William Shakespeare's Othello is the tale of the green-eyed monster.
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Othello, the Moor of Venice

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Act IV. Scene I.

Act IV. Scene I.—Cyprus. Before the Castle.


Iago. Will you think so?
Oth. Think so, Iago!
Iago. What!
To kiss in private?
Oth. An unauthoriz'd kiss.
Iago. Or to be naked with her friend a-bed
An hour or more, not meaning any barm?
Oth. Naked a-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
Iago. If they do nothing, 'tis a venial slip;
But if I give my wife a handkerchief,—
Oth. What then?
Iago. Why, then, 'tis hers, my lord; and,
being hers,
She may, I think, bestow't on any man.
Oth. She is protectress of her honour too;
May she give that?
Iago. Her honour is an essence that's not
They have it very oft that have it not:
But for the handkerchief—
Oth. 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?
Oth. 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.
Oth. Hath he said any thing?
Iago. He hath, my lord; but be you well
No more than he'll unswear.
Oth. What hath he said?
Iago. Faith, that he did—I know not what
he did.
Oth. What? what?
Iago. Lie—
Oth. With her?
Iago. With her, on her; what you will.
Oth. Lie with her! lie on her! We say, lie on
her, when they belie her. Lie with her! that's
fulsome. Handkerchief,—confessions,—handker-
chief. 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 instruc-
tion. It is not words that shake me thus. Pish!
Noses, ears, and lips. Is it possible?—Confess!—
Handkerchief!—O devil! [Falls in a trance.
Iago. Work on,
My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are
And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,
All guiltless, meet reproach. What, ho! my
My lord, I say! Othello!

How now, Cassio!
Cas. What's the matter?
Iago. My lord is fallen into an epilepsy;
This is his second fit; he had one yesterday.
Cas. 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.
How is it, general? have you not hurt your
Oth. Dost thou mock me?
Iago. I mock you! no, by heaven.
Would you would bear your fortune like a man!
Oth. A horned man's a monster and a beast.
Iago. There's many a beast then, in a popu-
lous city,
And many a civil monster.
Oth. Did he confess it?
Iago. Good sir, be a man;
Think every bearded fellow that's but yok'd
May draw with you; there's millions now alive
That nightly lie in those unproper beds
Which they dare swear peculiar; your case is
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
Oth. 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
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 promis'd. Do but encave yourself,
And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable
That dwell in every region of bis 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.
Oth. 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 goes apart.
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
To beguile many and be beguil'd 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 be-
Quite in the wrong. How do you now, lieute-
Cas. The worser that you give me the ad-
Whose want even kills me.
Iago. Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure
[Speaking lower.] Now, if this suit lay in Bianca's
How quickly should you speed!
Cas. Alas! poor caitiff!
Oth. Look! how he laughs already!
Iago. I never knew woman love man so.
Cas. Alas! poor rogue, I think, i' faith, she
loves me.
Oth. Now he denies it faintly, and laughs it
Iago. Do you hear, Cassio?
Oth. Now he importunes him
To tell it o'er: go to; well said, well said.
Iago. She gives it out that you shall marry
Do you intend it?
Cas. Ha, ha, ha!
Oth. Do you triumph, Roman? do you tri-
Cas. I marry her! what? a customer? I
prithee, bear some charity to my wit; do not
think it so unwholesome. Ha, ha, ha!
Oth. So, so, so, so. They laugh that win.
Iago. Faith, the cry goes that you shall
marry her.
Cas. Prithee, say true.
Iago. I am a very villain else.
Oth. Have you scored me? Well.
Cas. 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.
Oth. Iago beckons me; now he begins the
Cas. 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;—
Oth. Crying, 'O dear Cassio!' as it were; his
gesture imports it.
Cas. So hangs and lolls and weeps upon me;
so hales and pulls me; ha, ha, ha!
Oth. Now he tells how she plucked him to
my chamber. O! I see that nose of yours, but
not the dog I shall throw it to.
Cas. Well, I must leave her company.
Iago. Before me! look, where she comes.
Cas. 'Tis such another fitchew! marry, a.per-
fumed one.

What do you mean by this haunting of me?
Bian. 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.
Cas. How now, my sweet Bianca! how now,
how now!
Oth. By heaven, that should he my handker-
Bian. 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.
Cas. Faith, I must; she'll rail in the street
Iago. Will you sup there?
Cas. Faith, I intend so.
Iago. Well, I may chance to see you, for I
would very fain speak with you.
Cas. Prithee, come; will you?
Iago. Go to; say no more. [Exit CASSIO.
Oth. [Advancing.] How shall I murder him,
Iago. Did you perceive how he laughed at his
Oth. O! Iago!
Iago. And did you see the handkerchief?
Oth. 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.
Oth. I would have him nine years a-killing.
A fine woman! a fair woman! a sweet woman!
Iago. Nay, you must forget that.
Oth. 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.
Oth. 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
Iago. She's the worse for all this.
Oth. O! a thousand, a thousand times. And
then, of so gentle a condition!
Iago. Ay, too gentle.
Oth. 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.
Oth. I will chop her into messes. Cuckold
Iago. O! 'tis foul in her.
Oth. With mine officer!
Iago. That's fouler.
Oth. 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. Do it not with poison, strangle her in
her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated.
Oth. Good, good; the justice of it pleases;
very good.
Iago. And for Cassio, let me be his under-
taker; you shall hear more by midnight.
Oth. Excellent good. [A trumpet within.]
What trumpet is that same?
Iago. Something from Venice, sure. 'Tis
Come from the duke; and see, your wife is with

Enter LODOVICO, DESDEMONA, and Attendants.
Lod. God save you, worthy general!
Oth. With all my heart, sir.
Lod. The duke and senators of Venice greet
you. [Gives him a packet.
Oth. I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.
[Opens the packet, and reads.
Des. And what's the news, good cousin
Iago. I am very glad to see you, signior;
Welcome to Cyprus.
Lod. I thank you. How does Lieutenant
Iago. Lives, sir.
Des. Cousin, there's fallen between him and
my lord
An unkind breach; but you shall make all well.
Oth. Are you sure of that?
Des. My lord?
Oth. This fail you not to do, as you will—
Lod. He did not call; he's busy in the
Is there division 'twixt my lord and Cassio?
Des. A most unhappy one; I would do much
To atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.
Oth. Fire and brimstone!
Des. My lord?
Oth. Are you wise?
Des. What! is he angry?
Lod. May be the letter moved him;
For, as I think, they do command him home,
Deputing Cassio in his government.
Des. Trust me, I am glad on't.
Oth. Indeed!
Des. My lord?
Oth. I am glad to see you mad.
Des. Why, sweet Othello?
Oth. Devil! [Strikes her.
Des. I have not deserved this.
Lod. My lord, this would not be believ'd in
Though I should swear I saw't: 'tis very much;
Make her amends, she weeps.
Oth. 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!
Des. I will not stay to offend you.
Lod. Truly, an obedient lady;
I do beseech your lordship, call her back.
Oth. Mistress!
Des. My lord?
Oth. What would you with her, sir?
Lod. Who, I, my lord?
Oth. Ay; you did wish that I would make her
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!
Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, to-night,
I do entreat that we may sup together;
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus. Goats and
monkeys! [Exit.
Lod. Is this the noble Moor whom our full
Call all-in-all sufficient? is this the noble nature
Whom passion could not shake? whose solid
The shot of accident nor dart of chance
Could neither graze nor pierce?
Iago. He is much chang'd.
Lod. Are his wits safe? is he not light of
Iago. He's that he is; I may not breathe my
What he might be, if, what he might, he is not,
I would to heaven he were!
Lod. What! strike his wife!
Iago. Faith, that was not so well; yet would
I knew
That stroke would prove the worst!
Lod. 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
And his own courses will denote him so
That I may save my speech. Do but go after
And mark how he continues.
Lod. I am sorry that I am deceived in him.
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