Othello By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 1

ACT IV.

SCENE I. 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 unauthoriz'd 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 honour too:
May she give that?

IAGO.
Her honour 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 assur'd,
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! that's fulsome. — Handkerchief — confessions —
handkerchief! — 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
instruction. It is not words that shake 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 fallen 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 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 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.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How does Desdemona react on her deathbed?




Quiz