William Shakespeare: Othello, Act IV, Scene II
Enter Othello and Emilia
I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest, Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other, Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom. If any wretch have put this in your head, Let heaven requite it with the serpent's curse! For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true, There's no man happy; the purest of their wives Is foul as slander.
Bid her come hither: go.
She says enough; yet she's a simple bawd That cannot say as much. This is a subtle whore, A closet lock and key of villanous secrets And yet she'll kneel and pray; I have seen her do't.
Enter Desdemona with Emilia
Some of your function, mistress; Leave procreants alone and shut the door; Cough, or cry 'hem,' if any body come: Your mystery, your mystery: nay, dispatch.
Upon my knees, what doth your speech import? I understand a fury in your words. But not the words.
Come, swear it, damn thyself Lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves Should fear to seize thee: therefore be double damn'd: Swear thou art honest.
Alas the heavy day! Why do you weep? Am I the motive of these tears, my lord? If haply you my father do suspect An instrument of this your calling back, Lay not your blame on me: If you have lost him, Why, I have lost him too.
Had it pleased heaven To try me with affliction; had they rain'd All kinds of sores and shames on my bare head. Steep'd me in poverty to the very lips, Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes, I should have found in some place of my soul A drop of patience: but, alas, to make me A fixed figure for the time of scorn To point his slow unmoving finger at! Yet could I bear that too; well, very well: But there, where I have garner'd up my heart, Where either I must live, or bear no life; The fountain from the which my current runs, Or else dries up; to be discarded thence! Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads To knot and gender in! Turn thy complexion there, Patience, thou young and rose-lipp'd cherubin,— Ay, there, look grim as hell!
O, ay; as summer flies are in the shambles, That quicken even with blowing. O thou weed, Who art so lovely fair and smell'st so sweet That the sense aches at thee, Would thou hadst ne'er been born!
Was this fair paper, this most goodly book, Made to write 'whore' upon? What committed! Committed! O thou public commoner! I should make very forges of my cheeks, That would to cinders burn up modesty, Did I but speak thy deeds. What committed! Heaven stops the nose at it and the moon winks, The bawdy wind that kisses all it meets Is hush'd within the hollow mine of earth, And will not hear it. What committed! Impudent strumpet!
No, as I am a Christian: If to preserve this vessel for my lord From any other foul unlawful touch Be not to be a strumpet, I am none.
I cry you mercy, then: I took you for that cunning whore of Venice That married with Othello.
Raising his voice
You, mistress, That have the office opposite to Saint Peter, And keep the gate of hell!
You, you, ay, you! We have done our course; there's money for your pains: I pray you, turn the key and keep our counsel.
I have none: do not talk to me, Emilia; I cannot weep; nor answer have I none, But what should go by water. Prithee, tonight Lay on my bed my wedding sheets: remember; And call thy husband hither.
'Tis meet I should be used so, very meet. How have I been behaved, that he might stick The small'st opinion on my least misuse?
Re-enter Emilia with Iago
I cannot tell. Those that do teach young babes Do it with gentle means and easy tasks: He might have chid me so; for, in good faith, I am a child to chiding.
Alas, Iago, my lord hath so bewhored her. Thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her, As true hearts cannot bear.
Hath she forsook so many noble matches, Her father and her country and her friends, To be call'd whore? would it not make one weep?
I will be hang'd, if some eternal villain, Some busy and insinuating rogue, Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office, Have not devised this slander; I'll be hang'd else.
A halter pardon him! and hell gnaw his bones! Why should he call her whore? who keeps her company? What place? what time? what form? what likelihood? The Moor's abused by some most villanous knave, Some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow. O heaven, that such companions thou'ldst unfold, And put in every honest hand a whip To lash the rascals naked through the world Even from the east to the west!
O, fie upon them! Some such squire he was That turn'd your wit the seamy side without, And made you to suspect me with the Moor.
O good Iago, What shall I do to win my lord again? Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven, I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel: If e'er my will did trespass 'gainst his love, Either in discourse of thought or actual deed, Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense, Delighted them in any other form; Or that I do not yet, and ever did. And ever will—though he do shake me off To beggarly divorcement—love him dearly, Comfort forswear me! Unkindness may do much; And his unkindness may defeat my life, But never taint my love. I cannot say 'whore:' It does abhor me now I speak the word; To do the act that might the addition earn Not the world's mass of vanity could make me.
I pray you, be content; 'tis but his humour: The business of the state does him offence, And he does chide with you.
'Tis but so, I warrant.
Hark, how these instruments summon to supper! The messengers of Venice stay the meat; Go in, and weep not; all things shall be well.
[Exeunt Desdemona and Emilia]
How now, Roderigo!
Every day thou daffest me with some device, Iago; and rather, as it seems to me now, keepest from me all conveniency than suppliest me with the least advantage of hope. I will indeed no longer endure it, nor am I yet persuaded to put up in peace what already I have foolishly suffered.
With nought but truth. I have wasted myself out of my means. The jewels you have had from me to deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a votarist: you have told me she hath received them and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance, but I find none.
Very well! go to! I cannot go to, man; nor 'tis not very well: nay, I think it is scurvy, and begin to find myself fobbed in it.
I tell you 'tis not very well. I will make myself known to Desdemona: if she will return me my jewels, I will give over my suit and repent my unlawful solicitation; if not, assure yourself I will seek satisfaction of you.
Why, now I see there's mettle in thee, and even from this instant to build on thee a better opinion than ever before. Give me thy hand, Roderigo: thou hast taken against me a most just exception; but yet, I protest, I have dealt most directly in thy affair.
I grant indeed it hath not appeared, and your suspicion is not without wit and judgment. But, Roderigo, if thou hast that in thee indeed, which I have greater reason to believe now than ever, I mean purpose, courage and valour, this night show it: if thou the next night following enjoy not Desdemona, take me from this world with treachery and devise engines for my life.
O, no; he goes into Mauritania and takes away with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be lingered here by some accident: wherein none can be so determinate as the removing of Cassio.
Ay, if you dare do yourself a profit and a right. He sups to-night with a harlotry, and thither will I go to him: he knows not yet of his horrorable fortune. If you will watch his going thence, which I will fashion to fall out between twelve and one, you may take him at your pleasure: I will be near to second your attempt, and he shall fall between us. Come, stand not amazed at it, but go along with me; I will show you such a necessity in his death that you shall think yourself bound to put it on him. It is now high suppertime, and the night grows to waste: about it.