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    Act IV. Scene I

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    Chapter 11
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    SCENE I. Cyprus. Before the castle.

    Enter OTHELLO and IAGO
    IAGO
    Will you think so?

    OTHELLO
    Think so, Iago!

    IAGO
    What,
    To kiss in private?

    OTHELLO
    An unauthorized kiss.

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

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

    IAGO
    So they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip:
    But if I give my wife a handkerchief,--

    OTHELLO
    What then?

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

    OTHELLO
    She is protectress of her honour too:
    May she give that?

    IAGO
    Her honour is an essence that's not seen;
    They have it very oft that have it not:
    But, for the handkerchief,--

    OTHELLO
    By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it.
    Thou said'st, it comes o'er my memory,
    As doth the raven o'er the infected house,
    Boding to all--he had my handkerchief.

    IAGO
    Ay, what of that?

    OTHELLO
    That's not so good now.

    IAGO
    What,
    If I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
    Or heard him say,--as knaves be such abroad,
    Who having, by their own importunate suit,
    Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,
    Convinced or supplied them, cannot choose
    But they must blab--

    OTHELLO
    Hath he said any thing?

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

    OTHELLO
    What hath he said?

    IAGO
    'Faith, that he did--I know not what he did.

    OTHELLO
    What? what?

    IAGO
    Lie--

    OTHELLO
    With her?

    IAGO
    With her, on her; what you will.

    OTHELLO
    Lie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her, when
    they belie her. Lie with her! that's fulsome.
    --Handkerchief--confessions--handkerchief!--To
    confess, and be hanged for his labour;--first, to be
    hanged, and then to confess.--I tremble at it.
    Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing
    passion without some instruction. It is not words
    that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips.
    --Is't possible?--Confess--handkerchief!--O devil!--

    Falls in a trance

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

    Enter CASSIO

    How now, Cassio!

    CASSIO
    What's the matter?

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

    CASSIO
    Rub him about the temples.

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

    Exit CASSIO

    How is it, general? have you not hurt your head?

    OTHELLO
    Dost thou mock me?

    IAGO
    I mock you! no, by heaven.
    Would you would bear your fortune like a man!

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

    IAGO
    There's many a beast then in a populous city,
    And many a civil monster.

    OTHELLO
    Did he confess it?

    IAGO
    Good sir, be a man;
    Think every bearded fellow that's but yoked
    May draw with you: there's millions now alive
    That nightly lie in those unproper beds
    Which they dare swear peculiar: your case is better.
    O, 'tis the spite of hell, the fiend's arch-mock,
    To lip a wanton in a secure couch,
    And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know;
    And knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.

    OTHELLO
    O, thou art wise; 'tis certain.

    IAGO
    Stand you awhile apart;
    Confine yourself but in a patient list.
    Whilst you were here o'erwhelmed with your grief--
    A passion most unsuiting such a man--
    Cassio came hither: I shifted him away,
    And laid good 'scuse upon your ecstasy,
    Bade him anon return and here speak with me;
    The which he promised. Do but encave yourself,
    And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns,
    That dwell in every region of his face;
    For I will make him tell the tale anew,
    Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when
    He hath, and is again to cope your wife:
    I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience;
    Or I shall say you are all in all in spleen,
    And nothing of a man.

    OTHELLO
    Dost thou hear, Iago?
    I will be found most cunning in my patience;
    But--dost thou hear?--most bloody.

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

    OTHELLO retires

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

    Re-enter CASSIO

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

    CASSIO
    The worser that you give me the addition
    Whose want even kills me.

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

    Speaking lower

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

    CASSIO
    Alas, poor caitiff!

    OTHELLO
    Look, how he laughs already!

    IAGO
    I never knew woman love man so.

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

    OTHELLO
    Now he denies it faintly, and laughs it out.

    IAGO
    Do you hear, Cassio?

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

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

    CASSIO
    Ha, ha, ha!

    OTHELLO
    Do you triumph, Roman? do you triumph?

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

    OTHELLO
    So, so, so, so: they laugh that win.

    IAGO
    'Faith, the cry goes that you shall marry her.

    CASSIO
    Prithee, say true.

    IAGO
    I am a very villain else.

    OTHELLO
    Have you scored me? Well.

    CASSIO
    This is the monkey's own giving out: she is
    persuaded I will marry her, out of her own love and
    flattery, not out of my promise.

    OTHELLO
    Iago beckons me; now he begins the story.

    CASSIO
    She was here even now; she haunts me in every place.
    I was the other day talking on the sea-bank with
    certain Venetians; and thither comes the bauble,
    and, by this hand, she falls me thus about my neck--

    OTHELLO
    Crying 'O dear Cassio!' as it were: his gesture
    imports it.

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

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

    CASSIO
    Well, I must leave her company.

    IAGO
    Before me! look, where she comes.

    CASSIO
    'Tis such another fitchew! marry a perfumed one.

    Enter BIANCA

    What do you mean by this haunting of me?

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

    CASSIO
    How now, my sweet Bianca! how now! how now!

    OTHELLO
    By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!

    BIANCA
    An you'll come to supper to-night, you may; an you
    will not, come when you are next prepared for.

    Exit

    IAGO
    After her, after her.

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

    IAGO
    Will you sup there?

    CASSIO
    'Faith, I intend so.

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

    CASSIO
    Prithee, come; will you?

    IAGO
    Go to; say no more.

    Exit CASSIO

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

    IAGO
    Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?

    OTHELLO
    O Iago!

    IAGO
    And did you see the handkerchief?

    OTHELLO
    Was that mine?

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

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

    IAGO
    Nay, you must forget that.

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

    IAGO
    Nay, that's not your way.

    OTHELLO
    Hang her! I do but say what she is: so delicate
    with her needle: an admirable musician: O! she
    will sing the savageness out of a bear: of so high
    and plenteous wit and invention:--

    IAGO
    She's the worse for all this.

    OTHELLO
    O, a thousand thousand times: and then, of so
    gentle a condition!

    IAGO
    Ay, too gentle.

    OTHELLO
    Nay, that's certain: but yet the pity of it, Iago!
    O Iago, the pity of it, Iago!

    IAGO
    If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her
    patent to offend; for, if it touch not you, it comes
    near nobody.

    OTHELLO
    I will chop her into messes: cuckold me!

    IAGO
    O, 'tis foul in her.

    OTHELLO
    With mine officer!

    IAGO
    That's fouler.

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

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

    OTHELLO
    Good, good: the justice of it pleases: very good.

    IAGO
    And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker: you
    shall hear more by midnight.

    OTHELLO
    Excellent good.

    A trumpet within

    What trumpet is that same?

    IAGO
    Something from Venice, sure. 'Tis Lodovico
    Come from the duke: and, see, your wife is with him.

    Enter LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants

    LODOVICO
    Save you, worthy general!

    OTHELLO
    With all my heart, sir.

    LODOVICO
    The duke and senators of Venice greet you.

    Gives him a letter

    OTHELLO
    I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.

    Opens the letter, and reads

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

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

    LODOVICO
    I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?

    IAGO
    Lives, sir.

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

    OTHELLO
    Are you sure of that?

    DESDEMONA
    My lord?

    OTHELLO
    [Reads] 'This fail you not to do, as you will--'

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

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

    OTHELLO
    Fire and brimstone!

    DESDEMONA
    My lord?

    OTHELLO
    Are you wise?

    DESDEMONA
    What, is he angry?

    LODOVICO
    May be the letter moved him;
    For, as I think, they do command him home,
    Deputing Cassio in his government.

    DESDEMONA
    Trust me, I am glad on't.

    OTHELLO
    Indeed!

    DESDEMONA
    My lord?

    OTHELLO
    I am glad to see you mad.

    DESDEMONA
    Why, sweet Othello,--

    OTHELLO
    [Striking her] Devil!

    DESDEMONA
    I have not deserved this.

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

    OTHELLO
    O devil, devil!
    If that the earth could teem with woman's tears,
    Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
    Out of my sight!

    DESDEMONA
    I will not stay to offend you.

    Going

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

    OTHELLO
    Mistress!

    DESDEMONA
    My lord?

    OTHELLO
    What would you with her, sir?

    LODOVICO
    Who, I, my lord?

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

    Exit DESDEMONA

    Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight,
    I do entreat that we may sup together:
    You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.--Goats and monkeys!

    Exit

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

    IAGO
    He is much changed.

    LODOVICO
    Are his wits safe? is he not light of brain?

    IAGO
    He's that he is: I may not breathe my censure
    What he might be: if what he might he is not,
    I would to heaven he were!

    LODOVICO
    What, strike his wife!

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

    LODOVICO
    Is it his use?
    Or did the letters work upon his blood,
    And new-create this fault?

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

    LODOVICO
    I am sorry that I am deceived in him.

    Exeunt
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