Othello By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 3

Why, this is a more exquisite song than the other.

Will you hear it again?

No; for I hold him to be unworthy of his place that does
those things. — Well, — God's above all, and there be souls must
be saved, and there be souls must not be saved.

It's true, good lieutenant.

For mine own part, — no offence to the general, nor any
man of quality, — I hope to be saved.

And so do I too, lieutenant.

Ay, but, by your leave, not before me; the lieutenant is to
be saved before the ancient. Let's have no more of this;
let's to our affairs. — Forgive us our sins! — Gentlemen, let's
look to our business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk: this
is my ancient; this is my right hand, and this is my left: — I am
not drunk now; I can stand well enough, and I speak well enough.

Excellent well.

Why, very well then: you must not think, then, that I am drunk.


To the platform, masters; come, let's set the watch.

You see this fellow that is gone before; —
He is a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
And give direction: and do but see his vice;
'Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
The one as long as the other: 'tis pity of him.
I fear the trust Othello puts him in,
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.

But is he often thus?

'Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep:
He'll watch the horologe a double set
If drink rock not his cradle.

It were well
The general were put in mind of it.
Perhaps he sees it not, or his good nature
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
And looks not on his evils: is not this true?

[Enter Roderigo.]

[Aside to him.] How now, Roderigo!
I pray you, after the lieutenant; go.

[Exit Roderigo.]

And 'tis great pity that the noble Moor
Should hazard such a place as his own second
With one of an ingraft infirmity:
It were an honest action to say
So to the Moor.

Not I, for this fair island;
I do love Cassio well; and would do much
To cure him of this evil. — But, hark! What noise?

[Cry within, — "Help! help!"]

[Re-enter Cassio, driving in Roderigo.]

You rogue! you rascal!

What's the matter, lieutenant?

A knave teach me my duty! I'll beat the knave into
a twiggen bottle.

Beat me!

Dost thou prate, rogue? [Striking Roderigo.]

Nay, good lieutenant; I pray you, sir, hold your hand.

Let me go, sir, or I'll knock you o'er the mazard.

Come, come, you're drunk.


[They fight.]

[Aside to Roderigo.] Away, I say! go out and cry a mutiny.

[Exit Roderigo.]

Nay, good lieutenant, — alas,, gentlemen: —
Help, ho! — Lieutenant, — sir, — Montano, — sir: —
Help, masters! — Here's a goodly watch indeed!

[Bell rings.]

Who's that that rings the bell? — Diablo, ho!
The town will rise: God's will, lieutenant, hold;
You will be sham'd forever.

[Re-enter Othello and Attendants.]

What is the matter here?

Zounds, I bleed still; I am hurt to the death.

Hold, for your lives!

Hold, ho! lieutenant, — sir, — Montano, — gentlemen, —
Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
Hold! the general speaks to you; hold, hold, for shame!

Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?
Are we turn'd Turks, and to ourselves do that
Which Heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl:
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion. —
Silence that dreadful bell; it frights the isle
From her propriety. — What is the matter, masters? —
Honest Iago, that look'st dead with grieving,
Speak, who began this? on thy love, I charge thee.

I do not know: — friends all but now, even now,
In quarter, and in terms like bride and groom
Devesting them for bed; and then, but now —
As if some planet had unwitted men, —
Swords out, and tilting one at other's breast
In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
Any beginning to this peevish odds;
And would in action glorious I had lost
Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?

I pray you, pardon me; I cannot speak.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How does Desdemona react on her deathbed?