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ACT I SCENE II Another street. 
 Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants with torches. 
IAGO Though in the trade of war I have slain men, 
 Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience 
 To do no contrived murder: I lack iniquity 
 Sometimes to do me service: nine or ten times
 I had thought to have yerk'd him here under the ribs. 
OTHELLO 'Tis better as it is. 
IAGO Nay, but he prated, 
 And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms 
 Against your honour
 That, with the little godliness I have, 
 I did full hard forbear him. But, I pray you, sir,  10
 Are you fast married? Be assured of this, 
 That the magnifico is much beloved, 
 And hath in his effect a voice potential
 As double as the duke's: he will divorce you; 
 Or put upon you what restraint and grievance 
 The law, with all his might to enforce it on, 
 Will give him cable. 
OTHELLO Let him do his spite:
 My services which I have done the signiory 
 Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know,-- 
 Which, when I know that boasting is an honour,  20
 I shall promulgate--I fetch my life and being 
 From men of royal siege, and my demerits
 May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune 
 As this that I have reach'd: for know, Iago, 
 But that I love the gentle Desdemona, 
 I would not my unhoused free condition 
 Put into circumscription and confine
 For the sea's worth. But, look! what lights come yond? 
IAGO Those are the raised father and his friends: 
 You were best go in. 
OTHELLO Not I I must be found:  30
 My parts, my title and my perfect soul
 Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they? 
IAGO By Janus, I think no. 
 Enter CASSIO, and certain Officers with torches. 
OTHELLO The servants of the duke, and my lieutenant. 
 The goodness of the night upon you, friends! 
 What is the news?
CASSIO The duke does greet you, general, 
 And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance, 
 Even on the instant. 
OTHELLO What is the matter, think you? 
CASSIO Something from Cyprus as I may divine:
 It is a business of some heat: the galleys  40
 Have sent a dozen sequent messengers 

This very night at one another's heels,
 And many of the consuls, raised and met, 
 Are at the duke's already: you have been
 hotly call'd for; 
 When, being not at your lodging to be found, 
 The senate hath sent about three several guests 
 To search you out. 
OTHELLO 'Tis well I am found by you.
 I will but spend a word here in the house, 
 And go with you. 
CASSIO Ancient, what makes he here? 
IAGO 'Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land carack:  50
 If it prove lawful prize, he's made for ever.
CASSIO I do not understand. 
IAGO He's married. 
CASSIO To who? 
 Re-enter OTHELLO. 
IAGO Marry, to--Come, captain, will you go? 
OTHELLO Have with you.
CASSIO Here comes another troop to seek for you. 
IAGO It is Brabantio. General, be advised; 
 He comes to bad intent. 
 Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers with torches and weapons. 
OTHELLO Holla! stand there! 
RODERIGO Signior, it is the Moor.
BRABANTIO Down with him, thief! 
 They draw on both sides 
IAGO You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you. 
OTHELLO Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them. 
 Good signior, you shall more command with years  60
 Than with your weapons.
BRABANTIO O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd my daughter? 
 Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her; 
 For I'll refer me to all things of sense, 
 If she in chains of magic were not bound, 
 Whether a maid so tender, fair and happy,
 So opposite to marriage that she shunned 
 The wealthy curled darlings of our nation, 
 Would ever have, to incur a general mock, 
 Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom  70
 Of such a thing as thou, to fear, not to delight.
 Judge me the world, if 'tis not gross in sense 
 That thou hast practised on her with foul charms, 
 Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals 
 That weaken motion: I'll have't disputed on; 
 'Tis probable and palpable to thinking.
 I therefore apprehend and do attach thee 
 For an abuser of the world, a practiser 
 Of arts inhibited and out of warrant. 
 Lay hold upon him: if he do resist,  80
 Subdue him at his peril.
OTHELLO Hold your hands, 
 Both you of my inclining, and the rest: 
 Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it 
 Without a prompter. Where will you that I go 
 To answer this your charge?
BRABANTIO To prison, till fit time 
 Of law and course of direct session 
 Call thee to answer. 
OTHELLO What if I do obey? 
 How may the duke be therewith satisfied,
 Whose messengers are here about my side, 
 Upon some present business of the state  90
 To bring me to him? 
First Officer 'Tis true, most worthy signior; 
 The duke's in council and your noble self,
 I am sure, is sent for. 
BRABANTIO How! the duke in council! 
 In this time of the night! Bring him away: 
 Mine's not an idle cause: the duke himself, 
 Or any of my brothers of the state,
 Cannot but feel this wrong as 'twere their own; 
 For if such actions may have passage free, 
 Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be. 

Othello, Act 1, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 2

From Othello. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard.

Abbreviations. — A.-S. = Anglo-Saxon: M.E. = Middle English (from the 13th to the 15th century) ; Fr. = French ; Ger. = German ; Gr. = Greek ; Cf. = compare (Lat. confer) ; Abbott refers to the excellent Shakespearean Grammar of Dr. Abbott; Schmidt, to Dr. Schmidt's invaluable Shakespeare Lexicon.


2. Stuff, the essential point.

5. Yerk'd, to strike. Derived possibly from jerk.

9. I scarcely tolerated him.

12. The magnifico— i.e., Brabantio— has practically twice as much influence as the Doge.

17. Cable, from capere to hold; through Low Latin caplum, a holding-rope.

19. To know. Act. inf. for passive.

21. I am of high birth.

22. Demerits. A negative word, used in both senses. Cf. "Opinion shall of his demerits rob Cominius." — Coriolanus, i.I. 276.

26, 27. I, now free, would not tie myself.

31. Parts, disposition or talents.

41. Sequent, one after another.

43. Consuls, counsellors.

50. Carack, or carrack, O.F. carraque, a ship of burden.

52. To who? In the Elizabethan period there was much confusion respecting the case-forms of the interrogative and. other pronouns.

53. Marry, by the Virgin Mary. The pun is probably intentional, though Shakespeare was dropping the habit.

60. Your words, as those of an old man, will do more than your weapons.

71. Fear and delight. Possibly nouns, but more probably, as Abbott, "Thou a thing (fit) to fear, not to delight."

73. The use of philtres, or drugs, to produce feelings of love, was common among the ancients.

75. Readings vary between weaken and waken. The latter is the easier to understand, and therefore less likely to have been altered.

76. Probable, in its more strict sense, admitting proof. Palpable, that can be felt.

82. Of my inclining, who lean towards me.

83. Cue, derived from French queue, a tail. A stage word, the end of one speech waited for by the actor who has to carry on the dialogue without interrupting.

91. The officer addresses Brabantio.

98. If we tolerate such an offence against our dignity, we shall soon lose it.

How to cite the explanatory notes:

Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1892. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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