List iconOthello:
Act 1, scene 1
List icon

Act 1, scene 1



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

In Venice, at the start of Othello, the soldier Iago announces his hatred for his commander, Othello, a Moor. Othello has…

Act 1, scene 1

In the streets of Venice, Iago tells Roderigo of his hatred for Othello, who has given Cassio the lieutenancy that…

Act 1, scene 2

Iago warns Othello about Brabantio’s anger, but Othello is confident in his own strength and in his love for Desdemona….

Act 1, scene 3

The duke and the senators discuss the movements of the Turkish fleet and conclude that its target is, indeed, Cyprus….

Act 2, scene 1

The Turkish fleet is destroyed in a storm, while Cassio and then Desdemona, Emilia, and Iago arrive safely at Cyprus….

Act 2, scene 2

Othello proclaims a public celebration.

Act 2, scene 3

Iago gets Cassio drunk, making it easy for Roderigo to provoke Cassio into a brawl, first with Roderigo, then with…

Act 3, scene 1

Cassio arrives with musicians to honor Othello and Desdemona. As Iago has recommended, Cassio asks Emilia to arrange a meeting…

Act 3, scene 2

Othello prepares to tour Cyprus’s fortifications.

Act 3, scene 3

Desdemona’s interview with Cassio is cut short by the arrival of Othello. Cassio leaves hastily in order to avoid speaking…

Act 3, scene 4

Desdemona, still actively seeking to have Cassio reinstated, is worried about the loss of her handkerchief. Her anxiety about it…

Act 4, scene 1

Iago continues to torment Othello with vivid descriptions of Desdemona’s alleged sexual activity. Othello falls into an epileptic seizure. Iago…

Act 4, scene 2

Othello questions Emilia about Cassio and Desdemona’s relationship, acting as if Emilia is the mistress of a brothel and Desdemona…

Act 4, scene 3

Othello, walking with Lodovico, orders Desdemona to go to bed and to dismiss Emilia. As Emilia helps Desdemona prepare for…

Act 5, scene 1

In the dark streets of Cyprus, Roderigo attacks Cassio, who, uninjured, stabs Roderigo. Iago then wounds Cassio in the leg….

Act 5, scene 2

Desdemona is asleep in bed when Othello enters. He kisses her and wakes her and once again charges her with…

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Scene 1
Enter Roderigo and Iago.

 Tush, never tell me! I take it much unkindly
 That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
 As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.
IAGO ’Sblood, but you’ll not hear me!
5 If ever I did dream of such a matter,
 Abhor me.
 Thou toldst me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
IAGO Despise me
 If I do not. Three great ones of the city,
10 In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
 Off-capped to him; and, by the faith of man,
 I know my price, I am worth no worse a place.
 But he, as loving his own pride and purposes,
 Evades them with a bombast circumstance,
15 Horribly stuffed with epithets of war,
 And in conclusion,
 Nonsuits my mediators. For “Certes,” says he,
 “I have already chose my officer.”
 And what was he?
20 Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
 One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
 A fellow almost damned in a fair wife,

ACT 1. SC. 1

 That never set a squadron in the field,
 Nor the division of a battle knows
25 More than a spinster—unless the bookish theoric,
 Wherein the togèd consuls can propose
 As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice
 Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had th’ election;
 And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof
30 At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds
 Christened and heathen, must be beleed and
 By debitor and creditor. This countercaster,
 He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
35 And I, God bless the mark, his Moorship’s ancient.
 By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
 Why, there’s no remedy. ’Tis the curse of service.
 Preferment goes by letter and affection,
 And not by old gradation, where each second
40 Stood heir to th’ first. Now, sir, be judge yourself
 Whether I in any just term am affined
 To love the Moor.
 I would not follow him, then.
IAGO  O, sir, content you.
45 I follow him to serve my turn upon him.
 We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
 Cannot be truly followed. You shall mark
 Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave
 That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
50 Wears out his time, much like his master’s ass,
 For naught but provender, and when he’s old,
 Whip me such honest knaves! Others there are
 Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty,
55 Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,

ACT 1. SC. 1

 And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
 Do well thrive by them; and when they have lined
 their coats,
 Do themselves homage. These fellows have some
60 soul,
 And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir,
 It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
 Were I the Moor I would not be Iago.
 In following him, I follow but myself.
65 Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
 But seeming so for my peculiar end.
 For when my outward action doth demonstrate
 The native act and figure of my heart
 In complement extern, ’tis not long after
70 But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
 For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.
 What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe
 If he can carry ’t thus!
IAGO  Call up her father.
75 Rouse him. Make after him, poison his delight,
 Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,
 And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
 Plague him with flies. Though that his joy be joy,
 Yet throw such chances of vexation on ’t
80 As it may lose some color.
 Here is her father’s house. I’ll call aloud.
 Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell
 As when, by night and negligence, the fire
 Is spied in populous cities.
85 What ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!
 Awake! What ho, Brabantio! Thieves, thieves!

ACT 1. SC. 1

 Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags!
 Thieves, thieves!

Enter Brabantio, above.

 What is the reason of this terrible summons?
90 What is the matter there?
 Signior, is all your family within?
 Are your doors locked?
BRABANTIO  Why, wherefore ask you this?
 Zounds, sir, you’re robbed. For shame, put on your
95 gown!
 Your heart is burst. You have lost half your soul.
 Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
 Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise!
 Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
100 Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you.
 Arise, I say!
BRABANTIO  What, have you lost your wits?
 Most reverend signior, do you know my voice?
BRABANTIO Not I. What are you?
105 My name is Roderigo.
BRABANTIO  The worser welcome.
 I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors.
 In honest plainness thou hast heard me say
 My daughter is not for thee. And now in madness,
110 Being full of supper and distemp’ring draughts,
 Upon malicious bravery dost thou come
 To start my quiet.
RODERIGO  Sir, sir, sir—
BRABANTIO But thou must needs be sure

ACT 1. SC. 1

115 My spirit and my place have in them power
 To make this bitter to thee.
 Patience, good sir.
BRABANTIO  What tell’st thou me of robbing?
 This is Venice. My house is not a grange.
RODERIGO 120Most grave Brabantio,
 In simple and pure soul I come to you—
IAGO Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not
 serve God if the devil bid you. Because we come to
 do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll
125 have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse,
 you’ll have your nephews neigh to you, you’ll have
 coursers for cousins and jennets for germans.
BRABANTIO What profane wretch art thou?
IAGO I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter
130 and the Moor are now making the beast with
 two backs.
BRABANTIO Thou art a villain.
IAGO You are a senator.
 This thou shalt answer. I know thee, Roderigo.
135 Sir, I will answer anything. But I beseech you,
 [If ’t be your pleasure and most wise consent—
 As partly I find it is—that your fair daughter,
 At this odd-even and dull watch o’ th’ night,
 Transported with no worse nor better guard
140 But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
 To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor:
 If this be known to you, and your allowance,
 We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs.
 But if you know not this, my manners tell me
145 We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe
 That from the sense of all civility
 I thus would play and trifle with your Reverence.

ACT 1. SC. 1

 Your daughter, if you have not given her leave,
 I say again, hath made a gross revolt,
150 Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes
 In an extravagant and wheeling stranger
 Of here and everywhere. Straight satisfy yourself.]
 If she be in her chamber or your house,
 Let loose on me the justice of the state
155 For thus deluding you.
BRABANTIO Strike on the tinder, ho!
 Give me a taper. Call up all my people.
 This accident is not unlike my dream.
 Belief of it oppresses me already.
160 Light, I say, light!He exits.
IAGO, to Roderigo  Farewell, for I must leave you.
 It seems not meet nor wholesome to my place
 To be producted, as if I stay I shall,
 Against the Moor. For I do know the state,
165 However this may gall him with some check,
 Cannot with safety cast him, for he’s embarked
 With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,
 Which even now stands in act, that, for their souls,
 Another of his fathom they have none
170 To lead their business. In which regard,
 Though I do hate him as I do hell pains,
 Yet, for necessity of present life,
 I must show out a flag and sign of love—
 Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find
175 him,
 Lead to the Sagittary the raisèd search,
 And there will I be with him. So, farewell.He exits.

Enter Brabantio in his nightgown, with Servants and

 It is too true an evil. Gone she is,
 And what’s to come of my despisèd time

ACT 1. SC. 1

180 Is naught but bitterness.—Now, Roderigo,
 Where didst thou see her?—O, unhappy girl!—
 With the Moor, sayst thou?—Who would be a
 How didst thou know ’twas she?—O, she deceives
185 me
 Past thought!—What said she to you?—Get more
 Raise all my kindred.—Are they married, think
RODERIGO 190Truly, I think they are.
 O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood!
 Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters’ minds
 By what you see them act.—Is there not charms
 By which the property of youth and maidhood
195 May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo,
 Of some such thing?
RODERIGO  Yes, sir, I have indeed.
 Call up my brother.—O, would you had had her!—
 Some one way, some another.—Do you know
200 Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?
 I think I can discover him, if you please
 To get good guard and go along with me.
 Pray you lead on. At every house I’ll call.
 I may command at most.—Get weapons, ho!
205 And raise some special officers of night.—
 On, good Roderigo. I will deserve your pains.
They exit.