List iconOthello:
Act 4, scene 1
List icon

Act 4, 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…

Include links to:

Quill icon
Scene 1
Enter Othello and Iago.

 Will you think so?
OTHELLO  Think so, Iago?
IAGO  What,
 To kiss in private?
OTHELLO 5 An unauthorized kiss!
 Or to be naked with her friend in bed
 An hour or more, not meaning any harm?
 Naked in bed, Iago, and not mean harm?
 It is hypocrisy against the devil!
10 They that mean virtuously, and yet do so,
 The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt
 If they do nothing, ’tis a venial slip.
 But if I give my wife a handkerchief—
OTHELLO 15What then?
 Why then, ’tis hers, my lord, and being hers,
 She may, I think, bestow ’t on any man.
 She is protectress of her honor, too.
 May she give that?

ACT 4. SC. 1

20 Her honor is an essence that’s not seen;
 They have it very oft that have it not.
 But for the handkerchief—
 By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it.
 Thou saidst—O, it comes o’er my memory
25 As doth the raven o’er the infectious house,
 Boding to all—he had my handkerchief.
 Ay, what of that?
OTHELLO  That’s not so good now.
IAGO  What
30 If I had said I had seen him do you wrong?
 Or heard him say (as knaves be such abroad,
 Who having, by their own importunate suit
 Or voluntary dotage of some mistress,
 Convincèd or supplied them, cannot choose
35 But they must blab)—
OTHELLO  Hath he said anything?
 He hath, my lord, but be you well assured,
 No more than he’ll unswear.
OTHELLO  What hath he said?
40 Faith, that he did—I know not what he did.
OTHELLO What? What?
OTHELLO  With her?
IAGO  With her—on her—what you will.
OTHELLO 45Lie with her? Lie on her? We say “lie on her”
 when they belie her. Lie with her—Zounds, that’s
 fulsome! Handkerchief—confessions—handkerchief.
 [To confess and be hanged for his labor.
 First to be hanged and then to confess—I tremble
50 at it. Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing
 passion without some instruction. It is not

ACT 4. SC. 1

 words that shakes me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and
 lips—is ’t possible? Confess—handkerchief—O,
 devil!]He falls in a trance.
IAGO 55Work on,
 My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are
 And many worthy and chaste dames even thus,
 All guiltless, meet reproach.—What ho! My lord!
60 My lord, I say. Othello!

Enter Cassio.

 How now, Cassio?
CASSIO What’s the matter?
 My lord is fall’n into an epilepsy.
 This is his second fit. He had one yesterday.
65 Rub him about the temples.
IAGO  No, forbear.
 The lethargy must have his quiet course.
 If not, he foams at mouth, and by and by
 Breaks out to savage madness. Look, he stirs.
70 Do you withdraw yourself a little while.
 He will recover straight. When he is gone,
 I would on great occasion speak with you.
Cassio exits.
 How is it, general? Have you not hurt your head?
 Dost thou mock me?
IAGO 75 I mock you not, by heaven!
 Would you would bear your fortune like a man!
 A hornèd man’s a monster and a beast.
 There’s many a beast, then, in a populous city,
 And many a civil monster.

ACT 4. SC. 1

80 Did he confess it?
IAGO  Good sir, be a man!
 Think every bearded fellow that’s but yoked
 May draw with you. There’s millions now alive
 That nightly lie in those unproper beds
85 Which they dare swear peculiar. Your case is better.
 O, ’tis the spite of hell, the fiend’s arch-mock,
 To lip a wanton in a secure couch
 And to suppose her chaste! No, let me know,
 And knowing what I am, I know what she shall be.
OTHELLO 90O, thou art wise, ’tis certain.
IAGO Stand you awhile apart.
 Confine yourself but in a patient list.
 Whilst you were here, o’erwhelmèd with your grief—
 A passion most unsuiting such a man—
95 Cassio came hither. I shifted him away
 And laid good ’scuses upon your ecstasy,
 Bade him anon return and here speak with me,
 The which he promised. Do but encave yourself,
 And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns
100 That dwell in every region of his face.
 For I will make him tell the tale anew—
 Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when
 He hath and is again to cope your wife.
 I say but mark his gesture. Marry, patience,
105 Or I shall say you’re all in all in spleen,
 And nothing of a man.
OTHELLO  Dost thou hear, Iago,
 I will be found most cunning in my patience,
 But (dost thou hear?) most bloody.
IAGO 110 That’s not amiss.
 But yet keep time in all. Will you withdraw?
Othello withdraws.
 Now will I question Cassio of Bianca,
 A huswife that by selling her desires
 Buys herself bread and clothes. It is a creature

ACT 4. SC. 1

115 That dotes on Cassio—as ’tis the strumpet’s plague
 To beguile many and be beguiled by one.
 He, when he hears of her, cannot restrain
 From the excess of laughter. Here he comes.

Enter Cassio.

 As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad,
120 And his unbookish jealousy must construe
 Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behaviors
 Quite in the wrong.—How do you, lieutenant?
 The worser that you give me the addition
 Whose want even kills me.
125 Ply Desdemona well, and you are sure on ’t.
 Now, if this suit lay in Bianca’s power,
 How quickly should you speed!
CASSIO, laughing  Alas, poor caitiff!
OTHELLO Look how he laughs already!
IAGO 130I never knew woman love man so.
 Alas, poor rogue, I think i’ faith she loves me.
 Now he denies it faintly and laughs it out.
 Do you hear, Cassio?
OTHELLO  Now he importunes him
135 To tell it o’er. Go to, well said, well said.
 She gives it out that you shall marry her.
 Do you intend it?
CASSIO  Ha, ha, ha!
 Do you triumph, Roman? Do you triumph?
CASSIO 140I marry her? What, a customer? Prithee bear
 some charity to my wit! Do not think it so unwholesome.
 Ha, ha, ha!

ACT 4. SC. 1

OTHELLO So, so, so, so. They laugh that wins.
 Faith, the cry goes that you marry her.
CASSIO 145Prithee say true!
IAGO I am a very villain else.
OTHELLO Have you scored me? Well.
CASSIO This is the monkey’s own giving out. She is
 persuaded I will marry her out of her own love and
150 flattery, not out of my promise.
 Iago beckons me. Now he begins the story.
CASSIO She was here even now. She haunts me in
 every place. I was the other day talking on the
 sea-bank with certain Venetians, and thither comes
155 the bauble. By this hand, she falls thus about my
OTHELLO Crying, “O dear Cassio,” as it were; his
 gesture imports it.
CASSIO So hangs and lolls and weeps upon me, so
160 shakes and pulls me. Ha, ha, ha!
OTHELLO Now he tells how she plucked him to my
 chamber.—O, I see that nose of yours, but not that
 dog I shall throw it to.
CASSIO Well, I must leave her company.
IAGO 165Before me, look where she comes.

Enter Bianca.

CASSIO ’Tis such another fitchew—marry, a perfumed
 one!—What do you mean by this haunting
 of me?
BIANCA Let the devil and his dam haunt you! What did
170 you mean by that same handkerchief you gave me
 even now? I was a fine fool to take it! I must take
 out the work? A likely piece of work, that you
 should find it in your chamber and know not who

ACT 4. SC. 1

 left it there! This is some minx’s token, and I must
175 take out the work! There, give it your hobbyhorse.
 Wheresoever you had it, I’ll take out no work on ’t.
 How now, my sweet Bianca? How now? How now?
 By heaven, that should be my handkerchief!
BIANCA If you’ll come to supper tonight you may. If
180 you will not, come when you are next prepared
 for.She exits.
IAGO After her, after her!
CASSIO Faith, I must. She’ll rail in the streets else.
IAGO Will you sup there?
CASSIO 185Faith, I intend so.
IAGO Well, I may chance to see you, for I would very
 fain speak with you.
CASSIO Prithee come. Will you?
IAGO Go to; say no more.Cassio exits.
OTHELLO, coming forward 190How shall I murder him,
IAGO Did you perceive how he laughed at his vice?
IAGO And did you see the handkerchief?
OTHELLO 195Was that mine?
[IAGO Yours, by this hand! And to see how he prizes
 the foolish woman your wife! She gave it him, and
 he hath giv’n it his whore.]
OTHELLO I would have him nine years a-killing! A fine
200 woman, a fair woman, a sweet woman!
IAGO Nay, you must forget that.
OTHELLO Ay, let her rot and perish and be damned
 tonight, for she shall not live. No, my heart is turned
 to stone. I strike it, and it hurts my hand. O, the
205 world hath not a sweeter creature! She might lie by
 an emperor’s side and command him tasks.

ACT 4. SC. 1

IAGO Nay, that’s not your way.
OTHELLO Hang her, I do but say what she is! So
 delicate with her needle, an admirable musician—
210 O, she will sing the savageness out of a bear!
 Of so high and plenteous wit and invention!
IAGO She’s the worse for all this.
OTHELLO O, a thousand, a thousand times!—And then
 of so gentle a condition!
IAGO 215Ay, too gentle.
OTHELLO Nay, that’s certain. But yet the pity of it,
 Iago! O, Iago, the pity of it, Iago!
IAGO If you are so fond over her iniquity, give her
 patent to offend, for if it touch not you, it comes
220 near nobody.
OTHELLO I will chop her into messes! Cuckold me?
IAGO O, ’tis foul in her.
OTHELLO With mine officer!
IAGO That’s fouler.
OTHELLO 225Get me some poison, Iago, this night. I’ll not
 expostulate with her lest her body and beauty
 unprovide my mind again. This night, Iago.
IAGO Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed,
 even the bed she hath contaminated.
OTHELLO 230Good, good. The justice of it pleases. Very
IAGO And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker. You
 shall hear more by midnight.
 Excellent good.A trumpet sounds.
235 What trumpet is that same?
IAGO I warrant something from Venice.

Enter Lodovico, Desdemona, and Attendants.

 ’Tis Lodovico. This comes from the Duke.
 See, your wife’s with him.
LODOVICO God save you, worthy general.

ACT 4. SC. 1

OTHELLO 240With all my heart, sir.
 The Duke and the Senators of Venice greet you.
He hands Othello a paper.
 I kiss the instrument of their pleasures.
 And what’s the news, good cousin Lodovico?
 I am very glad to see you, signior.
245 Welcome to Cyprus.
 I thank you. How does Lieutenant Cassio?
IAGO Lives, sir.
 Cousin, there’s fall’n between him and my lord
 An unkind breach, but you shall make all well.
OTHELLO 250Are you sure of that?
OTHELLO, reading “This fail you not to do, as you
 He did not call; he’s busy in the paper.
255 Is there division ’twixt my lord and Cassio?
 A most unhappy one. I would do much
 T’ atone them, for the love I bear to Cassio.
OTHELLO Fire and brimstone!
OTHELLO 260Are you wise?
 What, is he angry?
LODOVICO  May be the letter moved him.
 For, as I think, they do command him home,
 Deputing Cassio in his government.
DESDEMONA 265By my troth, I am glad on ’t.

ACT 4. SC. 1

OTHELLO I am glad to see you mad.
DESDEMONA Why, sweet Othello!
OTHELLO, striking her 270Devil!
DESDEMONA I have not deserved this.
 My lord, this would not be believed in Venice,
 Though I should swear I saw ’t. ’Tis very much.
 Make her amends. She weeps.
OTHELLO 275 O, devil, devil!
 If that the Earth could teem with woman’s tears,
 Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile.
 Out of my sight!
DESDEMONA  I will not stay to offend you.
She begins to leave.
LODOVICO 280Truly an obedient lady.
 I do beseech your Lordship call her back.
OTHELLO Mistress.
DESDEMONA, turning back My lord?
OTHELLO What would you with her, sir?
LODOVICO 285Who, I, my lord?
 Ay, you did wish that I would make her turn.
 Sir, she can turn, and turn, and yet go on,
 And turn again. And she can weep, sir, weep.
 And she’s obedient, as you say, obedient.
290 Very obedient.—Proceed you in your tears.—
 Concerning this, sir—O, well-painted passion!—
 I am commanded home.—Get you away.
 I’ll send for you anon.—Sir, I obey the mandate
 And will return to Venice.—Hence, avaunt!
Desdemona exits.
295 Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight
 I do entreat that we may sup together.

ACT 4. SC. 1

 You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus. Goats and
 monkeys!He exits.
 Is this the noble Moor, whom our full senate
300 Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature
 Whom passion could not shake, whose solid virtue
 The shot of accident nor dart of chance
 Could neither graze nor pierce?
IAGO  He is much
305 changed.
 Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?
 He’s that he is. I may not breathe my censure
 What he might be. If what he might he is not,
 I would to heaven he were.
LODOVICO 310 What? Strike his wife?
 ’Faith, that was not so well. Yet would I knew
 That stroke would prove the worst.
LODOVICO  Is it his use?
 Or did the letters work upon his blood
315 And new-create this fault?
IAGO  Alas, alas!
 It is not honesty in me to speak
 What I have seen and known. You shall observe
320 And his own courses will denote him so
 That I may save my speech. Do but go after
 And mark how he continues.
 I am sorry that I am deceived in him.
They exit.