ACT IV
Scene 1
 

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 honor too.
May she give that?

IAGO
Her honor 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--O, 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 anything?

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! 'Zounds, that's fulsome! Handkerchief--
confessions--handkerchief! To confess and be hanged for his labor--
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 shakes 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.
Now, if this suit lay in Bianca's power,
How quickly should you speed!

CASSIO
Alas, poor caitiff!

OTHELLO
Look, how he laughs already!

IAGO
I never knew a 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 her.
Do you intend it?

CASSIO
Ha, ha, ha!

OTHELLO
Do you triumph, Roman? Do you triumph?

CASSIO
I marry her! What? A customer! I 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 hobbyhorse. 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 tonight, 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 i' 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 murther 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 akilling. 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 tonight, 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, a 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
God save the 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
By my troth, I am glad on't.

OTHELLO
Indeed!

DESDEMONA
My lord?

OTHELLO
I am glad to see you mad.

DESDEMONA
Why, sweet Othello?

OTHELLO
Devil!

Strikes her.

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
[Going.] I will not stay to offend you.

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? 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.