Act 1, Scene 1
EARLY MODERN ENGLISH MODERN ENGLISH
Enter Roderigo and Iago
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.
'Sblood, but you’ll not hear me! If ever I did dream
of such a matter, abhor me.
Thou told’st me
Thou didst hold him in thy hate.
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!
By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
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.
I would not follow him then.
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.
What a full fortune does the thicklips owe
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 color.
Here is her father’s house, I’ll call aloud.
Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell
As when, by night and negligence, the fire
Is spied in populous cities.
What, ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!
Awake! What, ho, Brabantio! Thieves! Thieves!
Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags!
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
By God's blood! I never dreamt that such a thing could ever happen.
*'SBlood: (Pronounced, Zblud): God's blood
You always told me you hated him (Othello)
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.
By heaven, I'd rather be the one to hang him!
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?
You should certainly leave his services.
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.
How fortunate would thicklips be if he can actually pull this off!
*thicklips: racist reference to Othello’s heritage
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.
Here is her father’s house. Let me call out aloud.
Do so in a frightening tone and yell as if at night a fire has been spotted in a heavily populated city!
Brabantio! Signior Brabantio!
Wake up, Brabantio! Thieves! Look at your house, your daughter and your money! Wake up for fear of thieves!