Othello By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 3

I will ask him for my place again; — he shall tell me I am a
drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would
stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool,
and presently a beast! O strange! — Every inordinate cup is
unbless'd, and the ingredient is a devil.

Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be
well used: exclaim no more against it. And, good lieutenant,
I think you think I love you.

I have well approved it, sir. — I drunk!

You, or any man living, may be drunk at a time, man. I'll tell
you what you shall do. Our general's wife is now the general; —
I may say so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and
given up himself to the contemplation, mark, and denotement
of her parts and graces: — confess yourself freely to her;
importune her help to put you in your place again: she is of
so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds
it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested:
this broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to
splinter; and, my fortunes against any lay worth naming, this
crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.

You advise me well.

I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.

I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I will beseech
the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me; I am desperate
of my fortunes if they check me here.

You are in the right. Good-night, lieutenant; I must to the

Good night, honest Iago.


And what's he, then, that says I play the villain?
When this advice is free I give and honest,
Probal to thinking, and, indeed, the course
To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
The inclining Desdemona to subdue
In any honest suit: she's fram'd as fruitful
As the free elements. And then for her
To win the Moor, — were't to renounce his baptism,
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin, —
His soul is so enfetter'd to her love
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
Even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function. How am I, then, a villain
To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
When devils will the blackest sins put on,
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortune,
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
I'll pour this pestilence into his ear, —
That she repeals him for her body's lust;
And by how much she strives to do him good,
She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
So will I turn her virtue into pitch;
And out of her own goodness make the net
That shall enmesh them all.

[Enter Roderigo.]

How now, Roderigo!

I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that hunts,
but one that fills up the cry. My money is almost spent; I
have been to-night exceedingly well cudgelled; and I think
the issue will be — I shall have so much experience for my
pains: and so, with no money at all and a little more wit,
return again to Venice.

How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
And wit depends on dilatory time.
Does't not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee,
And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashier'd Cassio;
Though other things grow fair against the sun,
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe:
Content thyself awhile. — By the mass, 'tis morning;
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short. —
Retire thee; go where thou art billeted:
Away, I say; thou shalt know more hereafter;
Nay, get thee gone.

[Exit Roderigo.]

Two things are to be done, —
My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress;
I'll set her on;
Myself the while to draw the Moor apart,
And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
Soliciting his wife. Ay, that's the way;
Dull not device by coldness and delay.


Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How does Desdemona react on her deathbed?