home contact


Please see the bottom of this page for full explanatory notes.
ACT III SCENE IV Before the castle. 
 Enter DESDEMONA, EMILIA, and Clown. 
DESDEMONA Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant Cassio lies? 
Clown I dare not say he lies any where. 
DESDEMONA Why, man? 
Clown He's a soldier, and for one to say a soldier lies,
 is stabbing. 
DESDEMONA Go to: where lodges he? 
Clown To tell you where he lodges, is to tell you where I lie. 
DESDEMONA Can any thing be made of this?  10
Clown I know not where he lodges, and for me to devise a
 lodging and say he lies here or he lies there, were 
 to lie in mine own throat. 
DESDEMONA Can you inquire him out, and be edified by report? 
Clown I will catechise the world for him; that is, make 
 questions, and by them answer.
DESDEMONA Seek him, bid him come hither: tell him I have 
 moved my lord on his behalf, and hope all will be well.  20
Clown To do this is within the compass of man's wit: and 
 therefore I will attempt the doing it. 
DESDEMONA Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?
EMILIA I know not, madam. 
DESDEMONA Believe me, I had rather have lost my purse 
 Full of crusadoes: and, but my noble Moor 
 Is true of mind and made of no such baseness 
 As jealous creatures are, it were enough
 To put him to ill thinking. 
EMILIA Is he not jealous? 
DESDEMONA Who, he? I think the sun where he was born  30
 Drew all such humours from him. 
EMILIA Look, where he comes.
DESDEMONA I will not leave him now till Cassio 
 Be call'd to him. 
 Enter OTHELLO. 
 How is't with you, my lord 
OTHELLO Well, my good lady. 
 O, hardness to dissemble!--
 How do you, Desdemona? 
DESDEMONA Well, my good lord. 
OTHELLO Give me your hand: this hand is moist, my lady. 
DESDEMONA It yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow. 
OTHELLO This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart:
 Hot, hot, and moist: this hand of yours requires 
 A sequester from liberty, fasting and prayer,  40
 Much castigation, exercise devout; 
 For here's a young and sweating devil here, 
 That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand,
 A frank one. 
DESDEMONA You may, indeed, say so; 
 For 'twas that hand that gave away my heart. 
OTHELLO A liberal hand: the hearts of old gave hands; 
 But our new heraldry is hands, not hearts.
DESDEMONA I cannot speak of this. Come now, your promise. 
OTHELLO What promise, chuck? 
DESDEMONA I have sent to bid Cassio come speak with you.  50
OTHELLO I have a salt and sorry rheum offends me; 
 Lend me thy handkerchief.
DESDEMONA Here, my lord. 
OTHELLO That which I gave you. 
DESDEMONA I have it not about me. 
DESDEMONA No, indeed, my lord.
OTHELLO That is a fault. 
 That handkerchief 
 Did an Egyptian to my mother give; 
 She was a charmer, and could almost read 
 The thoughts of people: she told her, while
 she kept it, 
 'Twould make her amiable and subdue my father 
 Entirely to her love, but if she lost it  60
 Or made gift of it, my father's eye 
 Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt
 After new fancies: she, dying, gave it me; 
 And bid me, when my fate would have me wive, 
 To give it her. I did so: and take heed on't; 
 Make it a darling like your precious eye; 
 To lose't or give't away were such perdition
 As nothing else could match. 
DESDEMONA Is't possible? 
OTHELLO 'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it: 
 A sibyl, that had number'd in the world  70
 The sun to course two hundred compasses,
 In her prophetic fury sew'd the work; 
 The worms were hallow'd that did breed the silk; 
 And it was dyed in mummy which the skilful 
 Conserved of maidens' hearts. 
DESDEMONA Indeed! is't true?
OTHELLO Most veritable; therefore look to't well. 
DESDEMONA Then would to God that I had never seen't! 
OTHELLO Ha! wherefore? 
DESDEMONA Why do you speak so startingly and rash? 
OTHELLO Is't lost? is't gone? speak, is it out  80
 o' the way? 
DESDEMONA Heaven bless us! 
OTHELLO Say you? 
DESDEMONA It is not lost; but what an if it were? 
DESDEMONA I say, it is not lost. 
OTHELLO Fetch't, let me see't. 
DESDEMONA Why, so I can, sir, but I will not now. 
 This is a trick to put me from my suit: 
 Pray you, let Cassio be received again.
OTHELLO Fetch me the handkerchief: my mind misgives. 
DESDEMONA Come, come;  90
 You'll never meet a more sufficient man. 
OTHELLO The handkerchief! 
DESDEMONA I pray, talk me of Cassio.
OTHELLO The handkerchief! 
DESDEMONA A man that all his time 
 Hath founded his good fortunes on your love, 
 Shared dangers with you,-- 
OTHELLO The handkerchief!
DESDEMONA In sooth, you are to blame. 
EMILIA Is not this man jealous? 
DESDEMONA I ne'er saw this before.  100
 Sure, there's some wonder in this handkerchief:
 I am most unhappy in the loss of it. 
EMILIA 'Tis not a year or two shows us a man: 
 They are all but stomachs, and we all but food; 

To eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
 They belch us. Look you, Cassio and my husband!
 Enter CASSIO and IAGO. 
IAGO There is no other way; 'tis she must do't: 
 And, lo, the happiness! go, and importune her. 
DESDEMONA How now, good Cassio! what's the news with you? 
CASSIO Madam, my former suit: I do beseech you  110
 That by your virtuous means I may again
 Exist, and be a member of his love 
 Whom I with all the office of my heart 
 Entirely honour: I would not be delay'd. 
 If my offence be of such mortal kind 
 That nor my service past, nor present sorrows,
 Nor purposed merit in futurity, 
 Can ransom me into his love again, 
 But to know so must be my benefit; 
 So shall I clothe me in a forced content,  120
 And shut myself up in some other course,
 To fortune's alms. 
DESDEMONA Alas, thrice-gentle Cassio! 
 My advocation is not now in tune; 
 My lord is not my lord; nor should I know him, 
 Were he in favour as in humour alter'd.
 So help me every spirit sanctified, 
 As I have spoken for you all my best 
 And stood within the blank of his displeasure 
 For my free speech! you must awhile be patient: 
 What I can do I will; and more I will  130
 Than for myself I dare: let that suffice you. 
IAGO Is my lord angry? 
EMILIA He went hence but now, 
 And certainly in strange unquietness. 
IAGO Can he be angry? I have seen the cannon,
 When it hath blown his ranks into the air, 
 And, like the devil, from his very arm 
 Puff'd his own brother:--and can he be angry? 
 Something of moment then: I will go meet him: 
 There's matter in't indeed, if he be angry.
DESDEMONA I prithee, do so. 
 Exit IAGO. 
 Something, sure, of state,  140
 Either from Venice, or some unhatch'd practise 
 Made demonstrable here in Cyprus to him, 
 Hath puddled his clear spirit: and in such cases
 Men's natures wrangle with inferior things, 
 Though great ones are their object. 'Tis even so; 
 For let our finger ache, and it indues 
 Our other healthful members even to that sense 
 Of pain: nay, we must think men are not gods,
 Nor of them look for such observances 
 As fits the bridal. Beshrew me much, Emilia,  150
 I was, unhandsome warrior as I am, 
 Arraigning his unkindness with my soul; 
 But now I find I had suborn'd the witness,
 And he's indicted falsely. 
EMILIA Pray heaven it be state-matters, as you think, 
 And no conception nor no jealous toy 
 Concerning you. 
DESDEMONA Alas the day! I never gave him cause.
EMILIA But jealous souls will not be answer'd so; 
 They are not ever jealous for the cause,  160
 But jealous for they are jealous: 'tis a monster 
 Begot upon itself, born on itself. 
DESDEMONA Heaven keep that monster from Othello's mind!
EMILIA Lady, amen. 
DESDEMONA I will go seek him. Cassio, walk hereabout: 
 If I do find him fit, I'll move your suit 
 And seek to effect it to my uttermost. 
CASSIO I humbly thank your ladyship.
 Enter BIANCA. 
BIANCA Save you, friend Cassio! 
CASSIO What make you from home? 
 How is it with you, my most fair Bianca?  170
 I' faith, sweet love, I was coming to your house. 
BIANCA And I was going to your lodging, Cassio.
 What, keep a week away? seven days and nights? 
 Eight score eight hours? and lovers' absent hours, 
 More tedious than the dial eight score times? 
 O weary reckoning! 
CASSIO Pardon me, Bianca:
 I have this while with leaden thoughts been press'd: 
 But I shall, in a more continuate time, 
 Strike off this score of absence. Sweet Bianca, 
 Giving her DESDEMONA's handkerchief. 
 Take me this work out. 
BIANCA O Cassio, whence came this?  180
 This is some token from a newer friend: 
 To the felt absence now I feel a cause: 
 Is't come to this? Well, well. 
CASSIO Go to, woman! 
 Throw your vile guesses in the devil's teeth,
 From whence you have them. You are jealous now 
 That this is from some mistress, some remembrance: 
 No, in good troth, Bianca. 
BIANCA Why, whose is it? 
CASSIO I know not, sweet: I found it in my chamber.
 I like the work well: ere it be demanded-- 
 As like enough it will--I'ld have it copied:  190
 Take it, and do't; and leave me for this time. 
BIANCA Leave you! wherefore? 
CASSIO I do attend here on the general;
 And think it no addition, nor my wish, 
 To have him see me woman'd. 
BIANCA Why, I pray you? 
CASSIO Not that I love you not. 
BIANCA But that you do not love me.
 I pray you, bring me on the way a little, 
 And say if I shall see you soon at night. 
CASSIO 'Tis but a little way that I can bring you; 
 For I attend here: but I'll see you soon.  200
BIANCA 'Tis very good; I must be circumstanced.

Othello, Act 4, Scene 1


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 4

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.


22. The doing it. The frequently precedes a transitive participle. Cf, "In the delaying death." - Measure for Measure, iv.2.172. "The locking up the spirits." - Cymbeline, i.5.41. It is still so used.

26. Crusadoes, a Portuguese coin bearing a cross. But, unless.

38. Argues, proves.

40. Sequester, seclusion from liberty. The word originally meant a trustee, to whom property was devised.

49. Chuck, chicken.

51.Rheum, a flowing discharge. Often tears.

66. Darling, a diminutive, little dear.

73. Fury, madness.

83. An. Shakespeare's an is nothing but the Scandinavian use of the common word and. When the force of an grew misty, it was reduplicated by the addition of if; so that an if = if-if. SKEAT.

119, sq. Simply to know that would be a satisfaction, and I would make the best of it.

123. Advocation, pleading.

128. Blank, centre of target.

143. Puddled, make muddy.

152. With my soul as judge. Suborn. Especially used of providing a perjured witness.

157. Toy, idle fancy.

178. Continuate, unbroken by other business.

194. And think it will not add to my benefit, nor is it my desire, to be seen with a woman.

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) < >.


Related Articles

 Lectures on Othello: Play Construction and the Suffering and Murder of Desdemona
 Lectures on Othello: Othello's Jealousy
 The Moral Enigma of Shakespeare's Othello
 Othello as Tragic Hero
 Stage History of Othello
 Othello: Plot Summary
 Othello: Q & A
 Quotes from Othello

 How to Pronounce the Names in Othello
 Iago Character Introduction
 Othello Character Introduction
 Desdemona Character Introduction
 Iago's Motives: The Relationship Between Othello and Iago
 Shakespeare and Race: The Relationship Between Othello and Desdemona

 Othello: Essay Topics
 Shakespeare's Sources for Othello
 The Problem of Time in Othello