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Oth. "Tis pitiful; but yet Iago knows,

That she with Cassio hath the act of shame

A thousand times committed: 14 Cassio confess'd it;
And she did gratify his amorous works

With that recognizance and pledge of love
Which I first gave her: I saw it in his hand:
It was a handkerchief, an antique token
My father gave my mother.

Emil. O, Heaven! O, heavenly powers!


Come, hold your peace.

Emil. "Twill out, 'twill out: I hold my peace, sir? no; 15

No, I will speak as liberal as the north: 16

14 Thousand times" is evidently put for an indefinite number, or, as Steevens remarks, "an aggravated term for many times." Still the expression infers a good deal as to the space of time occupied by the play. We have already seen that a considerable period must have elapsed after the arrival in Cyprus before the end of Act iii. See Act iii. sc. 3, note 32; also sc. 4, note 16. Near the close of the third scene in Act iii., the Moor says to Iago, -"Within these three days let me hear thee say, that Cassio's not alive." We may presume this period to have elapsed between Act iii. and Act v. It is not unlikely that Othello may suppose the wickedness between his wife and Cassio to have been in progress before his marriage, when Cassio "came a-wooing with him." This, of course, would greatly aggravate her offence in his eye, by causing the marriage to seem designed on her part but as a cover for her guilty indulgence. The play may be cited as a very remarkable instance of unity of interest making us irrespective of time; for until one goes into a critical scrutinizing of the scenes for that purpose, he never thinks but that the catastrophe occurs on the second night after the landing in Cyprus.


15 Thus the quarto of 1630. The folio gives the line thus: ""Twill out, 'twill out: I peace?"


16 The three originals have each a several reading in this line; the first quarto giving it thus: "I'll be in speaking liberal as the air;" the second, thus : « I'll be in speaking liberal as the north." It is not easy to choose between the readings. Some modern editions have a fourth reading made up from the folio and first quarto thus: "No, I will speak as liberal as the air.” — Of course liberal means free.


Let heaven, and men, and devils, let them all,
All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak.
Iago. Be wise, and get you home.

Emil. I will not.

[IAGO offers to stab her. Gra. Fie! your sword upon a woman?

Emil. O, thou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou

speak'st of,

I found by fortune, and did give my husband;
For often, with a solemn earnestness,

(More than, indeed, belong'd to such a trifle,)
He begg'd of me to steal it.


Villainous whore!

Emil. She give it Cassio! no, alas! I found it,

And I did give't my husband.


Filth, thou liest.

Emil. By Heaven, I do not; I do not, gentlemen. O, murderous coxcomb! what should such a fool Do with so good a wife ?17


[The Moor runs at IAGO, and is disarmed by MONTANO. IAGO stabs EMILIA, then runs out.18

Are there no stones in heaven, But what serve for the thunder ? 19-Precious vil


Gra. The woman falls sure, he has kill'd his


Emil. Ay, ay: O, lay me by my mistress' side! Gra. He's gone, but his wife's kill'd.

17 Thus the folio: both quartos have woman instead of wife.


18 The folio gives no stage-direction here: the quartos have, "The Moor runs at IAGO: IAGO kills his Wife." Montano's speech, just after, shows that Othello has been disarmed by him.


19 That is, "no bolts but what serve for the thunder." We have before had "thunder-stone" for thunder-bolt. See Cymbeline, Act iv. sc. 2, note 22.


Mon. "Tis a notorious villain.2



Take you this

Which I have here recover'd from the Moor.
Come, guard the door without: let him not pass,
But kill him rather. I'll after that same villain,
For 'tis a damned slave.


I am not valiant neither,

But every puny whipster gets my sword.
But why should honour outlive honesty?
Let it go all.


What did thy song bode, lady? Hark, canst thou hear me?! I will play the swan, And die in music: "Willow, willow, willow." Moor, she was chaste; she lov'd thee, cruel Moor: So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true; So speaking as I think, I die, I die.



Oth. I have another weapon in this chamber, It is a sword of Spain, the ice-brook's temper.2 O! here it is. - Uncle, I must come forth.

Gra. [Within.] If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear:

Thou hast no weapon, and perforce must suffer. Oth. Look in upon me, then, and speak with me, Or, naked as I am, I will assault thee.

20 Strictly speaking, Iago was not a notorious villain, as his villainy had not been known. Probably the meaning is, worthy to be notorious. See Act iv. sc. 2, note 13.


21 The way of tempering steel is by plunging it red-hot into cold water; and the colder the water, the higher the temper attained. Steevens has shown from Martial and Justin that in Spain the waters of the Salo and the Chalybes, being remarkable for coldness, were used in tempering swords. As Toledo blades were famous all over Europe in the Poet's time, he might easily learn that they were of "the ice-brook's temper" without going to classical authorities.


Re-enter GRATIANO.

Gra. What is the matter?


Behold! I have a weapon;

A better never did itself sustain


Upon a soldier's thigh: I have seen the day,
That with this little arm, and this good sword,
I have made my way through more impediments
Than twenty times your stop. But, O, vain boast!
Who can control his fate? 'tis not so now. -
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd;
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.
Do you go back dismay'd? 'tis a lost fear;
Man but a rush against Othello's breast,
And he retires. Where should Othello ?
Now, how dost thou look now? O, ill-starr'd wench!
Pale as thy smock! when we shall meet at compt,
This look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven,
And fiends will snatch at it.
Even like thy chastity. -
O cursed, cursed slave!

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Cold, cold, my girl;

Whip me, ye devils,

From the possession of this heavenly sight!
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur!
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!-
O, Desdemona! Desdemona! dead? O! O! O!23

22 This and the six following lines are not in the first quarto: the other quarto and the folio have them.


23 So both quartos: the folio gives the line thus: "O Desdemon! dead Desdemon: dead. Oh, Oh!" The folio repeatedly, in the course of the play, shortens Desdemona into Desdemon, and once or twice with good effect; but surely, in this case, the quarto reading is much the more impressive.



Enter LODOVICO, MONTANO, CASSIO carried in a Chair, 24 and Officers, with IAGO, prisoner.

Lod. Where is this rash and most unfortunate man?

Oth. That's he, that was Othello: here I am. Lod. Where is that viper? bring the villain forth. Oth. I look down towards his feet-but that's a

fable: 25

If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee.


Lod. Wrench his sword from him.

Iago. Oth. I am not sorry neither: I'd have thee live ; For, in my sense, 'tis happiness to die.

I bleed, sir; but not kill'd.

Lod. O, thou Othello! that wast once so good,

Fall'n in the practice of a damned slave,26

What shall be said to thee?


Why, any thing:

An honourable murderer, if you will;

For nought I did in hate, but all in honour.

Lod. This wretch hath part confess'd his villainy. Did you and he consent in Cassio's death?

Oth. Ay.

Cas. Dear general, I never gave you cause.
Oth. I do believe it, and I ask your pardon.
Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil,
Why he hath thus ensnar'd my soul and body?

24 The words, "carried in a Chair," are not in the stage-direction of the folio, and are taken from the quartos. The modern custom of the stage is, for Cassio to walk in lame and supported, with his leg bandaged.


25 Alluding to the devil's fabled cloven feet. Othello looks down towards Iago's feet, to see if he has that sign of being a devil, but then concludes that he may be just as much a devil with

out it.


20 Thus both quartos: the folio has cursed instead of damned.


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