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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Othello Scenes


Scene 3

Cyprus. Another room in the castle.

(Othello; Lodovico; Desdemona; Emilia; Attendants)

After dinner, Othello leads Lodovico and his attendants to their lodgings, ordering Desdemona to go to bed and dismiss Emilia. Emilia is concerned. Desdemona remembers a maid in her parents’ house who died of love, and sings a sad song that the maid had. She innocently asks Emilia if there actually are women who cheat on their husbands, and Emilia assures her that there are; when Desdemona says she would never do such a thing, Emilia replies that she might if the stakes were high enough. Emilia argues that the men are to blame if women do commit adultery, since the men do so themselves. Desdemona is shocked. ( line)

Enter Othello, Lodovico, Desdemona, Emilia, and Attendants.

LOD.

I do beseech you, sir, trouble yourself no further.

OTH.

O, pardon me; ’twill do me good to walk.

LOD.

Madam, good night; I humbly thank your ladyship.

DES.

Your honor is most welcome.

OTH.

Will you walk, sir?

O, Desdemona!

DES.

My lord?

OTH.

Get you to bed on th’ instant, I will be return’d forthwith. Dismiss your attendant there. Look’t be done.

DES.

I will, my lord.

Exeunt Othello, Lodovico, and Attendants.

EMIL.

How goes it now? He looks gentler than he did.

DES.

He says he will return incontinent,

And hath commanded me to go to bed,

And bid me to dismiss you.

EMIL.

Dismiss me?

DES.

It was his bidding; therefore, good Emilia,

Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu.

We must not now displease him.

EMIL.

I would you had never seen him!

DES.

So would not I. My love doth so approve him,

That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns—

Prithee unpin me—have grace and favor in them.

EMIL.

I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.

DES.

All’s one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds!

If I do die before thee, prithee shroud me

In one of these same sheets.

EMIL.

Come, come; you talk.

DES.

My mother had a maid call’d Barbary;

She was in love, and he she lov’d prov’d mad,

And did forsake her. She had a song of “Willow,”

An old thing ’twas, but it express’d her fortune,

And she died singing it. That song tonight

Will not go from my mind; I have much to do

But to go hang my head all at one side

And sing it like poor Barbary. Prithee dispatch.

EMIL.

Shall I go fetch your night-gown?

DES.

No, unpin me here.

This Lodovico is a proper man.

EMIL.

A very handsome man.

DES.

He speaks well.

EMIL.

I know a lady in Venice would have walk’d barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.

DES.

Singing.

“The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,

Sing all a green willow;

Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,

Sing willow, willow, willow.

The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur’d her moans,

Sing willow, willow, willow;

Her salt tears fell from her, and soft’ned the stones,

Sing willow”—

Lay by these—

Singing.

“— willow, willow”—

Prithee hie thee; he’ll come anon—

Singing.

“Sing all a green willow must be my garland.

Let nobody blame him, his scorn I approve”—

Nay, that’s not next. Hark, who is’t that knocks?

EMIL.

It’s the wind.

DES.

Singing.

“I call’d my love false love; but what said he then?

Sing willow, willow, willow;

If I court more women, you’ll couch with more men.”—

So get thee gone, good night. Mine eyes do itch;

Doth that bode weeping?

EMIL.

’Tis neither here nor there.

DES.

I have heard it said so. O, these men, these men!

Dost thou in conscience think—tell me, Emilia—

That there be women do abuse their husbands

In such gross kind?

EMIL.

There be some such, no question.

DES.

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

EMIL.

Why, would not you?

DES.

No, by this heavenly light!

EMIL.

Nor I neither by this heavenly light;

I might do’t as well i’ th’ dark.

DES.

Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?

EMIL.

The world’s a huge thing; it is a great price

For a small vice.

DES.

Good troth, I think thou wouldst not.

EMIL.

By my troth, I think I should, and undo’t when I had done’t. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty exhibition; but, for all the whole world—’ud’s pity, who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch? I should venture purgatory for’t.

DES.

Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong

For the whole world.

EMIL.

Why, the wrong is but a wrong i’ th’ world; and having the world for your labor, ’tis a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right.

DES.

I do not think there is any such woman.

EMIL.

Yes, a dozen; and as many to th’ vantage as would store the world they play’d for.

But I do think it is their husbands’ faults

If wives do fall. Say that they slack their duties,

And pour our treasures into foreign laps;

Or else break out in peevish jealousies,

Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,

Or scant our former having in despite:

Why, we have galls; and though we have some grace,

Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know

Their wives have sense like them; they see, and smell,

And have their palates both for sweet and sour,

As husbands have. What is it that they do

When they change us for others? Is it sport?

I think it is. And doth affection breed it?

I think it doth. Is’t frailty that thus errs?

It is so too. And have not we affections,

Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?

Then let them use us well; else let them know,

The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

DES.

Good night, good night. God me such uses send,

Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend.

Exeunt.

 
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