Othello

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 3

page Act 3 Scene 3 Page 9

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OTHELLO

    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
185Is to be resolved. Exchange me for a goat
When I shall turn the business of my soul
To such exsufflicate and blowed surmises,
Matching thy inference. 'Tis not to make me jealous
To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,
190Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances.
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,
195I’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!

OTHELLO

Why are you telling me this? Do you think I would live a life of jealousy, tormented by new suspicions every hour? No. If there’s any doubt, there is no doubt. I might as well be a goat if I ever let myself become obsessed with the kind of suspicions you’re implying. If you say my wife is beautiful, eats well, loves good company, speaks freely, sings, plays music, and dances well, you’re not making me jealous. When a woman is virtuous, talents like these just make her better. And I’m not going to start feeling inferior. She had her eyes wide open when she chose me. No, Iago, I’ll have to see some real evidence before I start suspecting her of anything bad, and when I suspect her, I’ll look for proof, and if there’s proof, that’s when I’ll let go of my love and my jealousy.

IAGO

I am glad of this, for now I shall have reason
To show the love and duty that I bear you
200With 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 jealous nor secure.
I would not have your free and noble nature
205Out of self-bounty be abused. 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.

IAGO

I’m glad to hear you say that. Now I can show you my devotion and my duty with more honesty. So please listen to me. I’m not talking about proof yet. Watch your wife. Watch how she is with Cassio. Just watch—don’t be either completely suspicious or completely trustful. I wouldn’t want to see you taken advantage of because you’re such an open and trusting guy. Watch out! I know the people of Venice well. They let God see things they wouldn’t show their husbands. They don’t avoid doing things that are wrong, they just try not to get caught.

OTHELLO

210Dost thou say so?

OTHELLO

Do you really think so?