Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Montano and two Gentlemen


What from the cape can you discern at sea?


Nothing at all; it is a high-wrought flood.
flood (n.) 1 sea, deep, waves, rushing water
high-wrought (adj.) extremely rough, highly turbulent

I cannot 'twixt the heaven and the main
main (n.) 1 open sea, ocean

Descry a sail.
descry (v.) 1 catch sight of, make out, espy, discover


Methinks the wind does speak aloud at land;
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements.

If it hath ruffianed so upon the sea,
ruffian (v.) rage, bluster, rampage

What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them,

Can hold the mortise? What shall we hear of this?


A segregation of the Turkish fleet:
segregation (n.) dispersal, scattering, breaking up

For do but stand upon the banning shore,
banning (adj.) cursing, chiding

The chidden billow seems to pelt the clouds;
chidden (adj.) 2 driven along, storm-struck, beaten against

The wind-shaked surge, with high and monstrous mane,
main (n.) 6 strength, force, full might

Seems to cast water on the burning Bear

And quench the guards of th' ever-fixed Pole.

I never did like molestation view
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
molestation (n.) disturbance, distress, upset

On the enchafed flood.
enchafed (adj.) angry, furious, enraged


                         If that the Turkish fleet

Be not ensheltered and embayed, they are drowned:
embayed (adj.) within a bay, protected by the shore
ensheltered (adj.) within shelter, in a safe haven

It is impossible they bear it out.
bear out (v.) 1 endure, weather, cope [with]

Enter a Gentleman


News, lads! Our wars are done:

The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks

That their designment halts. A noble ship of Venice
designment (n.) undertaking, enterprise, design

Hath seen a grievous wrack and sufferance
sufferance (n.) 1 distress, suffering, hardship
wrack (n.) 2 wreck, loss, shipwreck

On most part of their fleet.


How! Is this true?


                         The ship is here put in,

A Veronesa; Michael Cassio,

Lieutenant to the warlike Moor, Othello,

Is come on shore; the Moor himself at sea,

And is in full commission here for Cyprus.


I am glad on't; 'tis a worthy governor.


But this same Cassio, though he speak of comfort

Touching the Turkish loss, yet he looks sadly
sadly (adv.) 1 seriously, gravely, solemnly
touch (v.) 1 affect, concern, regard, relate to

And prays the Moor be safe; for they were parted

With foul and violent tempest.


                         Pray heaven he be:

For I have served him, and the man commands

Like a full soldier. Let's to the sea-side, ho!

As well to see the vessel that's come in,

As to throw out our eyes for brave Othello,
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
eye (n.) 2 look, glance, gaze

Even till we make the main and th' aerial blue
aerial (adj.) airy, sky-clear
main (n.) 1 open sea, ocean

An indistinct regard.
regard (n.) 5 view, prospect, sight


                         Come, let's do so;

For every minute is expectancy
expectancy (n.) expectation, hope for the future, source of hope

Of more arrivance.
arrivance (n.) arriving, landing

Enter Cassio


Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle

That so approve the Moor! O, let the heavens

Give him defence against the elements,
element (n.) 3 (plural) forces of nature, atmospheric powers

For I have lost him on a dangerous sea.


Is he well shipped?


His bark is stoutly timbered, and his pilot
bark, barque (n.) ship, vessel
timbered (adj.) made of wood, constructed

Of very expert and approved allowance;
allowance (n.) 3 regard, respect, reputation
expert (adj.) experienced, tried and tested

Therefore my hopes, not surfeited to death,
surfeit (v.) 1 feed to excess, overindulge, glut

Stand in bold cure.
bold (adj.) 1 confident, certain, sure
cure (n.) 2 state of health, condition, soundness

Cry within (‘ A sail, a sail, a sail!’)


What noise?


The town is empty; on the brow o'th' sea
brow (n.) 6 overlooking shore, high-lying coast

Stand ranks of people, and they cry ‘ A sail!’


My hopes do shape him for the Governor.
shape (v.) 2 give shape to, make out



They do discharge their shot of courtesy:

Our friends at least.


                         I pray you, sir, go forth,

And give us truth who 'tis that is arrived.


I shall.



But, good Lieutenant, is your General wived?


Most fortunately: he hath achieved a maid
achieve (v.) 1 gain, obtain, procure

That paragons description and wild fame;
paragon (v.) 2 surpass, excel, transcend

One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
blazoning (adj.) praising, proclaiming, boasting
quirk (n.) 3 extravagant turn of phrase, verbal flourish

And in th' essential vesture of creation
vesture (n.) garment, clothing, garb, costume

Does tire the ingener.

Enter Second Gentleman
ingener (n.) inventor, designer, creator

                         How now? Who has put in?


'Tis one Iago, Ancient to the General.


He's had most favourable and happy speed:
speed (n.) 1 success, fortune, good luck

Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds,

The guttered rocks and congregated sands,
guttered (adj.) gullied, furrowed, jagged

Traitors enscarped to clog the guiltless keel,
enclog (v.) hinder, encumber, impede
enscarped (adj.) sharp-sided, abruptly shelving
ensteeped (adj.) located underwater, submerged

As having sense of beauty, do omit

Their mortal natures, letting go safely by
mortal (adj.) 1 fatal, deadly, lethal

The divine Desdemona.


                         What is she?


She that I spake of, our great Captain's Captain,
captain (n.) commander, chief, leader See Topics: Address forms

Left in the conduct of the bold Iago,

Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts
footing (n.) 2 landing, disembarking, setting foot on shore

A se'nnight's speed. Great Jove, Othello guard,

And swell his sail with thine own powerful breath,

That he may bless this bay with his tall ship,

Make love's quick pants in Desdemona's arms,

Give renewed fire to our extincted spirits
extincted (adj.) extinguished, quenched, stifled

And bring all Cyprus comfort.

Enter Desdemona, Emilia, Iago, Roderigo, and attendants

                         O, behold,

The riches of the ship is come on shore!

You men of Cyprus, let her have your knees.

Hail to thee, lady! And the grace of heaven,

Before, behind thee, and on every hand,

Enwheel thee round.
enwheel (v.) encircle, surround, ring


                         I thank you, valiant Cassio.

What tidings can you tell me of my lord?


He is not yet arrived; nor know I aught
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count

But that he's well, and will be shortly here.


O, but I fear! How lost you company?


The great contention of the sea and skies
contention (n.) quarrel, dispute, strife

Parted our fellowship.

(Cry within) ‘ A sail, a sail!’

                         But hark, a sail!


They give their greeting to the citadel,

This likewise is a friend.
see for (v.) look out for


                         See for the news.

Good Ancient, you are welcome. Welcome, mistress.

Let it not gall your patience, good Iago,
extend (v.) 2 stretch, push so far, give scope to
gall (v.) 1 vex, annoy, irritate

That I extend my manners. 'Tis my breeding
manner (n.) 1 (plural) proper behaviour, good conduct, forms of politeness

That gives me this bold show of courtesy.

He kisses Emilia


Sir, would she give you so much of her lips

As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

You'd have enough.


Alas, she has no speech.


                         In faith, too much.

I find it still when I have list to sleep.
list (n.) 5 wish, desire, inclination
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Marry, before your ladyship, I grant

She puts her tongue a little in her heart

And chides with thinking.
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count


                         You have little cause to say so.


Come on, come on: you are pictures out of doors,

bells in your parlours, wild-cats in your kitchens, saints

in your injuries, devils being offended, players in your

housewifery, and housewives in your beds.
housewife, huswife (n.) [pron: 'husif] hussy, wanton, minx
housewifery (n.) housekeeping, household management


O, fie upon thee, slanderer!


Nay, it is true, or else I am a Turk:
Turk (n.) infidel, heathen, pagan

You rise to play and go to bed to work.


You shall not write my praise.


                         No, let me not.


What wouldst thou write of me, if thou shouldst praise me?


O, gentle lady, do not put me to't,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

For I am nothing if not critical.
critical (adj.) censorious, judgemental, faultfinding


Come on, assay. There's one gone to the harbour?
assay (v.) 1 attempt, try, venture


Ay, madam.


(aside) I am not merry, but I do beguile
beguile (v.) 6 divert attention from, disguise

The thing I am by seeming otherwise.

Come, how wouldst thou praise me?


I am about it, but indeed my invention
invention (n.) 1 inventiveness, imagination, creative faculty

Comes from my pate as birdlime does from frieze –
birdlime (n.) sticky substance spread on branches to snare birds
frieze (n.) type of rough woollen cloth
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count

It plucks out brains and all. But my muse labours,

And thus she is delivered.

If she be fair and wise, fairness and wit,
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

The one's for use, the other useth it.


Well praised! How if she be black and witty?
black (adj.) 1 dark-complexioned, swarthy
witty (adj.) 1 clever, quick, intelligent


If she be black, and thereto have a wit,

She'll find a white that shall her blackness fit.


Worse and worse.


                         How if fair and foolish?


She never yet was foolish that was fair,

For even her folly helped her to an heir.
folly (n.) wantonness, lewdness


These are old fond paradoxes to make fools
fond (adj.) 2 foolish, trifling, frivolous
old (adj.) 2 hackneyed, worn-out, stale
paradox (n.) statement going against accepted belief, absurdity

laugh i'th' alehouse. What miserable praise hast thou for

her that's foul and foolish?
foul (adj.) 1 plain-looking, unattractive, ugly


There's none so foul and foolish thereunto,

But does foul pranks which fair and wise ones do.
prank (n.) 1 outrageous deed, excessive behaviour


O heavy ignorance! Thou praisest the worst
heavy (adj.) 2 grave, serious, weighty

best. But what praise couldst thou bestow on a deserving

woman indeed? One that in the authority of her merit

did justly put on the vouch of very malice itself?
put on (v.) 6 demand, compel, claim
vouch (n.) 2 approval, testimony, witness


She that was ever fair and never proud,

Had tongue at will, and yet was never loud;

Never lacked gold, and yet went never gay;

Fled from her wish, and yet said ‘ Now I may ’;

She that being angered, her revenge being nigh,

Bade her wrong stay, and her displeasure fly;
stay (v.) 9 stop, halt, come to a standstill

She that in wisdom never was so frail

To change the cod's head for the salmon's tail;
change (v.) 1 exchange, trade

She that could think and ne'er disclose her mind:

See suitors following and not look behind:

She was a wight, if ever such wight were –
wight (n.) [archaism] person, human being See Topics: Archaisms


To do what?


To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.
beer / ale, small 2 trivialities, trifles, matters of little consequence


O, most lame and impotent conclusion!

Do not learn of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband.

How say you, Cassio, is he not a most profane and
profane (adj.) 2 worldly-wise, irreverent, flippant

liberal counsellor?
liberal (adj.) 2 coarse, licentious, promiscuous


He speaks home, madam; you may relish him more
home (adv.) 4 bluntly, to the point, forthrightly
relish (v.) 4 appreciate, like, approve of

in the soldier than in the scholar.


said, well well done

He takes her by the palm. Ay, well said,

whisper. With as little a web as this will I ensnare as

great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon her, do. I will

gyve thee in thine own courtship. You say true, 'tis so
gyve (v.) fetter, shackle, ensnare

indeed. If such tricks as these strip you out of your

lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kissed your
lieutenantry (n.) use of subordinates, office of lieutenants

three fingers so oft, which now again you are most apt
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

to play the sir in. Very good: well kissed, an excellent
sir (n.) 2 gentleman, lord, gallant, master See Topics: Address forms

courtesy! 'Tis so indeed. Yet again your fingers to your

lips? Would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!
clyster-pipe (n.) enema syringe, douche tube


(aloud) The Moor! I know his trumpet.


                         'Tis truly so.


Let's meet him and receive him.


                         Lo, where he comes!

Enter Othello and attendants


O, my fair warrior!


                         My dear Othello!


It gives me wonder great as my content
content (n.) 1 pleasure, satisfaction, happiness

To see you here before me. O, my soul's joy!

If after every tempest come such calms,

May the winds blow till they have wakened death,

And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas,
bark, barque (n.) ship, vessel

Olympus-high, and duck again as low

As hell's from heaven. If it were now to die,

'Twere now to be most happy; for I fear

My soul hath her content so absolute
content (n.) 1 pleasure, satisfaction, happiness

That not another comfort like to this

Succeeds in unknown fate.
succeed (v.) 1 follow on, ensue, come after


                         The heavens forbid

But that our loves and comforts should increase,

Even as our days do grow.
power (n.) 9 (usually plural) gods, deities, divinities


                         Amen to that, sweet Powers!

I cannot speak enough of this content;
content (n.) 1 pleasure, satisfaction, happiness

It stops me here; it is too much of joy.

They kiss

And this, and this the greatest discords be

That e'er our hearts shall make.



                         O, you are well tuned now!

But I'll set down the pegs that make this music,
peg (n.) pin on a stringed instrument to which the strings are fastened
set down (v.) 4 [of the strings of a musical instrument] slacken, loosen

As honest as I am.


                         Come, let's to the castle.

News, friends; our wars are done; the Turks are drowned.

How does my old acquaintance of this isle?

Honey, you shall be well desired in Cyprus:
desired (adj.) liked, admired, esteemed

I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,

I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
fashion (n.) 2 conventional behaviour, conformity, customary use

In mine own comforts. I prithee, good Iago,

Go to the bay and disembark my coffers;
coffer (n.) 1 box, chest

Bring thou the Master to the citadel;

He is a good one, and his worthiness

Does challenge much respect. Come, Desdemona,
challenge (v.) 1 demand as a right, claim, call for, insist on

Once more well met at Cyprus!

Exeunt all except Iago and Roderigo


(to soldiers, who go off)
presently (adv.) 2 after a short time, soon, before long

Do thou meet me presently at

the harbour. (To Roderigo) Come hither. If thou be'st

valiant – as they say base men being in love have then a
base (adj.) 2 low-born, lowly, plebeian, of lower rank See Topics: Frequency count

nobility in their natures more than is native to them –

list me. The Lieutenant tonight watches on the court of guard.
court of guard (n.) guard-house, guard-room
list (v.) 3 listen to, pay attention to

First, I must tell thee this: Desdemona is directly
directly (adv.) 3 plainly, clearly, evidently

in love with him.


With him? Why, 'tis not possible!


Lay thy finger thus, and let thy soul be instructed.

Mark me with what violence she first loved the Moor,
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

but for bragging and telling her fantastical lies. And
fantastical (adj.) 1 fanciful, imaginative, full of wild ideas

will she love him still for prating? Let not thy discreet
prate (v.) prattle, chatter, blather See Topics: Frequency count
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

heart think it. Her eye must be fed. And what delight

shall she have to look on the devil? When the blood is
blood (n.) 1 passion, feeling, strong emotion [especially sexual]

made dull with the act of sport, there should be, again
sport (n.) 3 sexual recreation, intercourse, amorous dalliance

to inflame it and give satiety a fresh appetite, loveliness
satiety (n.) 2 wearisome gratification, tedious satisfaction

in favour, sympathy in years, manners and beauties: all
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks
sympathy (n.) 1 accord, agreement, harmony

which the Moor is defective in. Now for want of these

required conveniences, her delicate tenderness will find
convenience (n.) 3 advantage, desirable feature, point of agreement
delicate (adj.) 1 fine in quality, of exquisite nature, dainty

itself abused, begin to heave the gorge, disrelish and
abuse (v.) 1 deceive, mislead, fool, cheat
disrelish (v.) distaste, disfavour, dislike
gorge (n.) 2 stomach contents

abhor the Moor. Very nature will instruct her in it and
very (adj.) 2 true, real, genuine

compel her to some second choice. Now, sir, this granted

– as it is a most pregnant and unforced position – who
position (n.) 1 [in logic] affirmation, assertion, hypothesis
pregnant (adj.) 2 obvious, clear, evident

stands so eminently in the degree of this fortune as
degree (n.) 4 measure, extent, amount

Cassio does? – a knave very voluble; no further conscionable
conscionable (adj.) [unclear] conscientious, dedicated, scrupulous
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count
voluble (adj.) 2 glib, facile, persuasive

than in putting on the mere form of civil and
mere (adj.) 1 complete, total, absolute, utter See Topics: Frequency count

humane seeming for the better compassing of his salt
compass (v.) 1 accomplish, fulfil, achieve, bring about
humane (adj.) 1 polite, courteous, refined
salt (adj.) 5 lascivious, lustful, lecherous
seeming (n.) 3 demeanour, outward behaviour

and most hidden loose affection. Why, none; why, none

– a slipper and subtle knave, a finder out of occasions;
occasion (n.) 1 circumstance, opportunity
slipper (adj.) slippery, shifty, unreliable

that has an eye can stamp and counterfeit advantages,
counterfeit (v.) 1 copy, imitate, simulate See Topics: Frequency count
stamp (v.) 1 press, impress, coin

though true advantage never present itself; a devilish

knave! Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

all those requisites in him that folly and green minds
folly (n.) wantonness, lewdness
green (adj.) 2 youthful, inexperienced, immature

look after. A pestilent complete knave; and the woman
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

hath found him already.


I cannot believe that in her: she's full of most

blessed condition.
condition (n.) 1 disposition, temper, mood, character


Blessed fig's-end! The wine she drinks is made of

grapes. If she had been blessed, she would never have

loved the Moor. Blessed pudding! Didst thou not see her

paddle with the palm of his hand? Didst not mark that?
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
paddle (v.) toy [with], play wantonly [with], fondle


Yes, that I did: but that was but courtesy.


Lechery, by this hand: an index and obscure prologue

to the history of lust and foul thoughts. They met

so near with their lips that their breaths embraced

together. Villainous thoughts, Roderigo! When these

mutualities so marshal the way, hard at hand comes the
mutuality (n.) intimacy, familiar exchange, intimate dealing

master and main exercise, th' incorporate conclusion.
incorporate (adj.) united in one body, combined in one entity

Pish! But, sir, be you ruled by me. I have brought you

from Venice. Watch you tonight: for the command, I'll

lay't upon you. Cassio knows you not; I'll not be far

from you. Do you find some occasion to anger Cassio,

either by speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline, or
taint (v.) 3 disparage, denigrate, belittle

from what other course you please, which the time shall
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

more favourably minister.
minister (v.) 1 provide, supply, give




Sir, he's rash and very sudden in choler, and haply
choler (n.) anger, rage, wrath
haply (adv.) perhaps, maybe, by chance, with luck See Topics: Frequency count
sudden (adj.) 6 unpredictable, prone to sudden violence

with his truncheon may strike at you: provoke him that
truncheon (n.) 1 military baton, staff of office

he may, for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus

to mutiny, whose qualification shall come into no true
qualification (n.) true condition, character, nature

taste again but by the displanting of Cassio. So shall you

have a shorter journey to your desires by the means I

shall then have to prefer them, and the impediment most
prefer (v.) 1 promote, advance, recommend

profitably removed, without the which there were no

expectation of our prosperity.
prosperity (n.) success, good fortune


I will do this, if you can bring it to any



I warrant thee. Meet me by and by at the citadel. I
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

must fetch his necessaries ashore. Farewell.





That Cassio loves her, I do well believe't:

That she loves him, 'tis apt and of great credit.
apt (adj.) 3 natural, predictable, plausible, to be expected
credit (n.) 1 credibility, believing, belief

The Moor – howbeit that I endure him not –

Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,

And, I dare think, he'll prove to Desdemona

A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;

Not out of absolute lust – though peradventure
peradventure (adv.) perhaps, maybe, very likely See Topics: Frequency count

I stand accountant for as great a sin –
accountant (adj.) accountable, responsible, answerable

But partly led to diet my revenge
diet (v.) 2 feed to a satisfactory level, condition by feeding

For that I do suspect the lusty Moor

Hath leaped into my seat, the thought whereof

Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards,

And nothing can, or shall, content my soul

Till I am evened with him, wife for wife;

Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor

At least into a jealousy so strong

That judgement cannot cure. Which thing to do

If this poor trash of Venice, whom I leash
trash (v.) [hunting] rein in, keep in check, hold back

For his quick hunting, stand the putting on,
putting on (n.) instigation, prompting, urging

I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,
hip, on / upon the [wrestling] at a disadvantage, in an unfavourable position

Abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb –
garb (n.) manner, style, fashion
rank (adj.) 4 gross, outlandish, coarse

For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too –

Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me

For making him egregiously an ass,

And practising upon his peace and quiet,

Even to madness. 'Tis here, but yet confused:

Knavery's plain face is never seen till used.


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