Othello

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No mans error becomes his own Law; nor obliges him to persist in it.
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Othello: The Moor of Venice is a play (ca. 1603) by William Shakespeare. The play is a concentrated, tightly constructed domestic tragedy, with almost no subplot for relief, centered on five or six central characters. Othello is commonly considered one of Shakespeare's great tragedies and one of his finest works.


Act I

  • For when my outward action doth demonstrate
    The native act and figure of my heart
    In compliment 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.
    • Iago, scene i


  • Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
    Is tupping your white ewe.
    • Iago, scene i


  • Your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.
    • Iago, scene i


  • Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
    • Othello, scene ii


  • My story being done,
    She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
    She swore, in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange;
    'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful.
    • Othello, scene iii


  • She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd,
    And I lov'd her that she did pity them.
    • Othello, scene iii


  • Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
    She has deceived her father, and may thee.
    • Brabantio, scene iii


  • Thus do I ever make my fool my purse.
    • Iago, scene iii


  • I hate the Moor;
    And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets
    He has done my office: I know not if 't be true;
    But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, will do as if for surety.
    • Iago, scene iii


  • The Moor is of a free and open nature,
    That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
    And will as tenderly be led by the nose
    As asses are.
    • Iago, scene iii


Act II

  • If after every tempest come such calms,
    May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
    • Othello, scene i


  • Knavery's plain face is never seen till us'd.
    • Iago, scene i


  • Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving.
    • Iago, scene iii


  • And what's he then that says I play the villain?
    When this advice is free I give and honest,
    Probal to thinking and indeed the course
    To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
    The inclining Desdemona to subdue
    In any honest suit: she's framed as fruitful
    As the free elements. And then for her
    To win the Moor — were't to renounce his baptism,
    All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
    His soul is so enfetter'd to her love,
    That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
    Even as her appetite shall play the god
    With his weak function. How am I then a villain
    To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
    Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
    When devils will the blackest sins put on,
    They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
    As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
    Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
    And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
    I'll pour this pestilence into his ear,
    That she repeals him for her body's lust;
    And by how much she strives to do him good,
    She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
    So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
    And out of her own goodness make the net
    That shall enmesh them all.
    • Iago, scene iii


Act III

  • Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
    But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
    Chaos is come again.
    • Othello, scene iii


  • Men should be what they seem;
    Or those that be not, would they might seem none!
    • Iago, scene iii


  • Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
    Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
    ’Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name,
    Robs me of that which not enriches him,
    And makes me poor indeed.
    • Iago, scene iii


  • O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;
    It is the green-ey'd monster which doth mock
    The meat it feeds on.
    • Iago, scene iii


  • Think'st thou I'd make a life of jealousy,
    To follow still the changes of the moon
    With fresh suspicions? No; to be once in doubt,
    Is once to be resolved.
    • Othello, scene iii


  • She did deceive her father, marrying you;
    And when she seem'd to shake and fear your looks
    She lov'd them most.
    • Iago, scene iii


  • Othello: I do not think but Desdemona's honest.
    Iago: Long live she so, and long live you to think so!
    Othello: And, yet, how nature erring from itself,—
    Iago: Ay, there's the point.
    • Scene iii


  • If she be false, O! then heaven mocks itself.
    • Othello, scene iii


  • O! now, for ever
    Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content!
    • Othello, scene iii


  • Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore,
    Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof;
    Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul,
    Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
    Than answer my wak'd wrath.
    • Othello, scene iii


  • 'Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
    They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
    They eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
    They belch us.
    • Emilia, scene iv


Act IV

  • Who would not make her husband a cuckold, to make him a monarch?!?
    • Emilia, scene iii


  • Heaven me such uses send,
    Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend.
    • Desdemona, scene iii


Act V

  • [He kisses her]
    O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
    Justice to break her sword. One more, one more!
    Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
    And love thee after. One more, and that's the last!
    So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
    But they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly;
    It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.
    • Othello, scene ii


  • What noise is this? Not dead — not yet quite dead?
    I that am cruel am yet merciful;
    I would not have the linger in thy pain
    So, so.
    • Othello, scene ii


  • I hold my peace, sir? no;
    No, I will speak as liberal as the north;
    Let heaven and men and devils, let them all,
    All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak.
    • Emilia, scene ii


  • Demand me nothing: what you know, you know:
    From this time forth I never will speak word.
    • Iago, scene ii


  • I pray you, in your letters,
    When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
    Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
    Nor set down aught in malice: then, must you speak
    Of one that lov'd not wisely but too well;
    Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
    Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,
    Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
    Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdu'd eyes
    Albeit unused to the melting mood,
    Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
    Their med'cinable gum. Set you down this;
    And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
    Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk
    Beat a Venetian and traduc'd the state,
    I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
    And smote him thus.
    • Othello, scene ii


  • I kissed thee ere I killed thee, no way but this,
    Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.
    • Othello, scene ii


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