Othello By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 2

SCENE II. Cyprus. A Bedchamber in the castle: Desdemona in bed
asleep; a light burning.

[Enter Othello.]

OTHELLO.
It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul, —
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars! —
It is the cause. — Yet I'll not shed her blood;
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.

[Takes off his sword.]

Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then put out the light:
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent me: — but once put out thy light,
Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume. When I have pluck'd thy rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again,
It must needs wither: — I'll smell it on the tree. —

[Kissing her.]

O, balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword! — One more, one more; —
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after. — One more, and this the last;
So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears: this sorrow's heavenly;
It strikes where it doth love. — She wakes.

DESDEMONA.
Who's there? Othello?

OTHELLO.
Ay, Desdemona.

DESDEMONA.
Will you come to bed, my lord?

OTHELLO.
Have you pray'd to-night, Desdemona?

DESDEMONA.
Ay, my lord.

OTHELLO.
If you bethink yourself of any crime
Unreconcil'd as yet to heaven and grace,
Solicit for it straight.

DESDEMONA.
Alack, my lord, what may you mean by that?

OTHELLO.
Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by.
I would not kill thy unprepared spirit;
No, — heaven forfend! — I would not kill thy soul.

DESDEMONA.
Talk you of killing?

OTHELLO.
Ay, I do.

DESDEMONA.
Then heaven have mercy on me!

OTHELLO.
Amen, with all my heart!

DESDEMONA.
If you say so, I hope you will not kill me.

OTHELLO.
Hum!

DESDEMONA.
And yet I fear you; for you are fatal then
When your eyes roll so: why I should fear I know not,
Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.

OTHELLO.
Think on thy sins.

DESDEMONA.
They are loves I bear to you.

OTHELLO.
Ay, and for that thou diest.

DESDEMONA.
That death's unnatural that kills for loving. —
Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame:
These are portents; but yet I hope, I hope,
They do not point on me.

OTHELLO.
Peace, and be still!

DESDEMONA.
I will so. What's the matter?

OTHELLO.
That handkerchief which I so loved and gave thee
Thou gav'st to Cassio.

DESDEMONA.
No, by my life and soul!
Send for the man, and ask him.

OTHELLO.
Sweet soul, take heed,
Take heed of perjury; thou'rt on thy death-bed.

DESDEMONA.
Ay, but not yet to die.

OTHELLO.
Yes, presently:
Therefore confess thee freely of thy sin;
For to deny each article with oath
Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception
That I do groan withal. Thou art to die.

DESDEMONA.
Then, Lord have mercy on me!

OTHELLO.
I say, amen.

DESDEMONA.
And have you mercy too! — I never did
Offend you in my life; never lov'd Cassio
But with such general warranty of heaven
As I might love: I never gave him token.

OTHELLO.
By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in 's hand.
O perjur'd woman! thou dost stone my heart,
And mak'st me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice:
I saw the handkerchief.

DESDEMONA.
He found it then;
I never gave it him: — send for him hither;
Let him confess a truth.

OTHELLO.
He hath confess'd.

DESDEMONA.
What, my lord?

OTHELLO.
That he hath us'd thee.

DESDEMONA.
How? unlawfully?

OTHELLO.
Ay.

DESDEMONA.
He will not say so.

OTHELLO.
No, his mouth is stopp'd;
Honest Iago hath ta'en order for't.

DESDEMONA.
O, my fear interprets! — What, is he dead?

OTHELLO.
Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge
Had stomach for them all.

DESDEMONA.
Alas, he is betray'd, and I undone!

OTHELLO.
Out, strumpet! Weep'st thou for him to my face?

DESDEMONA.
O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not!

OTHELLO.
Down, strumpet!

DESDEMONA.
Kill me to-morrow; let me live to-night!

OTHELLO.
Nay, if you strive, —

DESDEMONA.
But half an hour!

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How does Desdemona react on her deathbed?




Quiz