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Scene Study (Male-Male)


Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul

But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,

Chaos is come again.


My noble lord—


What dost thou say, Iago?


Did Michael Cassio, when you woo’d my lady,

Know of your love?


He did, from first to last. Why dost thou ask?


But for a satisfaction of my thought,

No further harm.


Why of thy thought, Iago?


I did not think he had been acquainted with her.


O yes, and went between us very oft.




Indeed? ay, indeed. Discern’st thou aught in that?

Is he not honest?


Honest, my lord?


Honest? ay, honest.


My lord, for aught I know.


What dost thou think?


Think, my lord?


Think, my lord? By heaven, thou echo’st me,

As if there were some monster in thy thought

Too hideous to be shown. Thou dost mean something.

I heard thee say even now, thou lik’st not that,

When Cassio left my wife. What didst not like?

And when I told thee he was of my counsel

In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst, “Indeed!”

And didst contract and purse thy brow together,

As if thou then hadst shut up in thy brain

Some horrible conceit. If thou dost love me,

Show me thy thought.


My lord, you know I love you.


I think thou dost;

And for I know thou’rt full of love and honesty,

And weigh’st thy words before thou giv’st them breath,

Therefore these stops of thine fright me the more;

For such things in a false disloyal knave

Are tricks of custom; but in a man that’s just

They’re close dilations, working from the heart,

That passion cannot rule.


For Michael Cassio,

I dare be sworn I think that he is honest.


I think so too.


Men should be what they seem,

Or those that be not, would they might seem none!


Certain, men should be what they seem.


Why then I think Cassio’s an honest man.


Nay, yet there’s more in this.

I prithee speak to me as to thy thinkings,

As thou dost ruminate, and give thy worst of thoughts

The worst of words.


Good my lord, pardon me:

Though I am bound to every act of duty,

I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.

Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vild and false,

As where’s that palace whereinto foul things

Sometimes intrude not? Who has that breast so pure

But some uncleanly apprehensions

Keep leets and law-days and in sessions sit

With meditations lawful?


Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,

If thou but think’st him wrong’d, and mak’st his ear

A stranger to thy thoughts.


I do beseech you,

Though I perchance am vicious in my guess

(As I confess it is my nature’s plague

To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy

Shapes faults that are not), that your wisdom then,

From one that so imperfectly conjects,

Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble

Out of his scattering and unsure observance.

It were not for your quiet nor your good,

Nor for my manhood, honesty, and wisdom,

To let you know my thoughts.


’Zounds, what dost thou mean?


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.


By heaven, I’ll know thy thoughts.


You cannot, if my heart were in your hand,

Nor shall not, whilst ’tis in my custody.




O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!

It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock

The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss

Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;

But O, what damned minutes tells he o’er

Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves!


O misery!


Poor and content is rich, and rich enough,

But riches fineless is as poor as winter

To him that ever fears he shall be poor.

Good God, the souls of all my tribe defend

From jealousy!


Why? why is this?

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 resolv’d. Exchange me for a goat,

When I shall turn the business of my soul

To such exsufflicate and blown surmises,

Matching thy inference. ’Tis not to make me jealous

To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,

Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well;

Where virtue is, these are more virtuous.

Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw

The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt,

For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago,

I’ll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;

And on the proof, there is no more but this—

Away at once with love or jealousy!


I am glad of this, for now I shall have reason

To show the love and duty that I bear you

With franker spirit; therefore (as I am bound)

Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof.

Look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio,

Wear your eyes thus, not jealious nor secure.

I would not have your free and noble nature,

Out of self-bounty, be abus’d; look to’t.

I know our country disposition well:

In Venice they do let God see the pranks

They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience

Is not to leave’t undone, but keep’t unknown.


Dost thou say so?


She did deceive her father, marrying you,

And when she seem’d to shake and fear your looks,

She lov’d them most.


And so she did.


Why, go to then.

She that so young could give out such a seeming

To seel her father’s eyes up, close as oak,

He thought ’twas witchcraft—but I am much to blame;

I humbly do beseech you of your pardon

For too much loving you.


I am bound to thee for ever.


I see this hath a little dash’d your spirits.


Not a jot, not a jot.


I’ faith, I fear it has.

I hope you will consider what is spoke

Comes from my love. But I do see y’ are mov’d.

I am to pray you not to strain my speech

To grosser issues nor to larger reach

Than to suspicion.


I will not.


Should you do so, my lord,

My speech should fall into such vild success

Which my thoughts aim’d not. Cassio’s my worthy friend—

My lord, I see y’ are mov’d.


No, not much mov’d:

I do not think but Desdemona’s honest.


Long live she so! and long live you to think so!


And yet how nature erring from itself—


Ay, there’s the point; as (to be bold with you)

Not to affect many proposed matches

Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,

Whereto we see in all things nature tends—

Foh, one may smell in such, a will most rank,

Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural.

But (pardon me) I do not in position

Distinctly speak of her, though I may fear

Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,

May fall to match you with her country forms,

And happily repent.


Farewell, farewell!

If more thou dost perceive, let me know more;

Set on thy wife to observe. Leave me, Iago.



My lord, I take my leave.


Why did I marry? This honest creature, doubtless,

Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.


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