Othello

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 3

page Act 3 Scene 3 Page 7

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IAGO

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

IAGO

People should be what they appear to be. If they’re not honest, they shouldn’t look like they are!

OTHELLO

Certain, men should be what they seem.

OTHELLO

Absolutely, people should be what they appear to be.

IAGO

Why then I think Cassio’s an honest man.

IAGO

In that case, I think Cassio’s an honest man.

OTHELLO

135Nay, 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.

OTHELLO

No, I think there’s more to this than you’re letting on. Please tell me what you’re thinking—even your worst suspicions.

IAGO

    Good my lord, pardon me,
Though I am bound to every act of duty
140I am not bound to that all slaves are free to.
Utter my thoughts? Why, say they are vile and false,
As where’s that palace whereinto foul things
Sometimes intrude not? Who has that breast so pure
Wherein uncleanly apprehensions
145Keep leets and law-days and in sessions sit
With meditations lawful?

IAGO

Please don’t make me do that, sir. I have to obey all your orders, but surely I’m not obligated to reveal my deepest thoughts—even slaves aren’t expected to do that. You want me to say what I’m thinking? What if my thoughts are disgusting and wrong? Even good people think horrible things sometimes. Who is so pure that they never think a bad thought?

OTHELLO

Thou dost conspire against thy friend, Iago,
If thou but think’st him wronged and mak’st his ear
A stranger to thy thoughts.

OTHELLO

You’re not being a good friend, Iago, if you even think your friend has been wronged and you don’t tell him about it.

IAGO

    I do beseech you,
150Though 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,
From one that so imperfectly conceits,
155Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble
Out of his scattering and unsure observance.
It were not for your quiet nor your good,

IAGO

Please don’t ask me to tell you. I might be completely wrong. I have a bad tendency to be suspicious of people and to look too closely into what they’re doing. Often I imagine crimes that aren’t really there. You would be wise to ignore my weak guesses and imaginary suspicions, and don’t worry yourself about the meaningless things I’ve noticed. For me to tell you my thoughts would only destroy your peace of mind, and