by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

DESDEMONA asleep in bed Enter OTHELLO with a light
DESDEMONA is asleep in bed. OTHELLO enters with a candle.
It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul.
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars,
It is the cause. Yet I’ll not shed her blood,
Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow
5And smooth as monumental alabaster.
Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then put out the light.
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore
10Should I repent me. But once put out thy light,
Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume. When I have plucked thy rose
I cannot give it vital growth again,
15It must needs wither. I’ll smell thee on the tree.
Oh, balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword! One more, one more.
Be thus when thou art dead and I will kill thee
And love thee after. (kissing her) One more, and that’s the last.
20So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears. This sorrow’s heavenly,
It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.
I have to do it, I have to do it. I have to keep my reason in mind. I won’t say out loud what my reason is, but I have to do it. But I won’t shed any of her blood or scar that beautiful skin, whiter than snow and smooth as the finest marble. But she’s got to die, or she’ll cheat on other men. Put out the light of the candle, and then put out the light of her heart. If I extinguish the candle, I can light it again if I regret it. But once I kill you, you beautiful, fake woman, I do not know the magic that could bring you back. When I’ve plucked this rose, I can’t make it grow again; it will have no choice but to wither and die. Let me smell you while you’re still on the tree. (he kisses her) Oh, that sweet breath almost convinces me not to kill you and carry out justice. One more, one more kiss. If you’re this beautiful when you’re dead, I’ll kill you and then love you afterward. (kissing her) One more, and this is the last. Such a sweet kiss was never so deadly. I have to cry, but I have to be cruel too. I’m acting like God in the Old Testament—I have to punish the one I love. She’s waking up.
Who’s there? Othello?
Who’s there? Othello?
Ay, Desdemona.
Yes, Desdemona.