List iconOthello:
Act 4, scene 2
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Act 4, scene 2



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 2
Enter Othello and Emilia.

OTHELLO You have seen nothing then?
 Nor ever heard, nor ever did suspect.
 Yes, you have seen Cassio and she together.
 But then I saw no harm, and then I heard
5 Each syllable that breath made up between them.
 What, did they never whisper?
EMILIA  Never, my lord.
OTHELLO Nor send you out o’ th’ way?
10 To fetch her fan, her gloves, her mask, nor nothing?
EMILIA Never, my lord.
OTHELLO That’s strange.
 I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
 Lay down my soul at stake. If you think other,
15 Remove your thought. It doth abuse your bosom.
 If any wretch have put this in your head,
 Let heaven requite it with the serpent’s curse,
 For if she be not honest, chaste, and true,
 There’s no man happy. The purest of their wives
20 Is foul as slander.
OTHELLO  Bid her come hither. Go.
Emilia exits.
 She says enough. Yet she’s a simple bawd
 That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore,
 A closet lock and key of villainous secrets.
25 And yet she’ll kneel and pray. I have seen her do ’t.

ACT 4. SC. 2

Enter Desdemona and Emilia.

DESDEMONA My lord, what is your will?
 Pray you, chuck, come hither.
DESDEMONA  What is your
30 Let me see your eyes. Look in my face.
DESDEMONA What horrible fancy’s this?
OTHELLO, to Emilia Some of your function,
 Leave procreants alone, and shut the door.
35 Cough, or cry “hem,” if anybody come.
 Your mystery, your mystery! Nay, dispatch.
Emilia exits.
DESDEMONA, kneeling 
 Upon my knees, what doth your speech import?
 I understand a fury in your words,
 But not the words.
OTHELLO 40Why? What art thou?
 Your wife, my lord, your true and loyal wife.
OTHELLO Come, swear it. Damn thyself,
 Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves
 Should fear to seize thee. Therefore be double
45 damned.
 Swear thou art honest.
DESDEMONA  Heaven doth truly know it.
 Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.
DESDEMONA, standing 
 To whom, my lord? With whom? How am I false?
50 Ah, Desdemon, away, away, away!
 Alas the heavy day, why do you weep?

ACT 4. SC. 2

 Am I the motive of these tears, my lord?
 If haply you my father do suspect
 An instrument of this your calling back,
55 Lay not your blame on me. If you have lost him,
 I have lost him too.
OTHELLO  Had it pleased heaven
 To try me with affliction, had they rained
 All kind of sores and shames on my bare head,
60 Steeped me in poverty to the very lips,
 Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes,
 I should have found in some place of my soul
 A drop of patience. But alas, to make me
 A fixèd figure for the time of scorn
65 To point his slow unmoving finger at—
 Yet could I bear that too, well, very well.
 But there where I have garnered up my heart,
 Where either I must live or bear no life,
 The fountain from the which my current runs
70 Or else dries up—to be discarded thence,
 Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
 To knot and gender in—turn thy complexion there,
 Patience, thou young and rose-lipped cherubin,
 Ay, there look grim as hell.
75 I hope my noble lord esteems me honest.
 O, ay, as summer flies are in the shambles,
 That quicken even with blowing! O thou weed,
 Who art so lovely fair, and smell’st so sweet
 That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst
80 ne’er been born!
 Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?
 Was this fair paper, this most goodly book,
 Made to write “whore” upon? What committed?
 [Committed? O thou public commoner,

ACT 4. SC. 2

85 I should make very forges of my cheeks
 That would to cinders burn up modesty,
 Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed?]
 Heaven stops the nose at it, and the moon winks;
 The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets
90 Is hushed within the hollow mine of earth
 And will not hear ’t. What committed?
 Impudent strumpet!
DESDEMONA By heaven, you do me wrong!
OTHELLO Are not you a strumpet?
DESDEMONA 95No, as I am a Christian!
 If to preserve this vessel for my lord
 From any other foul unlawful touch
 Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.
OTHELLO What, not a whore?
DESDEMONA 100No, as I shall be saved.
OTHELLO Is ’t possible?
 O, heaven forgive us!
OTHELLO  I cry you mercy, then.
 I took you for that cunning whore of Venice
105 That married with Othello.—You, mistress,

Enter Emilia.

 That have the office opposite to Saint Peter
 And keeps the gate of hell—you, you, ay, you!
 We have done our course. There’s money for your
 pains.He gives her money.
110 I pray you turn the key and keep our counsel.
He exits.
 Alas, what does this gentleman conceive?
 How do you, madam? How do you, my good lady?
DESDEMONA Faith, half asleep.
 Good madam, what’s the matter with my lord?

ACT 4. SC. 2

DESDEMONA 115With who?
EMILIA Why, with my lord, madam.
 Who is thy lord?
EMILIA  He that is yours, sweet lady.]
 I have none. Do not talk to me, Emilia.
120 I cannot weep, nor answers have I none
 But what should go by water. Prithee, tonight
 Lay on my bed my wedding sheets. Remember.
 And call thy husband hither.
EMILIA Here’s a change indeed.She exits.
125 ’Tis meet I should be used so, very meet.
 How have I been behaved that he might stick
 The small’st opinion on my least misuse?

Enter Iago and Emilia.

 What is your pleasure, madam? How is ’t with you?
 I cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes
130 Do it with gentle means and easy tasks.
 He might have chid me so, for, in good faith,
 I am a child to chiding.
IAGO What is the matter, lady?
 Alas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her,
135 Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her
 As true hearts cannot bear.
 Am I that name, Iago?
IAGO  What name, fair
140 Such as she said my lord did say I was.
 He called her “whore.” A beggar in his drink
 Could not have laid such terms upon his callet.

ACT 4. SC. 2

IAGO Why did he so?
 I do not know. I am sure I am none such.
145 Do not weep, do not weep! Alas the day!
 Hath she forsook so many noble matches,
 Her father and her country and her friends,
 To be called “whore”? Would it not make one
DESDEMONA 150It is my wretched fortune.
 Beshrew him for ’t! How comes this trick upon him?
DESDEMONA Nay, heaven doth know.
 I will be hanged if some eternal villain,
 Some busy and insinuating rogue,
155 Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
 Have not devised this slander. I will be hanged else.
 Fie, there is no such man. It is impossible.
 If any such there be, heaven pardon him.
 A halter pardon him, and hell gnaw his bones!
160 Why should he call her “whore”? Who keeps her
 What place? What time? What form? What
 The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave,
165 Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow.
 O heaven, that such companions thou ’dst unfold,
 And put in every honest hand a whip
 To lash the rascals naked through the world,
 Even from the east to th’ west!
IAGO 170 Speak within door.

ACT 4. SC. 2

 O, fie upon them! Some such squire he was
 That turned your wit the seamy side without
 And made you to suspect me with the Moor.
 You are a fool. Go to!
DESDEMONA 175 Alas, Iago,
 What shall I do to win my lord again?
 Good friend, go to him. For by this light of heaven,
 I know not how I lost him. She kneels. [Here I
180 If e’er my will did trespass ’gainst his love,
 Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,
 Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense
 Delighted them in any other form,
 Or that I do not yet, and ever did,
185 And ever will—though he do shake me off
 To beggarly divorcement—love him dearly,
 Comfort forswear me! She stands. Unkindness may
 do much,
 And his unkindness may defeat my life,
190 But never taint my love. I cannot say “whore”—
 It does abhor me now I speak the word.
 To do the act that might the addition earn,
 Not the world’s mass of vanity could make me.]
 I pray you be content. ’Tis but his humor.
195 The business of the state does him offense,
 And he does chide with you.
 If ’twere no other—
IAGO  It is but so, I warrant.
Trumpets sound.
 Hark how these instruments summon to supper.
200 The messengers of Venice stays the meat.
 Go in and weep not. All things shall be well.
Desdemona and Emilia exit.

ACT 4. SC. 2

Enter Roderigo.

 How now, Roderigo?
RODERIGO  I do not find
 That thou deal’st justly with me.
IAGO 205What in the contrary?
RODERIGO Every day thou daff’st me with some device,
 Iago, and rather, as it seems to me now,
 keep’st from me all conveniency than suppliest me
 with the least advantage of hope. I will indeed no
210 longer endure it. Nor am I yet persuaded to put up
 in peace what already I have foolishly suffered.
IAGO Will you hear me, Roderigo?
RODERIGO Faith, I have heard too much, and your
 words and performances are no kin together.
IAGO 215You charge me most unjustly.
RODERIGO With naught but truth. I have wasted myself
 out of my means. The jewels you have had
 from me to deliver to Desdemona would half have
 corrupted a votaress. You have told me she hath
220 received them, and returned me expectations and
 comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance, but I
 find none.
IAGO Well, go to! Very well.
RODERIGO “Very well.” “Go to!” I cannot go to, man,
225 nor ’tis not very well! By this hand, I say ’tis very
 scurvy, and begin to find myself fopped in it.
IAGO Very well.
RODERIGO I tell you ’tis not very well! I will make
 myself known to Desdemona. If she will return me
230 my jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my
 unlawful solicitation. If not, assure yourself I will
 seek satisfaction of you.
IAGO You have said now.
RODERIGO Ay, and said nothing but what I protest
235 intendment of doing.

ACT 4. SC. 2

IAGO Why, now I see there’s mettle in thee, and even
 from this instant do build on thee a better opinion
 than ever before. Give me thy hand, Roderigo.
 Thou hast taken against me a most just exception,
240 but yet I protest I have dealt most directly in thy
RODERIGO It hath not appeared.
IAGO I grant indeed it hath not appeared, and your
 suspicion is not without wit and judgment. But,
245 Roderigo, if thou hast that in thee indeed which I
 have greater reason to believe now than ever—I
 mean purpose, courage, and valor—this night show
 it. If thou the next night following enjoy not Desdemona,
 take me from this world with treachery and
250 devise engines for my life.
RODERIGO Well, what is it? Is it within reason and
IAGO Sir, there is especial commission come from
 Venice to depute Cassio in Othello’s place.
RODERIGO 255Is that true? Why, then, Othello and Desdemona
 return again to Venice.
IAGO O, no. He goes into Mauritania and takes away
 with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be
 lingered here by some accident—wherein none
260 can be so determinate as the removing of Cassio.
RODERIGO How do you mean, removing him?
IAGO Why, by making him uncapable of Othello’s
 place: knocking out his brains.
RODERIGO And that you would have me to do?
IAGO 265Ay, if you dare do yourself a profit and a right. He
 sups tonight with a harlotry, and thither will I go to
 him. He knows not yet of his honorable fortune. If
 you will watch his going thence (which I will
 fashion to fall out between twelve and one), you may
270 take him at your pleasure. I will be near to second
 your attempt, and he shall fall between us. Come,

ACT 4. SC. 3

 stand not amazed at it, but go along with me. I will
 show you such a necessity in his death that you shall
 think yourself bound to put it on him. It is now high
275 supper time, and the night grows to waste. About it!
RODERIGO I will hear further reason for this.
IAGO And you shall be satisfied.
They exit.