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Othello

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OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE ***

This etext was prepared by the Project Gutenberg Shakespeare Team, a team of about twenty Project Gutenberg volunteers.

OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE

by William Shakespeare

PERSONS REPRESENTED:

DUKE OF VENICE. BRABANTIO, a Senator. Other Senators. GRATIANO, Brother to Brabantio. LODOVICO, Kinsman to Brabantio. OTHELLO, a noble Moor, in the service of Venice. CASSIO, his Lieutenant. IAGO, his Ancient. RODERIGO, a Venetian Gentleman. MONTANO, Othello's predecessor in the government of Cyprus. CLOWN, Servant to Othello. Herald.

DESDEMONA, Daughter to Brabantio and Wife to Othello. EMILIA, Wife to Iago. BIANCA, Mistress to Cassio.

Officers, Gentlemen, Messenger, Musicians, Herald, Sailor, Attendants, &c.

SCENE: The First Act in Venice; during the rest of the Play at a Seaport in Cyprus.

ACT I.

SCENE I. Venice. A street.

[Enter Roderigo and Iago.]

RODERIGO. 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 will not hear me:-- If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.

RODERIGO. Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

IAGO. Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-capp'd 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 bumbast circumstance Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war: And, in conclusion, nonsuits My mediators: for, "Certes," says he, "I have already chose my officer." And what was he? Forsooth, a great arithmetician, One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife; That never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle knows More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric, Wherein the toged consuls can propose As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice, Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election: And I,--of whom his eyes had seen the proof At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds, Christian and heathen,--must be belee'd and calm'd By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster; He, in good time, must his lieutenant be, And I--God bless the mark! his Moorship's ancient.

RODERIGO. By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.

IAGO. Why, there's no remedy; 'tis the curse of service, Preferment goes by letter and affection, And not by old gradation, where each second Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself Whether I in any just term am affin'd To love the Moor.

RODERIGO. I would not follow him, then.

IAGO. O, sir, content you; I follow him to serve my turn upon him: We cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave That, doting on his own obsequious bondage, Wears out his time, much like his master's ass, For nought but provender; and when he's old, cashier'd: Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves; And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, Do well thrive by them, and when they have lin'd their coats, Do themselves homage: these fellows have some 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; 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 But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

RODERIGO. What a full fortune does the thick lips owe, If he can carry't thus!

IAGO. Call up her father, 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 changes of vexation on't As it may lose some color.

RODERIGO. Here is her father's house: I'll call aloud.

IAGO. Do; with like timorous accent and dire yell As when, by night and negligence, the fire Is spied in populous cities.

RODERIGO. What, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!

IAGO. Awake! what, ho, Brabantio! thieves! thieves! thieves! Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags! Thieves! thieves!

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