theatrical play by William Shakespeare

Othello: The Moor of Venice is a play (ca. 1603) by William Shakespeare. The play is a concentrated, tightly constructed domestic tragedy, with almost no subplot for relief, centered on five or six central characters. Othello is commonly considered one of Shakespeare's great tragedies and one of his finest works.

Put out the light, and then put out the light.

Act I

  • In following him, I follow but myself.
    • Iago, scene I

  • 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.
    • Iago, scene I

  • Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
    Is tupping your white ewe.
    • Iago, scene I

  • Your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.
    • Iago, scene I

  • Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
    • Othello, scene II

  • Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
    My very noble and approved 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 soft phrase of peace:
    For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
    Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
    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 patience,
    I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver
    Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,
    What conjuration and what mighty magic,
    For such proceeding I am charged withal,
    I won his daughter.
    • Othello, scene III
  • Her father loved me; oft invited me;
    Still question'd me the story of my life,
    From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
    That I have passed.
    I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
    To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
    Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
    Of moving accidents by flood and field
    Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach,
    Of being taken by the insolent foe
    And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
    And portance in my travels' history:
    Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
    Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
    It was my hint to speak,--such was the process;
    And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
    The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
    Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear
    Would Desdemona seriously incline:
    But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
    Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
    She'ld come again, and with a greedy ear
    Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
    Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
    To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
    That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
    Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
    But not intentively: I did consent,
    And often did beguile her of her tears,
    When I did speak of some distressful stroke
    That my youth suffer'd. My story being done,
    She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
    She swore, in faith, twas strange, 'twas passing strange,
    'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
    She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
    That heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me,
    And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
    I should but teach him how to tell my story.
    And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
    She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,
    And I loved her that she did pity them.
    This only is the witchcraft I have used:
    Here comes the lady; let her witness it.
    • Othello, scene III

  • That I did love the Moor to live with him,
    My downright violence and storm of fortunes
    May trumpet to the world: my heart's subdued
    Even to the very quality of my lord:
    • Desdemona, scene III
  • But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow
    That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow.
    • Duke, scene III
  • The robb'd that smiles, steals something from the thief;
    He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.
    • Duke of Venice, scene III

  • Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
    She has deceived her father, and may thee.
    • Brabantio, scene III

  • Thus do I ever make my fool my purse.
    • Iago, scene III

  • I hate the Moor;
    And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets
    He has done my office: I know not if 't be true;
    But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, will do as if for surety.
    • Iago, scene III

  • The Moor is of a free and open nature,
    That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
    And will as tenderly be led by the nose
    As asses are.
    • Iago, scene III

Act II

  • If after every tempest come such calms,
    May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
    • Othello, scene i

  • She never yet was foolish that was fair; For even her folly help'd her to an heir.
    • Iago, scene I

  • Knavery's plain face is never seen till us'd.
    • Iago, scene i

  • Now, by heaven,
    My blood begins my safer guides to rule;
    And passion, having my best judgment collied,
    Assays to lead the way. 'Zounds, if I stir,
    Or do but lift this arm, the best of you
    Shall sink in my rebuke. Give me to know
    How this foul rout began, who set it on;
    And he that is approv'd in this offence,
    Though he had twinn'd with me, both at a birth,
    Shall lose me. What! in a town of war,
    Yet wild, the people's hearts brimful of fear,
    To manage private and domestic quarrel?
    In night, and on the court and guard of safety?
    'Tis monstrous. Iago, who began't?
    • Othello, scene iii

  • But men are men; the best sometimes forget:
    • Iago, scene iii

  • Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving.
    • Iago, scene iii

  • And what's he then that says I play the villain?
    When this advice is free I give and honest,
    Probal to thinking and indeed the course
    To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
    The inclining Desdemona to subdue
    In any honest suit: she's framed as fruitful
    As the free elements. And then for her
    To win the Moor — were't to renounce his baptism,
    All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
    His soul is so enfetter'd to her love,
    That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
    Even as her appetite shall play the god
    With his weak function. How am I then a villain
    To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
    Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
    When devils will the blackest sins put on,
    They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
    As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
    Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
    And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
    I'll pour this pestilence into his ear,
    That she repeals him for her body's lust;
    And by how much she strives to do him good,
    She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
    So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
    And out of her own goodness make the net
    That shall enmesh them all.
    • Iago, scene iii


  • Then put up your pipes in your bag, for I'll away. Go, vanish into air, away!
    • Clown, scene i

  • Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
    But I do love thee; and when I love thee not,
    Chaos is come again.
    • Othello, scene iii

  • Men should be what they seem;
    Or those that be not, would they might seem none!
    • Iago, scene iii

  • Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
    Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
    ’Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name,
    Robs me of that which not enriches him,
    And makes me poor indeed.
    • Iago, scene iii

  • O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;
    It is the green-ey'd monster which doth mock
    The meat it feeds on.
    • Iago, scene iii

  • Think'st thou I'd make a life of jealousy,
    To follow still the changes of the moon
    With fresh suspicions? No; to be once in doubt,
    Is once to be resolved.
    • Othello, scene iii

  • She did deceive her father, marrying you;
    And when she seem'd to shake and fear your looks
    She lov'd them most.
    • Iago, scene iii

  • Othello: I do not think but Desdemona's honest.
    Iago: Long live she so, and long live you to think so!
    Othello: And, yet, how nature erring from itself,—
    Iago: Ay, there's the point.
    • Scene iii

  • If she be false, O! then heaven mocks itself.
    I'll not believe't.
    • Othello, scene iii

  • O! now, for ever
    Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content!
    • Othello, scene iii

  • Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore,
    Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof;
    Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul,
    Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
    Than answer my wak'd wrath.
    • Othello, scene iii

  • There are a kind of men so loose of soul,
    That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs.
    • Iago, scene iii

  • 'Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
    They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
    They eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
    They belch us.
    • Emilia, scene iv

Act IV

  • Do it not with poison, strangle her in her bed.
    • Iago, scene i

  • Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch?
    • Emilia, scene iii

  • Heaven me such uses send,
    Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend.
    • Desdemona, scene iii

Act V

I kissed thee ere I killed thee
  • O damn'd Iago! O inhuman dog!
    • Roderigo, scene i

  • Put out the light, and then put out the light.
    • Othello, scene ii

  • [He kisses her]
    O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
    Justice to break her sword. One more, one more!
    Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
    And love thee after. One more, and that's the last!
    So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
    But they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly;
    It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.
    • Othello, scene ii

  • What noise is this? Not dead — not yet quite dead?
    I that am cruel am yet merciful;
    I would not have the linger in thy pain
    So, so.
    • Othello, scene ii

  • It is the very error of the moon;
    She comes more near the earth than she was wont;
    And makes men mad.
    • Othello, scene ii

  • I hold my peace, sir? no;
    No, I will speak as liberal as the north;
    Let heaven and men and devils, let them all,
    All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak.
    • Emilia, scene ii

  • Demand me nothing: what you know, you know:
    From this time forth I never will speak word.
    • Iago, scene ii

  • I pray you, in your letters,
    When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
    Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
    Nor set down aught in malice: then, must you speak
    Of one that lov'd not wisely but too well;
    Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
    Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,
    Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
    Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdu'd eyes
    Albeit unused to the melting mood,
    Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
    Their med'cinable gum. Set you down this;
    And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
    Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk
    Beat a Venetian and traduc'd the state,
    I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
    And smote him thus.
    • Othello, scene ii

  • I kissed thee ere I killed thee, no way but this,
    Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.
    • Othello, scene ii
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