Othello By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 1

IAGO.
[Aside.] He takes her by the palm: ay, well said, whisper:
with as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as
Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do; I will gyve thee in thine own
courtship. You say true; 'tis so, indeed: if such tricks as
these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you
had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again you are
most apt to play the sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent
courtesy! 'tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers to your lips?
Would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!

[Trumpet within.] — The Moor! I know his trumpet.

CASSIO.
'Tis truly so.

DESDEMONA.
Let's meet him, and receive him.

CASSIO.
Lo, where he comes!

[Enter Othello and Attendants.]

OTHELLO.
O my fair warrior!

DESDEMONA.
My dear Othello!

OTHELLO.
It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul's joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high, and duck again as low
As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die,
'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.

DESDEMONA.
The heavens forbid
But that our loves and comforts should increase
Even as our days do grow!

OTHELLO.
Amen to that, sweet powers! —
I cannot speak enough of this content;
It stops me here; it is too much of joy:
And this, and this, the greatest discords be

[Kissing her.]

That e'er our hearts shall make!

IAGO.
[Aside.] O, you are well tun'd now!
But I'll set down the pegs that make this music,
As honest as I am.

OTHELLO.
Come, let us to the castle. —
News, friends; our wars are done, the Turks are drown'd.
How does my old acquaintance of this isle?
Honey, you shall be well desir'd in Cyprus;
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
In mine own comforts. — I pry'thee, good Iago,
Go to the bay and disembark my coffers:
Bring thou the master to the citadel;
He is a good one, and his worthiness
Does challenge much respect. — Come, Desdemona,
Once more well met at Cyprus.

[Exeunt Othello, Desdemona, and Attendants.]

IAGO.
Do thou meet me presently at the harbour. Come hither. If thou
be'st valiant, — as, they say, base men being in love have then a
nobility in their natures more than is native to them, — list me.
The lieutenant to-night watches on the court of guard: first, I
must tell thee this — Desdemona is directly in love with him.

RODERIGO.
With him! why, 'tis not possible.

IAGO.
Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed. Mark me
with what violence she first loved the Moor, but for bragging,
and telling her fantastical lies: and will she love him still for
prating? Let not thy discreet heart think it. Her eye must be
fed; and what delight shall she have to look on the devil? When
the blood is made dull with the act of sport, there should
be, — again to inflame it and to give satiety a fresh appetite, —
loveliness in favour; sympathy in years, manners, and beauties;
all which the Moor is defective in: now, for want of these
required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will find itself
abused, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and abhor the Moor;
very nature will instruct her in it, and compel her to some
second choice. Now sir, this granted; — as it is a most pregnant
and unforced position, — who stands so eminently in the degree of
this fortune as Cassio does? a knave very voluble; no further
conscionable than in putting on the mere form of civil and
humane seeming, for the better compass of his salt and most
hidden loose affection? why, none; why, none; — a slipper and
subtle knave; a finder out of occasions; that has an eye can
stamp and counterfeit advantages, though true advantage never
present itself: a devilish knave! besides, the knave is
handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly
and green minds look after: a pestilent complete knave; and the
woman hath found him already.

RODERIGO.
I cannot believe that in her; she is full of most blessed
condition.

IAGO.
Blest fig's end! the wine she drinks is made of grapes: if
she had been blessed, she would never have loved the Moor:
blessed pudding! Didst thou not see her paddle with the palm of
his hand? didst not mark that?

RODERIGO.
Yes, that I did; but that was but courtesy.

IAGO.
Lechery, by this hand; an index and obscure prologue to the
history of lust and foul thoughts. They met so near with their
lips that their breaths embraced together. Villainous thoughts,
Roderigo! when these mutualities so marshal the way, hard at
hand comes the master and main exercise, the incorporate
conclusion: pish! — But, sir, be you ruled by me: I have brought
you from Venice. Watch you to-night: for the command, I'll lay't
upon you: Cassio knows you not: — I'll not be far from you: do you
find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud,
or tainting his discipline, or from what other course you
please, which the time shall more favourably minister.

RODERIGO.
Well.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How does Desdemona react on her deathbed?




Quiz