List iconOthello:
Act 2, scene 1
List icon

Act 2, 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 Montano and two Gentlemen.

 What from the cape can you discern at sea?
 Nothing at all. It is a high-wrought flood.
 I cannot ’twixt the heaven and the main
 Descry a sail.
5 Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud at land.
 A fuller blast ne’er shook our battlements.
 If it hath ruffianed so upon the sea,
 What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,
 Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?
10 A segregation of the Turkish fleet.
 For do but stand upon the foaming shore,
 The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds,
 The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous
15 Seems to cast water on the burning Bear
 And quench the guards of th’ ever-fixèd pole.
 I never did like molestation view
 On the enchafèd flood.
MONTANO If that the Turkish fleet
20 Be not ensheltered and embayed, they are drowned.
 It is impossible to bear it out.

ACT 2. SC. 1

Enter a third Gentleman.

THIRD GENTLEMAN News, lads! Our wars are done.
 The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks
 That their designment halts. A noble ship of Venice
25 Hath seen a grievous wrack and sufferance
 On most part of their fleet.
 How? Is this true?
THIRD GENTLEMAN  The ship is here put in,
 A Veronesa. Michael Cassio,
30 Lieutenant to the warlike Moor Othello,
 Is come on shore; the Moor himself at sea,
 And is in full commission here for Cyprus.
 I am glad on ’t. ’Tis a worthy governor.
 But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort
35 Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly
 And prays the Moor be safe, for they were parted
 With foul and violent tempest.
MONTANO  Pray heaven he be;
 For I have served him, and the man commands
40 Like a full soldier. Let’s to the seaside, ho!
 As well to see the vessel that’s come in
 As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
 [Even till we make the main and th’ aerial blue
 An indistinct regard.]
THIRD GENTLEMAN 45 Come, let’s do so;
 For every minute is expectancy
 Of more arrivance.

Enter Cassio.

 Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle,
 That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens

ACT 2. SC. 1

50 Give him defense against the elements,
 For I have lost him on a dangerous sea.
MONTANO Is he well shipped?
 His bark is stoutly timbered, and his pilot
 Of very expert and approved allowance;
55 Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
 Stand in bold cure.
Voices cry within. “A sail, a sail, a sail!”

Enter a Messenger.

CASSIO What noise?
 The town is empty; on the brow o’ th’ sea
 Stand ranks of people, and they cry “A sail!”
60 My hopes do shape him for the Governor.
A shot.
 They do discharge their shot of courtesy.
 Our friends, at least.
CASSIO  I pray you, sir, go forth,
 And give us truth who ’tis that is arrived.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 65I shall.He exits.
 But, good lieutenant, is your general wived?
 Most fortunately. He hath achieved a maid
 That paragons description and wild fame,
 One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
70 And in th’ essential vesture of creation
 Does tire the ingener.

Enter Second Gentleman.

 How now? Who has put in?

ACT 2. SC. 1

 ’Tis one Iago, ancient to the General.
 ’Has had most favorable and happy speed!
75 Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,
 The guttered rocks and congregated sands
 (Traitors ensteeped to clog the guiltless keel),
 As having sense of beauty, do omit
 Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
80 The divine Desdemona.
MONTANO  What is she?
 She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain,
 Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,
 Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
85 A sennight’s speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,
 And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,
 That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,
 Make love’s quick pants in Desdemona’s arms,
 Give renewed fire to our extincted spirits,
90 And bring all Cyprus comfort!

Enter Desdemona, Iago, Roderigo, and Emilia.

 O, behold,
 The riches of the ship is come on shore!
 You men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.
He kneels.
 Hail to thee, lady, and the grace of heaven,
95 Before, behind thee, and on every hand
 Enwheel thee round.He rises.
DESDEMONA  I thank you, valiant Cassio.
 What tidings can you tell of my lord?
 He is not yet arrived, nor know I aught
100 But that he’s well and will be shortly here.
 O, but I fear—How lost you company?

ACT 2. SC. 1

 The great contention of sea and skies
 Parted our fellowship.
Within “A sail, a sail!” A shot.
 But hark, a sail!
105 They give their greeting to the citadel.
 This likewise is a friend.
CASSIO  See for the news.
Second Gentleman exits.
 Good ancient, you are welcome. Welcome, mistress.
He kisses Emilia.
 Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
110 That I extend my manners. ’Tis my breeding
 That gives me this bold show of courtesy.
 Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
 As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
 You would have enough.
115 Alas, she has no speech!
IAGO  In faith, too much.
 I find it still when I have list to sleep.
 Marry, before your Ladyship, I grant,
 She puts her tongue a little in her heart
120 And chides with thinking.
EMILIA  You have little cause to say so.
IAGO Come on, come on! You are pictures out of door,
 bells in your parlors, wildcats in your kitchens,
 saints in your injuries, devils being offended, players
125 in your huswifery, and huswives in your beds.
DESDEMONA Oh, fie upon thee, slanderer.
 Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk.
 You rise to play, and go to bed to work.
 You shall not write my praise.

ACT 2. SC. 1

IAGO 130 No, let me not.
 What wouldst write of me if thou shouldst praise
 O, gentle lady, do not put me to ’t,
 For I am nothing if not critical.
135 Come on, assay.—There’s one gone to the harbor?
IAGO Ay, madam.
 I am not merry, but I do beguile
 The thing I am by seeming otherwise.—
 Come, how wouldst thou praise me?
IAGO 140I am about it, but indeed my invention comes
 from my pate as birdlime does from frieze: it
 plucks out brains and all. But my muse labors, and
 thus she is delivered:
 If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit,
145 The one’s for use, the other useth it.

 Well praised! How if she be black and witty?
 If she be black, and thereto have a wit,
 She’ll find a white that shall her blackness hit.

 Worse and worse.
EMILIA 150 How if fair and foolish?
 She never yet was foolish that was fair,
 For even her folly helped her to an heir.

DESDEMONA These are old fond paradoxes to make
 fools laugh i’ th’ alehouse. What miserable praise
155 hast thou for her that’s foul and foolish?
 There’s none so foul and foolish thereunto,
 But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.

ACT 2. SC. 1

DESDEMONA O heavy ignorance! Thou praisest the
 worst best. But what praise couldst thou bestow on
160 a deserving woman indeed, one that in the authority
 of her merit did justly put on the vouch of very
 malice itself?
 She that was ever fair and never proud,
 Had tongue at will and yet was never loud,
165 Never lacked gold and yet went never gay,
 Fled from her wish, and yet said “Now I may,”
 She that being angered, her revenge being nigh,
 Bade her wrong stay and her displeasure fly,
 She that in wisdom never was so frail
170 To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail,
 She that could think and ne’er disclose her mind,
 [See suitors following and not look behind,]
 She was a wight, if ever such wight were—

DESDEMONA To do what?
175 To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.
DESDEMONA O, most lame and impotent conclusion!
 —Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy
 husband.—How say you, Cassio? Is he not a most
 profane and liberal counselor?
CASSIO 180He speaks home, madam. You may relish him
 more in the soldier than in the scholar.
Cassio takes Desdemona’s hand.
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
185 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
190 kissed; an excellent courtesy! ’Tis so, indeed. Yet

ACT 2. SC. 1

 again your fingers to your lips? Would they were
 clyster pipes for your sake!Trumpets within.
 The Moor. I know his trumpet.
CASSIO ’Tis truly so.
DESDEMONA 195Let’s meet him and receive him.
CASSIO Lo, where he comes!

Enter Othello and Attendants.

 O, my fair warrior!
DESDEMONA  My dear Othello!
 It gives me wonder great as my content
200 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 wakened death,
 And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
 Olympus high, and duck again as low
205 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 210 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.
215 It stops me here; it is too much of joy.They kiss.
 And this, and this, the greatest discords be
 That e’er our hearts shall make!
IAGO, aside O, you are well tuned now,
 But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music,
220 As honest as I am.
OTHELLO Come. Let us to the castle.—
 News, friends! Our wars are done. The Turks are

ACT 2. SC. 1

 How does my old acquaintance of this isle?—
225 Honey, you shall be well desired 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 prithee, good Iago,
 Go to the bay and disembark my coffers.
230 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.
All but Iago and Roderigo exit.
IAGO, to a departing Attendant Do thou meet me presently
235 at the harbor. To Roderigo. 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 tonight
 watches on the court of guard. First, I must tell thee
240 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
245 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
250 satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness in favor, 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
255 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 eminent in the degree of

ACT 2. SC. 1

 this fortune as Cassio does? A knave very voluble, no
260 further conscionable than in putting on the mere
 form of civil and humane seeming for the better
 compassing 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
265 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
270 woman hath found him already.
RODERIGO I cannot believe that in her. She’s full of
 most blessed condition.
IAGO Blessed fig’s end! The wine she drinks is made of
 grapes. If she had been blessed, she would never
275 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
280 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, th’
285 incorporate conclusion. Pish! But, sir, be you ruled
 by me. I have brought you from Venice. Watch you
 tonight. 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
290 speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline, or from
 what other course you please, which the time shall
 more favorably minister.
IAGO Sir, he’s rash and very sudden in choler, and

ACT 2. SC. 1

295 haply may strike at you. Provoke him that he may,
 for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to
 mutiny, whose qualification shall come into no
 true taste again but by the displanting of Cassio. So
 shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by
300 the means I shall then have to prefer them, and the
 impediment most profitably removed, without the
 which there were no expectation of our prosperity.
RODERIGO I will do this, if you can bring it to any
IAGO 305I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel. I
 must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.
RODERIGO Adieu.He exits.
 That Cassio loves her, I do well believe ’t.
 That she loves him, ’tis apt and of great credit.
310 The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
 Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,
 And I dare think he’ll prove to Desdemona
 A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too,
 Not out of absolute lust (though peradventure
315 I stand accountant for as great a sin)
 But partly led to diet my revenge
 For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
 Hath leaped into my seat—the thought whereof
 Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards,
320 And nothing can or shall content my soul
 Till I am evened with him, wife for wife,
 Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor
 At least into a jealousy so strong
 That judgment cannot cure. Which thing to do,
325 If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace
 For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
 I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
 Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb
 (For I fear Cassio with my nightcap too),

ACT 2. SC. 2/3

330 Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me
 For making him egregiously an ass
 And practicing upon his peace and quiet
 Even to madness. ’Tis here, but yet confused.
 Knavery’s plain face is never seen till used.
He exits.