Othello

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 3

page Act 2 Scene 3 Page 14

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CASSIO

240You advise me well.

CASSIO

That’s good advice.

IAGO

I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness.

IAGO

I’m helping you because I like and respect you.

CASSIO

I think it freely, and betimes in the morning I will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for me. I am desperate of my fortunes if they check me.

CASSIO

I believe it completely. Early in the morning I’ll go visit Desdemona and plead my case. My situation is desperate.

IAGO

You are in the right. Good night, lieutenant, I must to the watch.

IAGO

You’re doing the right thing. Good night, lieutenant. I’ve got to go to the guard tower.

CASSIO

Good night, honest Iago.

CASSIO

Good night, honest Iago.
Exit
CASSIO exits.

IAGO

245And 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
Th' inclining Desdemona to subdue
250In any honest suit. She’s framed as fruitful
As the free elements. And then for her
To win the Moor, were to renounce his baptism,
All seals and symbols of redeemèd sin,
His soul is so enfettered to her love,
255That 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!
260When 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 fortune
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
265I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear:

IAGO

Who can say I’m evil when my advice is so good? That’s really the best way to win the Moor back again. It’s easy to get Desdemona on your side. She’s full of good intentions. And the Moor loves her so much he would renounce his Christianity to keep her happy. He’s so enslaved by love that she can make him do whatever she wants. How am I evil to advise Cassio to do exactly what’ll do him good? That’s the kind of argument you’d expect from Satan! When devils are about to commit their biggest sins they put on their most heavenly faces, just like I’m doing now. And while this fool is begging Desdemona to help him, and while she’s pleading his case to the Moor, I’ll poison the Moor’s ear against her, hinting that she’s taking Cassio’s side because of her lust for him. The more she