Act 1, Scene 1

EARLY MODERN ENGLISH                                                  MODERN ENGLISH

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’ll 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-capped 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 stuffed 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 togèd consuls can propose

As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice

Is all his soldiership - but he, sir, had th'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-leed 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 th' 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 followed. 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 naught but provender, and when he’s old, cashiered.

Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are

Who, trimmed 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 color.

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!

Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags!

Thieves! thieves!

RODERIGO

Please don't tell me this. I'm very offended

that you, who has had so much access to my money, has had knowledge of this! 

Tush: Mild swear blood

 

IAGO

By God's blood! I never dreamt that such a thing could ever happen.

*'SBlood: (Pronounced, Zblud): God's blood

 

RODERIGO

You always told me you hated him (Othello)

IAGO

Of course I hate him!

Three noblemen of Venice removed their caps respectfully and appealed to him to make me his lieutenant. I am well aware of my worth and know what I deserve. But he is so full of himself

that he just uses bombastic verbiage so full of military terms and eventually told my mediators that he had already chosen one.

And who did he choose?

Truly, a theoretician called Michael Cassio from Florence.

A fellow who seems to have a good wife

(this is an irrelevant comment as Cassio is not married) and absolutely no knowledge of how to even arrange troops in battle except perhaps just some abstract theory of it - much like what

an old spinster would know of it! This sort of knowledge can even be meted out by toga-wearing politicians (togèd- Pronounced toh-gud). Othello has seen my expertise as a soldier in Rhodes, Cyprus and other grounds. But I've been left behind by a mere bookkeeper. In time I will definitely become the Moor's standard-bearer. 

RODERIGO

By heaven, I'd rather be the one to hang him! 

IAGO

Well, this is the curse of military service. Promotion basically comes from having influential supporters and certainly not from gradual advancement in rank. Now, Roderigo, tell me, should I be

obliged to the Moor at all?

RODERIGO

You should certainly leave his services.

IAGO

Oh Sir, please be content. I am serving him only so I can get my own back at him. We cannot all become Masters and not all Masters have the qualities that make others follow them. There are many obedient, sycophantic servants who spend their entire

lives for nothing but animal fodder! When they are old, they are dismissed. What idiots these servants are! There is another type of servant who, dresses up in the appearance of being extremely loyal but in actuality is doing the service only to make money and look after themselves. That's the kind of person I am. And as sure as you are Roderigo, let me tell you that if I were the Moor, I would not want to be with Iago. Because I only show him love and duty whilst actually serving my self. When my outward behaviour matches my inner, self serving motivation, then will I wear my heart on my sleeves for foolish birds to peck at. No, it's better to hide it all. I truly am not what I seem. 

RODERIGO

How fortunate would thicklips be if he can actually pull this off!

*thicklips: racist reference to Othello’s heritage

 

IAGO

Let’s wake her father up and poison his sleep. Let’s announce loudly what his daughter has done and so plague him with the news, while

spreading lies and rumours. His joy will definitely be short lived thereafter.

 

 

 

 

RODERIGO

Here is her father’s house. Let me call out aloud.

 

IAGO

Do so in a frightening tone and yell as if at night a fire has been spotted in a heavily populated city!

 

RODERIGO

Brabantio! Signior Brabantio!

 

IAGO

Wake up, Brabantio! Thieves! Look at your house, your daughter and your money! Wake up for fear of thieves!

BRABANTIO [appears above] at a window.