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savage triumphs over the judgment of the man. He tries to escape from this dreadful conviction:"By heaven, I would most gladly have forgot it." But Iago draws the web gradually closer and more closely around him, and, with fiendish sagacity, keeps the subject in all its most hideous colours perpetually in his mind, until the final perpetration of the terrible catastrophe of the drama. How painfully affecting is the anguish of soul with which he exclaims: "But yet the pity of it, Iago!-O, Iago, the pity of it, Iago!" Well might Coleridge, with the true feeling of a poet, ask, as the curtain drops-which do we pity most, Desdemona, or the heart-broken Moor.

Iago is an utter villain, with no redeeming circumstances: love, benevolence, sympathy for his race, every holy and exalted feeling, have in him no existence; their place is occupied by a satanic selfishness, and an absolute love of malice it is the fertile activity of his intellect, and the ingenuity of his wickedness, that alone make him endurable, otherwise we should shrink from him with loathing and disgust. He is the most villanous character ever drawn by Shakespeare for Richard III. is cruel, to serve his ambition; but Iago is cruel and fraudulent, because he finds a pleasure in fraud and cruelty: he has no belief in honesty-does not think there is any such thing in the world; he entertains an obdurate incredulity as to the virtue of women, and has a perfect faith that Desdemona will be seduced by Cassio, if he tempts her. He looks upon every thing only in a gross and sensual light, and delights in painting the purest feelings in the most repulsive colours: this will explain how Shakespeare has put so many coarse and revolting speeches in his mouth. No character the great poet ever drew utters so many offensive expressions; and this was, doubtless, intended to exhibit the intense depravity of his mind. He has a natural turn for dishonesty and

trickery, and would rather gain his ends by deception than by straightforward conduct. He is proud of his cunning, and witty also-full of that ill-natured sarcasm which delights in giving pain to others.

The character of Cassio is admirably delineated: he is every way calculated to become an object of suspicion to the Moor; he is young, handsome, and courteous-a scholar, and something of a poet, as his beautiful description of Desdemona will evidence. Even Iago admits, "That he hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after."

Poor Desdemona is the perfection of womanly gentleness and tenderness-a generous, romantic girl, full of kindness to every one; and by the very liberality of her nature, laying herself open to the aroused suspicions of her husband. If she has a fault, it is that she is too passive. Observe the wide contrast between her character and that of Emilia, as finely portrayed in the third scene of the fourth act. Othello has desired his wife to retire, and dismiss her attendant; and the two women are conversing before they separate for the night: Desdemona, in her simple purity, asks:

"Dost thou in conscience think,-tell me, Emilia, In such gross kind." -That there be women do abuse their husbands

Note the worldliness of the other's reply; she would not do "such a thing for a joint-ring," but, &c.; and Desdemona's sceptical rejoinder "I do not think there is any such woman." The absolute purity of her mind will not permit her to believe in evil. How sweetly touching is her character, compared with that of Iago-a seraph

and a demon.

This tragedy is attributed by Mr. Malone to the year 1611, but on very slender grounds, with which he professes himself to be dissatisfied; but there is no doubt that it was one of Shakespeare's latest productions.


THIS tragedy is justly considered as one of the noblest efforts of dramatic genius that has appeared in any age or in any language; but the subject is unfortunately little suited to family reading. The arguments which are urged, and the facts which are adduced as proofs of adultery, are necessarily of such a nature as cannot be expressed in terms of perfect delicacy; yet neither the arguments, nor the facts, can be omitted; for although every reader must weep

"O'er gentle Desdemona's woes:"* Yet I believe there is no person who would wish to aggravate the guilt of Othello, by leaving out any of those circumstances which give an appearance of truth to the suggestions of Iago.

From the multitude of indecent expressions which abound in the speeches of the inferior characters, I have endeavoured to clear the play, but I cannot erase all the bitter terms of reproach and execration with which the transports of jealousy and revenge are expressed by the Moor,

Scott's Rokeby.


without altering his character; losing sight of the horror of those passions; and, in fact, destroying the tragedy. I find myself, therefore, reduced to the alternative of either departing in some degree from the principle on which this publication is undertaken, or materially injuring a most invaluable exertion of the genius of Shakespeare. I have adopted the former part of the alternative; and, in making this decision, I have been much influenced by an opinion which I have long entertained, that this play, in its present form, is calculated to produce an excellent effect on the human mind; by exhibiting a most forcible and impressive warning against the admission of that baneful passion, which, when once admitted, is the inevitable destroyer of conjugal happiness.

That adultery is a crime which is deservedly placed next to murder, will be allowed, not only by the Christian, but by every being whose mind is not wholly insensible to the most obvious principles of virtue. But in proportion to the enormity of the offence, should be the caution with which the suspicion is permitted to be


entertained; for, besides the injury which is thus | in Leontes; we tremble for its consequences in done to the person accused, the jealous accuser Posthumus; and we view them in their utmost will assuredly exclaim with Othello:horror in Othello.

"O now for ever,

Farewell the tranquil mind-farewell content." Shakespeare appears to have been particularly desirous of warning mankind against the indulgence of this dreadful passion; for, independent of various observations in different parts of his works, he has made it the principal subject of no less than four of his very good plays; exerting his matchless powers in painting it with every variety of colouring that was calculated to warn the human mind against its admission. It is laughably ridiculous in Ford; it is justly odious

After the foregoing observations, I shall only add, that I have endeavoured to erase the objectionable expressions which so frequently occur in the original text, whenever it could be done consistently with the character and situation of the speaker; but if, after all that I have omitted, it shall still be thought that this inimitable tragedy is not sufficiently correct for family reading, I would advise the transferring it from the parlour to the cabinet, where the perusal will not only delight the poetic taste, but convey useful and important instruction both to the heart and the understanding of the reader.

Othello, the Moor of Venice.

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MONTANO, Othello's Predecessor in the Govern- Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicians,

ment of Cyprus.

Sailors, Attendants, &e.

SCENE-For the first Act, in Venice; during the rest of the Play, at a Seaport in Cyprus.

Act First.

SCENE I.-Venice. A Street.


Rod. TUSH, never tell me, I take it much un-

That thou, Iago,-who hast had my purse, [this.
As if the strings were thine,-should'st know of
Iago. But you will not hear me :-
If ever I did dream of such a matter,
Abhor me.
[thy hate.
Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in
Iago. Despise me, if I do not. Three great
ones of the city,

In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Oft 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,
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
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,

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At Rhodes, at Cyprus; and on other grounds
Christian and heathen,-must be be-lee'd and


By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster; ?
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be, [ancient.
And I, sir, (bless the mark!) his Moor-ship's
Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his

Iago. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curse of
Preferment goes by letter, and affection,
Not by the old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge your-
Whether I in any just term am affin'd|| [self,
To love the Moor.

I would not follow him then.
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, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,
For nought but provender; and, when he's old,

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,

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

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:

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. [owe,*
Rod. What a full fortune does the thick-lips
If he can carry 't thus!
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.

[ho! Rod. What ho! Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, Iago. Awake! what, ho! Brabantio! thieves! thieves thieves! [bags! Look to your house, your daughter, and your Thieves! thieves !

BRABANTIO, above, at a Window.

Bra. What is the reason of this terrible sumWhat is the matter there? [mons? Rod. Signior, is all your family within? Iago. Are your doors lock'd? Bra.

Why? wherefore ask you this? Iago. Sir, you are robb'd; for shame, put on your gown;

Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Arise, I say.

Bra. What, have you lost your wits?
Rod. Most reverend signior, do you know my
Bra. Not I; what are you?
Rod. My name is-Roderigo.

The worse 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 mad-

Being full of supper, and distempering draughts,
Upon malicious bravery, dost thou come
To start my quiet.

Rod. Sir, sir, sir, sir,—
But thou must needs be sure,
My spirit, and my place, have in them power
To make this bitter to thee.

Rod. Patience, good sir. [Venice; Bra. What tell'st thou me of robbing? this is My house is not a grange.+ Rod. Most grave Brabantio, In simple and pure soul I come to you. Lago. Then sir, because we come to do you service, you think we are ruffians.

Bra. What wretch art thou?

Iago. I am one, sir, that comes to tell you, your daughter and the Moor are now together. Bra. Thou art a villain.

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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, 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 wheeling stranger,
Of here and everywhere: Straight satisfy your-
If she be in her chamber, or your house, [self:
Let loose on me the justice of the state
For thus deluding you.

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!
[Exit, from above.
Iago. 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
Another of his fathom they have not, [souls,
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 show out a flag and sign of love,
Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely
find him,

Lead to the Sagittary the rais'd search;
And there will I be with him. So, farewell.

[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, thou deceiv'st me

Past thought!-What said she to you?-Get more tapers; [you? Raise all my kindred.-Are they married, think Rod. Truly, I think, they are.

Bra. How got she out?-O treason of the blood!

{minds Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters' By what you see them act.-Are there not charms, By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abus'd? Have you not read, Roderigo, Of some such thing? Rod. Yes, sir; I have indeed. Bra. Call up my brother.-O, that you had had her!

Some one way, some another.-Do you know Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?

Rod. I think I can discover him; if you please
To get good guard, and go along with me.
Bra. Pray you, lead on. At every house I'll

I may command at most :-Get weapons, ho!
And raise some special officers of night.-
On, good Roderigo;-I'll deserve your pains.

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|| Wandering.

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SCENE II.-Another Street.

Enter OTHELLO, IAGO, and Attendants. Iago. Though in the trade of war I have slain men,

Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience,
To do no contriv'd 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.

Oth. 'Tis better as it is.
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, sir,
Are you fast married? for, be sure 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.

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,
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, lago,
But that I love the gentle Desdemona,
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscription and confine

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Iago. Marry, to-Come, captain, will you go?
Have with you.
Cas. Here comes another troop to seek for you.
Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers of
night, with Torches and Weapons.
Iago. It is Brabantio:-general, be advis'd;
He comes to bad intent.
Hola! stand there!
Rod. Signior, it is the Moor.

Down with him, thief!
[They draw on both sides.
Iago. You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you.
Oth. Keep up your bright swords, for the dew
will rust them.-
Good signior, you shall more command with
Than with your weapons.

Bra. O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd my daughter?

Wretch that 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 shunn'd The wealthy curled dariings of our nation, Would ever have, to incur a general mock, Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom Of such a thing as thou: to fear, not to delight. Judge me the world, if 'tis not gross in sense, That thou hast practis'd on her with foul charms; Abus'd her delicate youth with drugs, or minerals, Enter CASSIO, at a distance, and certain Officers I therefore apprehend and do attach thee, 'Tis probable, and palpable to thinking. For an abuser of the world, a practiser

For the sea's worth. But, look! what lights come yonder?

with Torches.

Iago. These are the raised father, and his Of arts inhibited and out of warrant :friends:

You were best go in.

Not I: I must be found:
My parts, my title, and my perfect soul,
Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?
Iago. By Janus, I think no.
Oth. The servants of the duke, and my lieu-
The goodness of the night upon you, friends!
What is the news?

The duke does greet you, general;
And he requires your haste-post-haste appear-
Even on the instant.
What is the matter, think you?
Cas. Something from Cyprus, as I may divine;
It is a business of some heat: the galleys
Have sent a dozen sequent messengers
This very night at one another's heels;
And many of the consuls, rais'd, 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 quests,
To search you out.
'Tis well I am found by you.
I will but spend a word here in the house,
And go with you.
Ancient, what makes he here?
lago. To-night he hath boarded a land ca-
rack; ?


If it prove lawful prize, he's made for ever.

* Brabantio, magnifico is his title as a senator. + Seat, or throne.

Demerits has the same meaning in Shakespeare as merits. ? A rich vessel.

|| Consistency.

Lay hold upon him; if he do resist,
Subdue him at his peril.


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?

To prison: till fit time
Of law, and course of direct session,
Call thee to answer.


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,
To bring me to him?
'Tis true, most worthy signior,
The duke's in council; and your noble self,
I am sure, is sent for.

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.

SCENE III.-A Council-Chamber.
The DUKE, and Senators, sitting at a Table;
Officers attending.

Duke. There is no composition || in these news
That gives them credit.

1 Sen. Indeed, they are disproportioned; My letters say, a hundred and seven galleys. Duke. And mine, a hundred and forty.

2 Sen.

And mine, two hundred :

But though they jump not on a just account,
(As in these cases, where the aim reports,
'Tis oft with difference,) yet do they all confirm
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.
Duke. Nay, it is possible enough to judgment;
I do not so secure me in the error,
But the main article I do approve
In fearful sense.

Sailor. [Within.] What ho! what ho! what
Enter an Officer, with a Sailor.
Off. A messenger from the galleys.

Now? the business? Sail. The Turkish preparation makes for So was I bid report here to the state, [Rhodes; By Signior Angelo.

Duke. How say you by this change? 1 Sen.

This cannot be, By no assay of reason; 'tis a pageant, To keep us in false gaze: When we consider The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk; And let ourselves again but understand, That, as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes, So may he with more facile question + bear it, For that it stands not in such warlike brace,+ But altogether lacks the abilities

[of this, That Rhodes is dress'd in :-if we make thought We must not think, the Turk is so unskilful, To leave that latest which concerns him first; Neglecting an attempt of ease, and gain, To wake, and wage, a danger profitless. Duke. Nay, in all confidence, he's not for Off. Here is more news. [Rhodes.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. The Ottomites, reverend and gracious, Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes,

Have there injointed them with an after fleet. 1 Sen. Ay, so I thought :-How many, as you guess?


Mess. Of thirty sail: and now do they re-stem Their backward course, bearing with frank [tano, Their purposes toward Cyprus.-Signior MonYour trusty and most valiant servitor, With his free duty recommends you thus, And prays you to believe him.

Duke. 'Tis certain then for Cyprus.Marcus Lucchesé, is he not in town?

1 Sen. He's now in Florence.

Duke. Write from us; wish him post-posthaste despatch. [Moor. 1 Sen. Here comes Brabantio, and the valiant Enter BRABANTIO, OTHELLO, IAGO, RODERIGO,

and Officers.

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Why, what's the matter? Bra. My daughter! O, my daughter!

Sen. Bra.

Dead? Ay, to me; She is abus'd, stol'n from me, and corrupted By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks: For nature so preposterously to err, Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense, Sans witchcraft could not

[ceeding, Duke. Whoe'er he be, that, in this foul proHath thus beguil'd your daughter of herself, And you of her, the bloody book of law You shall yourself read in the bitter letter, [son After your own sense; yea, though our proper Stood in your action.¶

Bra. Humbly I thank your grace. Here is the man, this Moor; whom now, it seems, Your special mandate, for the state affairs, Hath hither brought.

Duke and Sen.

We are very sorry for it. Duke. What, in your own part, can you say to this?

[То Отн.

Bra. Nothing, but this is so. Oth. Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, My very noble and approv'd good masters, That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter, It is most true; true, I have married her; The very head and front of my offending Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,

And little bless'd with the set phrase of peace; For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,

Till now some nine moons wasted, they have us'd
Their dearest action ** in the tented field;
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle;
And therefore little shall I grace my cause,
In speaking for myself: Yet, by your gracious

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver [charms,
Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what
What conjuration, and what mighty magic,
(For such proceeding I am charg'd withal,)
I won his daughter with.

A maiden never bold;
Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
Blush'd at herself; And she,-in spite of nature,
Of years, of country, credit, every thing,-
To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on!
It is a judgment maim'd, and most imperfect,
That will confess-perfection so could err
Against all rules of nature; and must be driven
To find out practices of cunning hell,
That with some mixtures powerful o'er the blood,
Why this should be. I therefore vouch again,
Or with some dram conjur'd to this effect,
He wrought upon her.

Duke. To vouch this, is no proof; Without more certain and more overt test,++ Than these thin habits, and poor likelihoods Of modern seeming, ++ do prefer against him. 1 Sen. But, Othello, speak ;Did you by indirect and forced courses Subdue and poison this young maid's affections? Or came it by request, and such fair question As soul to soul affordeth?


I do beseech you, Send for the lady to the Sagittary, And let her speak of me before her father: If you do find me foul in her report, The trust, the office, I do hold of you,

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