owedst: had.

                                 Ha! ha! false to me?

334   Why, how now, general! no more of that.

335   Avaunt! be gone! thou hast set me on the rack:
336   I swear 'tis better to be much abused
337   Than but to know't a little.

                                             How now, my lord!

338   What sense had I of her stol'n hours of lust?
339   I saw't not, thought it not, it harm'd not me:
340   I slept the next night well, was free and merry;
340. free: carefree.

341   I found not Cassio's kisses on her lips:
342   He that is robb'd, not wanting what is stol'n,
342. wanting: missing.

343   Let him not know't, and he's not robb'd at all.

344   I am sorry to hear this.

345   I had been happy, if the general camp,
346   Pioners and all, had tasted her sweet body,
346. Pioners: Pioners were lowly soldiers assigned dirty work, such as digging tunnels to undermine a castle wall.

347   So I had nothing known. O, now, for ever
348   Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!
349   Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars,
349. big: stately.

350   That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
351   Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
352   The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
353   The royal banner, and all quality,
353. quality: character, attributes.

354   Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!
354. Pride: proud display. pomp: dignity. circumstance: pageantry, ceremonial splendor.

355   And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
355. mortal: deadly. engines: instruments of war; here, cannon.

356   The immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit,
357   Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!

Othello threatening Iago
Illustrator: Kenny Meadows

358   Is't possible, my lord?

359   Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore;
360   Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof:
361   Or by the worth of man's eternal soul,
362   Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
363   Than answer my waked wrath!

                                                    Is't come to this?

364   Make me to see't; or, at the least, so prove it,
365   That the probation bear no hinge nor loop
365. probation: proof. hinge: [questionable] prop. loop: loophole.

366   To hang a doubt on; or woe upon thy life!

367   My noble lord,—

368   If thou dost slander her and torture me,
369   Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
369. remorse: pity.

370   On horror's head horrors accumulate;
370. horrors accumulate: add still more horrors.

371   Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;
371. amazed: utterly confounded.

372   For nothing canst thou to damnation add
373   Greater than that.

                                   O grace! O heaven forgive me!
374   Are you a man? have you a soul or sense?
375   God buy you; take mine office. O wretched fool,
375. God buy you: God be with you, i.e., goodbye.

376   That livest to make thine honesty a vice!
375-376. O . . . vice!: O wretched fool, who have lived only to see your honesty made into a vice. Iago is saying this loudly to himself, in order to shame Othello.

377   O monstrous world! Take note, take note, O world,
378   To be direct and honest is not safe.
379   I thank you for this profit; and from hence
379. profit: valuable lesson. hence: henceforth.

380   I'll love no friend, sith love breeds such offence.
380. sith: since. offense: injury.

381   Nay, stay. Thou shouldst be honest.
381. Nay, stay: Apparently Othello believes that Iago is about to leave him by himself. Thou shouldst be honest: i.e., everything seems to show that you are honest.

382   I should be wise, for honesty's a fool
383   And loses that it works for.

                                                 By the world,
384   I think my wife be honest and think she is not;
385   I think that thou art just and think thou art not.
386   I'll have some proof. Her name, that was as fresh
387   As Dian's visage, is now begrimed and black
387. Dian: Diana, goddess of the moon and chastity.

388   As mine own face. If there be cords, or knives,
388. cords: ropes to use as a garrote.

389   Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams,
390   I'll not endure it. Would I were satisfied!

391   I see, sir, you are eaten up with passion:
392   I do repent me that I put it to you.
393   You would be satisfied?

                                                Would! nay, I will.

394   And may: but, how? how satisfied, my lord?
395   Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on—
395. supervisor: onlooker, spectator.

396   Behold her topp'd?
396. topp'd: This word is used of animals. When a ram mounts an ewe, the ram has topped the ewe.

                                 Death and damnation! O!

397   It were a tedious difficulty, I think,
398   To bring them to that prospect: damn them then,
398. To . . . prospect: to maneuver them into a situation in which they could be seen as they were having sex.

399   If ever mortal eyes do see them bolster
399. bolster: go to bed together.

400   More than their own! What then? how then?
398-400. damn . . . own: i.e., then damn them for fixing it so that they are the only ones who can see what they are doing.

401   What shall I say? Where's satisfaction?
402   It is impossible you should see this,
402. see: i.e., contrive to be an actual witness of.

403   Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys,
403. prime: lustful.

404   As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross
404. salt: lecherous. in pride: in heat.

405   As ignorance made drunk. But yet, I say,
406   If imputation and strong circumstances,
407   Which lead directly to the door of truth,
408   Will give you satisfaction, you may have't.

409   Give me a living reason she's disloyal.

410   I do not like the office:
411   But, sith I am enter'd in this cause so far,
412   Prick'd to't by foolish honesty and love,
413   I will go on. I lay with Cassio lately;
414   And, being troubled with a raging tooth,
415   I could not sleep.
416   There are a kind of men so loose of soul,
417   That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs:
418   One of this kind is Cassio:
419   In sleep I heard him say "Sweet Desdemona,
420   Let us be wary, let us hide our loves";
421   And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand,
421. gripe: grip, clasp.

422   Cry "O sweet creature!" and then kiss me hard,
423   As if he pluck'd up kisses by the roots
424   That grew upon my lips: then laid his leg
425   Over my thigh, and sigh'd, and kiss'd; and then
426   Cried "Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!"

427   O monstrous! monstrous!

                                         Nay, this was but his dream.

428   But this denoted a foregone conclusion:
428. foregone conclusion: act already performed.

429   'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.
429. shrewd doubt: strong reason for suspicion.

430   And this may help to thicken other proofs
430. thicken: substantiate.

431   That do demonstrate thinly.
431. do demonstrate thinly: are weak shows of proof.

                                I'll tear her all to pieces.

432   Nay, but be wise: yet we see nothing done;
433   She may be honest yet. Tell me but this,
434   Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief
435   Spotted with strawberries in your wife's hand?

436   I gave her such a one; 'twas my first gift.

437   I know not that; but such a handkerchief—
438   I am sure it was your wife's—did I today
439   See Cassio wipe his beard with.
438-439. did I today / See Cassio wipe his beard with: If Othello were not so blinded with jealousy he might have been able to remember that about 12 minutes ago he could have seen the handkerchief in Desdemona's hand as she tried to wrap it about his brow to cure his headache.

                                                      If it be that—

440   If it be that, or any that was hers,
441   It speaks against her with the other proofs.

442   O, that the slave had forty thousand lives!
442. the slave: i.e., Cassio.

443   One is too poor, too weak for my revenge.
444   Now do I see 'tis true. Look here, Iago;
445   All my fond love thus do I blow to heaven.
446   'Tis gone.
447   Arise, black vengeance, from thy hollow cell!
448   Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne
448. hearted: established in my heart.

449   To tyrannous hate! Swell, bosom, with thy fraught,
449. fraught: freight, burden.

450   For 'tis of aspics' tongues!
450. aspics' tongues: tongues of asps, which are venomous serpents.

                                                 Yet be content.

451   O, blood, blood, blood!

452   Patience, I say; your mind perhaps may change.

453   Never, Iago: Like to the Pontic sea,
453. Pontic Sea: Black Sea.

454   Whose icy current and compulsive course
455   Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
455. retiring: backward-flowing.

456   To the Propontic and the Hellespont,
456. Propontic: body of water between the Bosporus and Hellespont.

457   Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
458   Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love,
459   Till that a capable and wide revenge
459. capable; comprehensive.

460   Swallow them up. Now, by yond marble heaven,
460. marble: enduring, changeless.

Othello kneeling, Iago observing him
Illustrator: Sir John Gilbert

461   In the due reverence of a sacred vow
462   I here engage my words.

                                                Do not rise yet.


463   Witness, you ever-burning lights above,
464   You elements that clip us round about,
464. clip: encompass.

465   Witness that here Iago doth give up
466   The execution of his wit, hands, heart,
466. execution: action. wit: mind.

467   To wrong'd Othello's service! Let him command,
468   And to obey shall be in me remorse,
469   What bloody business ever.
468-469. And to obey shall be in me remorse, / What bloody business ever: i.e., in Othello's service even the cruellest acts will be as allowable as if they were gentle and prompted by pity ("remorse").

           [They rise.]

                                               I greet thy love,
470   Not with vain thanks, but with acceptance bounteous,
471   And will upon the instant put thee to't:
471. upon the instant put thee to't: i.e., right now give you the chance to prove your loyalty to me in deeds.

472   Within these three days let me hear thee say
473   That Cassio's not alive.

474   My friend is dead; 'tis done at your request:
475   But let her live.

476   Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her!
476. minx: a lewd or wanton woman.

477   Come, go with me apart; I will withdraw,
478   To furnish me with some swift means of death
479   For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant.

480   I am your own for ever.