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 4


           Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and CLOWN."
CLOWN: "Clown" is the name of this person's role in the Globe acting company. Here he is a servant, but his main purpose is to make jokes and lighten the mood.


      DESDEMONA
  1   Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio
1. sirrah: Little sir. "Sirrah," like the American "buddy," can be used in either a hostile or friendly way.

  2   lies?

      Clown
  3   I dare not say he lies any where.
3. lies: lodges (but the Clown takes it to mean "tells lies").


      DESDEMONA
  4   Why, man?

      Clown
  5   He's a soldier, and for one to say a soldier lies,
  6   is stabbing.

      DESDEMONA
  7   Go to! where lodges he?
7. Go to!: get otta here, off with you, enough of that, etc.

Buffoon playing the Lute by Franz Hals
Buffoon playing the Lute by Franz Hals

      Clown
  8   To tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where
  9   I lie.

      DESDEMONA
 10   Can any thing be made of this?

      Clown
 11   I know not where he lodges, and for me to
 12   devise a lodging and say he lies here or he
 13   lies there, were to lie in mine own throat.
13. lie in mine own throat: tell a gross and deliberate lie.


      DESDEMONA
 14   Can you inquire him out, and be edified by
14. inquire him out: ask around about him.

 15   report?
15. report: what you hear from others.


      Clown
 16   I will catechise the world for him; that is, make
 17   questions, and by them answer.

      DESDEMONA
 18   Seek him, bid him come hither. Tell him I have
 19   moved my lord on his behalf, and hope all will
19. moved: petitioned, made a plea to.

 20   be well.

      Clown
 21   To do this is within the compass of man's wit:
 22   and therefore I will attempt the doing it.

           Exit Clown.

      DESDEMONA
 23   Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?
23. Where should I lose: Where could I have lost.


      EMILIA
 24   I know not, madam.

      DESDEMONA
 25   Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse
 26   Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor

26. crusadoes: Portuguese gold coins stamped with a cross.

 27   Is true of mind and made of no such baseness
 28   As jealous creatures are, it were enough
 29   To put him to ill thinking.

      EMILIA
                                            Is he not jealous?

      DESDEMONA
 30   Who, he? I think the sun where he was born
 31   Drew all such humors from him.
31. humors: bodily fluids which were thought to determine temperament.


      EMILIA
                                    Look, where he comes.

           Enter OTHELLO.

      DESDEMONA
 32   I will not leave him now till Cassio
 33   Be call'd to him. —How is't with you, my lord?

      OTHELLO
Engraving by H.C. Selous: Othello saying 'give me your hand' to Desdemona
"Give me your hand"

 34   Well, my good lady. — O, hardness to dissemble!—
 35   How do you, Desdemona?

      DESDEMONA
                            Well, my good lord.

      OTHELLO
 36   Give me your hand. This hand is moist, my lady.

      DESDEMONA
 37   It yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.

      OTHELLO
 38   This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart;
40. argues: indicates.

 39   Hot, hot, and moist. This hand of yours requires
 40   A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer,
40. sequester: sequestration, separation.

 41   Much castigation, exercise devout;
41. castigation: corrective discipline, penance.

 42   For here's a young and sweating devil here,
 43   That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand,
 44   A frank one.
44. frank: Desdemona takes this as meaning generous, but Othello may have in mind also the meanings lusty, vigorous or open, unable to conceal secrets.


      DESDEMONA
                        You may, indeed, say so;
 45   For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart.

      OTHELLO
 46   A liberal hand. The hearts of old gave hands;
46. liberal: generous; sexually free and easy.

47. our new heraldry is hands, not hearts: under our newfangled heraldry, hands (given in marriage) no longer signify that hearts are given also.
 47   But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.

      DESDEMONA
 48   I cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise.

      OTHELLO
 49   What promise, chuck?
49. chuck: a term of endearment, related to chick.


      DESDEMONA
 50   I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.

      OTHELLO
 51   I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me;
51. salt and sorry rheum: distressing head cold.

 52   Lend me thy handkerchief.

      DESDEMONA
Othello and Desdemona with a Handkerchief by Daniel Maclise
"I have it not about me"

                                                 Here, my lord.

           [She offers him a handkerchief.]

      OTHELLO
 53   That which I gave you.

      DESDEMONA
                                          I have it not about me.

      OTHELLO
 54   Not?

      DESDEMONA
                No, faith, my lord.

      OTHELLO
 55   That's a fault. That handkerchief
 56   Did an Egyptian to my mother give;
 57   She was a charmer, and could almost read
57. charmer: sorceress, magician.

 58   The thoughts of people. She told her, while she kept it,
 59   'Twould make her amiable and subdue my father
59. amiable: desirable.

 60   Entirely to her love, but if she lost it
 61   Or made gift of it, my father's eye
 62   Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt
 63   After new fancies. She, dying, gave it me;
 64   And bid me, when my fate would have me wive,
 65   To give it her. I did so: and take heed on't;
65. To give it her: To give it to my wife.

 66   Make it a darling like your precious eye;
 67   To lose't or give't away were such perdition
67. perdition: loss.

 68   As nothing else could match.

      DESDEMONA
                                                    Is't possible?

      OTHELLO
 69   'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it.
69. web: fabric.

 70   A sibyl, that had number'd in the world
70. sibyl: prophetess.

 71   The sun to course two hundred compasses,
71. compasses: annual circlings.

 72   In her prophetic fury sew'd the work;
72. prophetic fury: the divine frenzy which enabled her to prophesy.

 73   The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk;
 74   And it was dyed in mummy which the skilful
74. mummy: medicinal or magical fluid drawn from embalmed bodies.

 75   Conserv'd of maidens' hearts.
75. Conserv'd of: prepared or preserved out of.


      DESDEMONA
                                                        Indeed! is't true?

      OTHELLO
 76   Most veritable; therefore look to't well.

      DESDEMONA
 77   Then would to God that I had never seen't!

      OTHELLO
 78   Ha! wherefore?

      DESDEMONA
 79   Why do you speak so startingly and rash?
79. startingly and rash: disjointedly and impetuously.


      OTHELLO
 80   Is't lost? is't gone? speak, is it out o' the way?

      DESDEMONA
 81   Heaven bless us!

      OTHELLO
 82   Say you?

      DESDEMONA
 83   It is not lost; but what an if it were?
83. an if: if.


      OTHELLO
 84   How!

      DESDEMONA
 85   I say, it is not lost.

      OTHELLO
                                  Fetch't, let me see't.

      DESDEMONA
 86   Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now.
 87   This is a trick to put me from my suit:
 88   Pray you, let Cassio be received again.

      OTHELLO
 89   Fetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives.

      DESDEMONA
 90   Come, come;
 91   You'll never meet a more sufficient man.
91. sufficient: able, complete.


      OTHELLO
 92   The handkerchief!

      DESDEMONA
                                     I pray, talk me of Cassio.

      OTHELLO
 93   The handkerchief!

      DESDEMONA
                                       A man that all his time
93. all his time: throughout his career.

 94   Hath founded his good fortunes on your love,
 95   Shared dangers with you,—

      OTHELLO
 96   The handkerchief!

      DESDEMONA
 97   I' faith, you are to blame.

      OTHELLO
 98   Zounds!

           Exit Othello.

      EMILIA
 99   Is not this man jealous?

      DESDEMONA
100   I ne'er saw this before.
101   Sure, there's some wonder in this handkerchief:
102   I am most unhappy in the loss of it.

      EMILIA
103   'Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
103. 'Tis . . . man: i.e., worthy men seldom come along.

104   They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
104. all but: nothing but.

105   They eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
106   They belch us. Look you, Cassio and my husband!

           Enter IAGO and CASSIO.

      IAGO
107   There is no other way; 'tis she must do't:
108   And, lo, the happiness! Go, and importune her.
108. happiness: good luck.


      DESDEMONA
109   How now, good Cassio! what's the news with you?

      CASSIO
110   Madam, my former suit: I do beseech you
111   That by your virtuous means I may again
111. virtuous: efficacious.

112   Exist, and be a member of his love
112.  be a . . . love: i.e. be one of his devoted officers.

113   Whom I with all the office of my heart
113. office: devoted service.

114   Entirely honor. I would not be delay'd.
115   If my offence be of such mortal kind
115. mortal: fatal.

116   That nor my service past, nor present sorrows,
116. nor my service past, nor: neither my past service, nor.

117   Nor purpos'd merit in futurity,
117. purpos'd merit in futurity: intention to serve well in the future.

118   Can ransom me into his love again,
119   But to know so must be my benefit;
119. But to know so must be my benefit: Merely to know that my case is hopeless must be all I can expect.

120   So shall I clothe me in a forced content,
121   And shut myself up in some other course,
121. shut . . . course: adopt another life path.

122   To fortune's alms.
122. fortune's alms: pittances handed out by Fortune to beggars.


      DESDEMONA
                                Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio!
123   My advocation is not now in tune;
123. advocation: advocacy [on your behalf].

124   My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him,
125   Were he in favor as in humor alter'd.
124-125. nor should . . . in humor alter'd.: Nor would I recognize him if his appearance (favor) were as altered as his mood.

126   So help me every spirit sanctified,
127   As I have spoken for you all my best
128   And stood within the blank of his displeasure
128. blank: center of a target; i.e., directly in the line of fire.

129   For my free speech! you must awhile be patient.
130   What I can do I will; and more I will
131   Than for myself I dare: let that suffice you.

      IAGO
132   Is my lord angry?

      EMILIA
                                   He went hence but now,
133   And certainly in strange unquietness.

      IAGO
134   Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
135   When it hath blown his ranks into the air,
136   And, like the devil, from his very arm
137   Puff'd his own brother:—and is he angry?
138   Something of moment then: I will go meet him:
138. Something of moment then: then it must be a very weighty matter.

139   There's matter in't indeed, if he be angry.

      DESDEMONA
140   I prithee, do so.

           Exit [Iago].

                                 Something, sure, of state,
141   Either from Venice, or some unhatch'd practise
141. unhatch'd practice: plot not yet ready for execution.

142   Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him,
143   Hath puddled his clear spirit; and in such cases
143. puddled: muddied.

144   Men's natures wrangle with inferior things,
145   Though great ones are their object. 'Tis even so;
146   For let our finger ache, and it indues
146. indues: brings to the same condition.

147   Our other healthful members even to that sense
148   Of pain. Nay, we must think men are not gods,
149   Nor of them look for such observances
149. observances: devoted attention.

150   As fit the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia,
150. bridal: wedding (when a bridegroom is newly attentive). Beshrew me: a mild imprecation.

151   I was, unhandsome warrior as I am,
151. unhandsome: insufficient.

152   Arraigning his unkindness with my soul;
152. with my soul: before the bar of my soul.

153   But now I find I had suborn'd the witness,
153. suborn'd the witness: caused the witness to lie, i.e., misinterpreted Othello's behavior.

154   And he's indicted falsely.

      EMILIA
155   Pray heaven it be state-matters, as you think,
156   And no conception nor no jealous toy
156. toy: stupid idea.

157   Concerning you.

      DESDEMONA
158   Alas the day! I never gave him cause.

      EMILIA
159   But jealous souls will not be answer'd so;
160   They are not ever jealous for the cause,
160. for the cause: i.e.. for a good reason.

161   But jealous for they are jealous. It is a monster
161. for: because.

162   Begot upon itself, born on itself.
162. Begot upon itself: i.e., spontaneously generated solely from itself, without cause.


      DESDEMONA
163   Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind!
Bianca by William Holman Hunt
Bianca by William Holman Hunt

      EMILIA
164   Lady, amen.

      DESDEMONA
165   I will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout:
166   If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit
167   And seek to effect it to my uttermost.

      CASSIO
168   I humbly thank your ladyship.

           Exeunt [Desdemona and Emilia].

           Enter BIANCA.

      BIANCA
169   Save you, friend Cassio!
169. Save you: God save you. friend: my beloved.


      CASSIO
                                     What make you from home?
169.  What make you from home?: What are you doing away from home?

170   How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?
171   I' faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house.

      BIANCA
172   And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
173   What, keep a week away? seven days and nights?
174   Eight score eight hours? and lovers' absent hours,
175   More tedious than the dial eight score times?
176   O weary reckoning!

      CASSIO
                                        Pardon me, Bianca.
177   I have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd:
178   But I shall, in a more continuate time,
178. continuate: uninterrupted.

179   Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca,
179. Strike off this score: Settle this account.


           [Giving her Desdemona's handkerchief.]

180   Take me this work out.
180. Take me this work out: Copy this embroidery for me.


      BIANCA
                            O Cassio, whence came this?
181   This is some token from a newer friend:
181. token: love token.

182   To the felt absence now I feel a cause:
183   Is't come to this? Well, well.

      CASSIO
                                                    Go to, woman!
184   Throw your vile guesses in the devil's teeth,
185   From whence you have them. You are jealous now
186   That this is from some mistress, some remembrance:
187   No, in good troth, Bianca.

      BIANCA
                                               Why, whose is it?

      CASSIO
188   I know not, neither: I found it in my chamber.
189   I like the work well: ere it be demanded—
189. demanded: inquired for.

190   As like enough it will—I'ld have it copied:
191   Take it, and do't; and leave me for this time.

      BIANCA
192   Leave you! Wherefore?

      CASSIO
193   I do attend here on the general;
194   And think it no addition, nor my wish,
194. addition: credit; i.e., addition to my reputation.

195   To have him see me woman'd.
Cassio and Bianca
Fergal Philips as Cassio
Jade Matthews as Bianca
--Orangutan Productions, 2014--

      BIANCA
                                      Why, I pray you?

      CASSIO
196   Not that I love you not.

      BIANCA
                       But that you do not love me.
197   I pray you, bring me on the way a little,
198   And say if I shall see you soon at night.

      CASSIO
199   'Tis but a little way that I can bring you;
200   For I attend here: but I'll see you soon.

      BIANCA
201   'Tis very good; I must be circumstanced.
201. 'Tis very good: She is being sarcastic. be circumstanced: yield to circumstances.


           Exeunt omnes.