Othello by William Shakespeare

Othello

The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice

by

5.0 — 3 ratings — 0 reviews

subjects: Plays: Classic & Pre-20th Century

Description

Shakespeare creates a powerful drama of a marriage that begins with fascination (between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona), with elopement, and with intense mutual devotion and that ends precipitately with jealous rage and violent deaths. He sets this story in the romantic world of the Mediterranean, moving the action from Venice to the island of Cyprus and giving it an even more exotic coloring with stories of Othello’s African past. Shakespeare builds so many differences into his hero and heroine—differences of race, of age, of cultural background—that one should not, perhaps, be surprised that the marriage ends disastrously. But most people who see or read the play feel that the love that the play presents between Othello and Desdemona is so strong that it would have overcome all these differences were it not for the words and actions of Othello’s standard-bearer, Iago, who hates Othello and sets out to destroy him by destroying his love for Desdemona. As Othello succumbs to Iago’s insinuations that Desdemona is unfaithful, fascination—which dominates the early acts of the play—turns to horror, especially for the audience. We are confronted by spectacles of a generous and trusting Othello in the grip of Iago’s schemes; of an innocent Desdemona, who has given herself up entirely to her love for Othello only to be subjected to his horrifying verbal and physical assaults, the outcome of Othello’s mistaken convictions about her faithlessness.


110 pages, with a reading time of ~3.5 hours (27,733 words), and first published in 1603. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

Community Reviews

Your Review

Sign up or Log in to rate this book and submit a review.

There are currently no other reviews for this book.

Excerpt

Venice. A street.

[Enter RODERIGO and IAGO]

RODERIGO

Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.

IAGO

‘Sblood, but you will not hear me: If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.

RODERIGO

Thou told’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

IAGO

Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-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, A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife; 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 practise, Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election: And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds Christian and heathen, must be be-lee’d and calm’d By debitor and creditor: this counter-caster, He, in good time, must his lieutenant be, And I–God bless the mark!–his Moorship’s ancient.

RODERIGO

By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.

IAGO

Why, there’s no remedy; ‘tis the curse of service, Preferment goes by letter and affection, And not by old gradation, where each second Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself, Whether I in any just term am affined To love the Moor.

RODERIGO

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, cashier’d: 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 lined their coats Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul; 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.

RODERIGO

What a full fortune does the thicklips owe If he can carry’t thus!

IAGO

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.

RODERIGO

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.

RODERIGO

What, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!

IAGO

Awake! what, ho, Brabantio! thieves! thieves! thieves! Look to your house, your daughter and your bags! Thieves! thieves!

BRABANTIO appears above, at a window

BRABANTIO

What is the reason of this terrible summons? What is the matter there?

RODERIGO

Signior, is all your family within?

IAGO

Are your doors lock’d?

BRABANTIO

Why, wherefore ask you this?

IAGO

‘Zounds, sir, you’re robb’d; for shame, put on your gown; Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul; Even now, now, very now, an old black ram Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise; Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you: Arise, I say.

BRABANTIO

                What, have you lost your wits?

RODERIGO

Most reverend signior, do you know my voice?

BRABANTIO

Not I what are you?

RODERIGO

My name is Roderigo.