List iconOthelloList icon

Othello
Act 2, scene 3

Synopsis:

Contents

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…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 3
Enter Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Attendants.

OTHELLO 
 Good Michael, look you to the guard tonight.
 Let’s teach ourselves that honorable stop
 Not to outsport discretion.
CASSIO 
 Iago hath direction what to do,
5 But notwithstanding, with my personal eye
 Will I look to ’t.

83
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

OTHELLO  Iago is most honest.
 Michael, goodnight. Tomorrow with your earliest
 Let me have speech with you. To Desdemona. Come,
10 my dear love,
 The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue;
 That profit’s yet to come ’tween me and you.—
 Goodnight.
Othello and Desdemona exit, with Attendants.

Enter Iago.

CASSIO 
 Welcome, Iago. We must to the watch.
IAGO 15Not this hour, lieutenant. ’Tis not yet ten o’ th’
 clock. Our general cast us thus early for the love of
 his Desdemona—who let us not therefore blame;
 he hath not yet made wanton the night with her, and
 she is sport for Jove.
CASSIO 20She’s a most exquisite lady.
IAGO And, I’ll warrant her, full of game.
CASSIO Indeed, she’s a most fresh and delicate
 creature.
IAGO What an eye she has! Methinks it sounds a parley
25 to provocation.
CASSIO An inviting eye, and yet methinks right
 modest.
IAGO And when she speaks, is it not an alarum to love?
CASSIO She is indeed perfection.
IAGO 30Well, happiness to their sheets! Come, lieutenant,
 I have a stoup of wine; and here without are a
 brace of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a
 measure to the health of black Othello.
CASSIO Not tonight, good Iago. I have very poor and
35 unhappy brains for drinking. I could well wish
 courtesy would invent some other custom of
 entertainment.
IAGO O, they are our friends! But one cup; I’ll drink
 for you.

85
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

CASSIO 40I have drunk but one cup tonight, and that was
 craftily qualified too, and behold what innovation it
 makes here. I am unfortunate in the infirmity and
 dare not task my weakness with any more.
IAGO What, man! ’Tis a night of revels. The gallants
45 desire it.
CASSIO Where are they?
IAGO Here at the door. I pray you, call them in.
CASSIO I’ll do ’t, but it dislikes me.He exits.
IAGO 
 If I can fasten but one cup upon him
50 With that which he hath drunk tonight already,
 He’ll be as full of quarrel and offense
 As my young mistress’ dog. Now my sick fool
 Roderigo,
 Whom love hath turned almost the wrong side out,
55 To Desdemona hath tonight caroused
 Potations pottle-deep; and he’s to watch.
 Three else of Cyprus, noble swelling spirits
 That hold their honors in a wary distance,
 The very elements of this warlike isle,
60 Have I tonight flustered with flowing cups;
 And they watch too. Now, ’mongst this flock of
 drunkards
 Am I to put our Cassio in some action
 That may offend the isle. But here they come.
65 If consequence do but approve my dream,
 My boat sails freely both with wind and stream.

Enter Cassio, Montano, and Gentlemen, followed by
Servants with wine.


CASSIO ’Fore God, they have given me a rouse
 already.
MONTANO Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I
70 am a soldier.
IAGO Some wine, ho!

87
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

Sings. And let me the cannikin clink, clink,
 And let me the cannikin clink.
  A soldier’s a man,
75  O, man’s life’s but a span,
 Why, then, let a soldier drink.

 Some wine, boys!
CASSIO ’Fore God, an excellent song.
IAGO I learned it in England, where indeed they are
80 most potent in potting. Your Dane, your German,
 and your swag-bellied Hollander—drink, ho!—are
 nothing to your English.
CASSIO Is your Englishman so exquisite in his
 drinking?
IAGO 85Why, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane
 dead drunk. He sweats not to overthrow your Almain.
 He gives your Hollander a vomit ere the next
 pottle can be filled.
CASSIO To the health of our general!
MONTANO 90I am for it, lieutenant, and I’ll do you
 justice.
IAGO O sweet England!
Sings. King Stephen was and-a worthy peer,
  His breeches cost him but a crown;
95 He held them sixpence all too dear;
  With that he called the tailor lown.
 He was a wight of high renown,
  And thou art but of low degree;
 ’Tis pride that pulls the country down,
100  Then take thy auld cloak about thee.

 Some wine, ho!
CASSIO ’Fore God, this is a more exquisite song than
 the other!
IAGO Will you hear ’t again?
CASSIO 105No, for I hold him to be unworthy of his place
 that does those things. Well, God’s above all; and
 there be souls must be saved, [and there be souls
 must not be saved.]

89
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

IAGO It’s true, good lieutenant.
CASSIO 110For mine own part—no offense to the General,
 nor any man of quality—I hope to be saved.
IAGO And so do I too, lieutenant.
CASSIO Ay, but, by your leave, not before me. The
 Lieutenant is to be saved before the Ancient. Let’s
115 have no more of this. Let’s to our affairs. God
 forgive us our sins! Gentlemen, let’s look to our
 business. Do not think, gentlemen, I am drunk. This
 is my ancient, this is my right hand, and this is my
 left. I am not drunk now. I can stand well enough,
120 and I speak well enough.
GENTLEMEN Excellent well.
CASSIO Why, very well then. You must not think then
 that I am drunk.He exits.
MONTANO 
 To th’ platform, masters. Come, let’s set the watch.
Gentlemen exit.
IAGO, to Montano 
125 You see this fellow that is gone before?
 He’s a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
 And give direction; and do but see his vice.
 ’Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
 The one as long as th’ other. ’Tis pity of him.
130 I fear the trust Othello puts him in,
 On some odd time of his infirmity,
 Will shake this island.
MONTANO  But is he often thus?
IAGO 
 ’Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep.
135 He’ll watch the horologe a double set
 If drink rock not his cradle.
MONTANO  It were well
 The General were put in mind of it.
 Perhaps he sees it not, or his good nature
140 Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio
 And looks not on his evils. Is not this true?

91
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

Enter Roderigo.

IAGO, aside to Roderigo How now, Roderigo?
 I pray you, after the Lieutenant, go.
Roderigo exits.
MONTANO 
 And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor
145 Should hazard such a place as his own second
 With one of an engraffed infirmity.
 It were an honest action to say so
 To the Moor.
IAGO  Not I, for this fair island.
150 I do love Cassio well and would do much
 To cure him of this evil—“Help, help!” within.
 But hark! What noise?

Enter Cassio, pursuing Roderigo.

CASSIO Zounds, you rogue, you rascal!
MONTANO What’s the matter, lieutenant?
CASSIO 155A knave teach me my duty? I’ll beat the knave
 into a twiggen bottle.
RODERIGO Beat me?
CASSIO Dost thou prate, rogue?He hits Roderigo.
MONTANO Nay, good lieutenant. I pray you, sir, hold
160 your hand.
CASSIO Let me go, sir, or I’ll knock you o’er the
 mazard.
MONTANO Come, come, you’re drunk.
CASSIO Drunk?
They fight.
IAGO, aside to Roderigo 
165 Away, I say! Go out and cry a mutiny.
Roderigo exits.
 Nay, good lieutenant.—God’s will, gentlemen!—
 Help, ho! Lieutenant—sir—Montano—sir
 Help, masters!—Here’s a goodly watch indeed!
A bell is rung.

93
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Who’s that which rings the bell? Diablo, ho!
170 The town will rise. God’s will, lieutenant, hold!
 You will be shamed forever.

Enter Othello and Attendants.

OTHELLO 
 What is the matter here?
MONTANO  Zounds, I bleed
 still.
175 I am hurt to th’ death. He dies!He attacks Cassio.
OTHELLO  Hold, for your lives!
IAGO 
 Hold, ho! Lieutenant—sir—Montano—
 gentlemen—
 Have you forgot all sense of place and duty?
180 Hold! The General speaks to you. Hold, for shame!
OTHELLO 
 Why, how now, ho! From whence ariseth this?
 Are we turned Turks, and to ourselves do that
 Which heaven hath forbid the Ottomites?
 For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl!
185 He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
 Holds his soul light; he dies upon his motion.
 Silence that dreadful bell. It frights the isle
 From her propriety. What is the matter, masters?
 Honest Iago, that looks dead with grieving,
190 Speak. Who began this? On thy love, I charge thee.
IAGO 
 I do not know. Friends all but now, even now,
 In quarter and in terms like bride and groom
 Divesting them for bed; and then but now,
 As if some planet had unwitted men,
195 Swords out, and tilting one at other’s breast,
 In opposition bloody. I cannot speak
 Any beginning to this peevish odds,
 And would in action glorious I had lost
 Those legs that brought me to a part of it!

95
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

OTHELLO 
200 How comes it, Michael, you are thus forgot?
CASSIO 
 I pray you pardon me; I cannot speak.
OTHELLO 
 Worthy Montano, you were wont be civil.
 The gravity and stillness of your youth
 The world hath noted. And your name is great
205 In mouths of wisest censure. What’s the matter
 That you unlace your reputation thus,
 And spend your rich opinion for the name
 Of a night-brawler? Give me answer to it.
MONTANO 
 Worthy Othello, I am hurt to danger.
210 Your officer Iago can inform you,
 While I spare speech, which something now offends
 me,
 Of all that I do know; nor know I aught
 By me that’s said or done amiss this night,
215 Unless self-charity be sometimes a vice,
 And to defend ourselves it be a sin
 When violence assails us.
OTHELLO  Now, by heaven,
 My blood begins my safer guides to rule,
220 And passion, having my best judgment collied,
 Assays to lead the way. Zounds, if I stir,
 Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
 Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
 How this foul rout began, who set it on;
225 And he that is approved in this offense,
 Though he had twinned with me, both at a birth,
 Shall lose me. What, in a town of war
 Yet wild, the people’s hearts brimful of fear,
 To manage private and domestic quarrel,
230 In night, and on the court and guard of safety?
 ’Tis monstrous. Iago, who began ’t?

97
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

MONTANO 
 If partially affined, or leagued in office,
 Thou dost deliver more or less than truth,
 Thou art no soldier.
IAGO 235 Touch me not so near.
 I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
 Than it should do offense to Michael Cassio.
 Yet I persuade myself, to speak the truth
 Shall nothing wrong him. Thus it is, general:
240 Montano and myself being in speech,
 There comes a fellow crying out for help,
 And Cassio following him with determined sword
 To execute upon him. Sir, this gentleman
Pointing to Montano.
 Steps in to Cassio and entreats his pause.
245 Myself the crying fellow did pursue,
 Lest by his clamor—as it so fell out—
 The town might fall in fright. He, swift of foot,
 Outran my purpose, and I returned the rather
 For that I heard the clink and fall of swords
250 And Cassio high in oath, which till tonight
 I ne’er might say before. When I came back—
 For this was brief—I found them close together
 At blow and thrust, even as again they were
 When you yourself did part them.
255 More of this matter cannot I report.
 But men are men; the best sometimes forget.
 Though Cassio did some little wrong to him,
 As men in rage strike those that wish them best,
 Yet surely Cassio, I believe, received
260 From him that fled some strange indignity
 Which patience could not pass.
OTHELLO  I know, Iago,
 Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
 Making it light to Cassio.—Cassio, I love thee,
265 But nevermore be officer of mine.

99
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

Enter Desdemona attended.

 Look if my gentle love be not raised up!
 I’ll make thee an example.
DESDEMONA 
 What is the matter, dear?
OTHELLO  All’s well now,
270 sweeting.
 Come away to bed. To Montano. Sir, for your hurts,
 Myself will be your surgeon.—Lead him off.
Montano is led off.
 Iago, look with care about the town
 And silence those whom this vile brawl
275 distracted.—
 Come, Desdemona. ’Tis the soldier’s life
 To have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.
All but Iago and Cassio exit.
IAGO What, are you hurt, lieutenant?
CASSIO Ay, past all surgery.
IAGO 280Marry, God forbid!
CASSIO Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have
 lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of
 myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation,
 Iago, my reputation!
IAGO 285As I am an honest man, I thought you had
 received some bodily wound. There is more sense
 in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and
 most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost
 without deserving. You have lost no reputation at
290 all, unless you repute yourself such a loser. What,
 man, there are ways to recover the General again!
 You are but now cast in his mood—a punishment
 more in policy than in malice, even so as one would
 beat his offenseless dog to affright an imperious
295 lion. Sue to him again and he’s yours.
CASSIO I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive
 so good a commander with so slight, so drunken,

101
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

 and so indiscreet an officer. [Drunk? And speak
 parrot? And squabble? Swagger? Swear? And discourse
300 fustian with one’s own shadow?] O thou
 invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be
 known by, let us call thee devil!
IAGO What was he that you followed with your sword?
 What had he done to you?
CASSIO 305I know not.
IAGO Is ’t possible?
CASSIO I remember a mass of things, but nothing
 distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O
 God, that men should put an enemy in their
310 mouths to steal away their brains! That we should
 with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause transform
 ourselves into beasts!
IAGO Why, but you are now well enough. How came
 you thus recovered?
CASSIO 315It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give
 place to the devil wrath. One unperfectness shows
 me another, to make me frankly despise myself.
IAGO Come, you are too severe a moraler. As the time,
 the place, and the condition of this country stands,
320 I could heartily wish this had not so befallen. But
 since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
CASSIO I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell
 me I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as
 Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be
325 now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently
 a beast! O, strange! Every inordinate cup is unblessed,
 and the ingredient is a devil.
IAGO Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature,
 if it be well used. Exclaim no more against it.
330 And, good lieutenant, I think you think I love you.
CASSIO I have well approved it, sir.—I drunk!
IAGO You or any man living may be drunk at a time,
 man. I’ll tell you what you shall do. Our general’s

103
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

 wife is now the general: I may say so in this
335 respect, for that he hath devoted and given up
 himself to the contemplation, mark, and denotement
 of her parts and graces. Confess yourself
 freely to her. Importune her help to put you in your
 place again. She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so
340 blessed a disposition she holds it a vice in her
 goodness not to do more than she is requested. This
 broken joint between you and her husband entreat
 her to splinter, and, my fortunes against any lay
 worth naming, this crack of your love shall grow
345 stronger than it was before.
CASSIO You advise me well.
IAGO I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest
 kindness.
CASSIO I think it freely; and betimes in the morning I
350 will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake
 for me. I am desperate of my fortunes if they check
 me here.
IAGO You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant. I
 must to the watch.
CASSIO 355Good night, honest Iago.Cassio exits.
IAGO 
 And what’s he, then, that says I play the villain,
 When this advice is free I give and honest,
 Probal to thinking, and indeed the course
 To win the Moor again? For ’tis most easy
360 Th’ inclining Desdemona to subdue
 In any honest suit. She’s framed as fruitful
 As the free elements. And then for her
 To win the Moor—were ’t to renounce his baptism,
 All seals and symbols of redeemèd sin—
365 His soul is so enfettered to her love
 That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
 Even as her appetite shall play the god
 With his weak function. How am I then a villain

105
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

 To counsel Cassio to this parallel course
370 Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
 When devils will the blackest sins put on,
 They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
 As I do now. For whiles this honest fool
 Plies Desdemona to repair his fortune,
375 And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
 I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear:
 That she repeals him for her body’s lust;
 And by how much she strives to do him good,
 She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
380 So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
 And out of her own goodness make the net
 That shall enmesh them all.

Enter Roderigo.

 How now, Roderigo?
RODERIGO I do follow here in the chase, not like a
385 hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My
 money is almost spent, I have been tonight exceedingly
 well cudgeled, and I think the issue will be I
 shall have so much experience for my pains, and so,
 with no money at all and a little more wit, return
390 again to Venice.
IAGO 
 How poor are they that have not patience!
 What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
 Thou know’st we work by wit and not by witchcraft,
 And wit depends on dilatory time.
395 Does ’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee,
 And thou, by that small hurt, hast cashiered Cassio.
 Though other things grow fair against the sun,
 Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe.
 Content thyself awhile. By th’ Mass, ’tis morning!
400 Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
 Retire thee; go where thou art billeted.

107
Othello
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Away, I say! Thou shalt know more hereafter.
 Nay, get thee gone.Roderigo exits.
 Two things are to be done.
405 My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress.
 I’ll set her on.
 Myself the while to draw the Moor apart
 And bring him jump when he may Cassio find
 Soliciting his wife. Ay, that’s the way.
410 Dull not device by coldness and delay.
He exits.