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THE TRAGEDY OF OTHELLO THE MOOR OF VENICE

ACT I

SCENE I. Venice. A Street.

Enter RODERIGO and IAGO.

ROD. Tush, never tell me; I take it much unkindly
That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse

As if the strings were thine, should'st know of this.

IAGO. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me!

If ever I did dream of such a matter,

Abhor me.

ROD. 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 bombast 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;1
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

1.e. very near being married.

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ACT I
Sc. I

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 be-lee'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.1
ROD. 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

I would not follow him, then.

To love the Moor.
ROD.
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, doating 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,

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:

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For, when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart

1 Ensign, Standard-bearer.

40

Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;
And such a one do I profess myself. For, Sir,

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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.
ROD. 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 colour.

ROD. 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.

ROD. 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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80

BRABANTIO appears above, at a window.

BRA. What is the reason of this terrible summons?

What is the matter there?

ROD. Signior, is all your family within?

IAGO. Are your doors lock'd?

BRA.
Why, wherefore ask you this?
IAGO. 'Zounds, Sir, you're robb'd! for shame, put on
your gown!

Your heart is burst, you have lost half
your soul:
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise!
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the Devil will make a grandsire of you.
Arise, I say.
BRA.
What, have you lost your wits?
ROD. Most reverend Signior, do you know my voice?
BRA. Not I: what are you?
ROD. My name is Roderigo.

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ACT I
Sc. I

ACT I

Sc. I

BRA.

The worser welcome:

I have charg'd thee not to haunt about my doors:
In honest plainness thou hast heard me say

My daughter is not for thee; and now, in madness,
Being full of supper and distempering draughts,
Upon malicious bravery, dost thou come

To start my quiet.

ROD. Sir, Sir, Sir-
BRA.

But thou must needs be sure

power

My spirit and my place have in them
To make this bitter to thee.

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ROD.
Patience, good Sir.
BRA. What tell'st thou me of robbing? this is Venice;
My house is not a grange.
ROD.
Most grave Brabantio,
In simple and pure soul I come to you.
IAGO. 'Zounds, Sir, you are one of those that will not
serve God, if the Devil bid you. Because we come to
do you service, and you think we are ruffians, you '11
have your daughter cover'd with a Barbary horse;
you'll have your nephews neigh to you; you'll have
coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans.

BRA. What profane wretch art thou?

IAGO. I am one, Sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

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BRA. Thou art a villain.

IAGO.

You are a Senator.

BRA. This thou shalt answer: I know thee, Roderigo.
ROD. Sir, I will answer any thing. But, I beseech you,

If't be your pleasure and most wise consent,
As partly I find it is, that your fair daughter,
At this odd-even and dull watch o' the night,
Transported, with no worse nor better guard
But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor-
If this be known to you, and your allowance,
We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs;
But, if you know not this, my manners tell me
We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe

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That, from the sense of all civility,

I thus would play and trifle with your Reverence.
Your daughter (if you have not given her leave)
I say again, hath made a gross revolt;

Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes,

In an extravagant and wheeling1 stranger

Of here and every where. Straight satisfy yourself:

If she be in her chamber or your house,
Let loose on me the justice of the State
For thus deluding you.
BRA.
Strike on the tinder, ho!
Give me a taper! call up all my people!
This accident is not unlike
my dream:
Belief of it oppresses me already.
Light, I say! light!

Lead to the Sagittary the raised search;

And there will I be with him. So, farewell.

130

IAGO.

[exit above.
Farewell; for I must leave you:
It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place,
To be produc'd (as, if I stay, I shall)
Against the Moor: for, I do know, the State
(However this may gall him with some check)
Cannot with safety cast him; for he's embark'd
With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,

Which even now stand in act, that, for their souls, 150
Another of his fathom they have none
To lead their business: in which regard,
Though I do hate him as I do Hell-pains,
Yet, for necessity of present life,

I must shew out a flag and sign of love,

Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find

him,

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[exit.

Enter, below, BRABANTIO, and Servants with torches.

BRA. It is too true an evil: gone she is ;

And what's to come of my despised time
Is nought but bitterness. Now, Roderigo,
Where didst thou see her? O unhappy Girl!
With the Moor, say'st thou? Who would be a father!
How didst thou know 'twas she? O, she deceives me
1 vagrant and inconstant.

160

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