Othello

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

DUKE

20How say you by this change?

DUKE

What do you think about this change?

FIRST SENATOR

    This cannot be,
By no assay of reason. 'Tis a pageant,
To keep us in false gaze. When we consider
Th' importancy of Cyprus to the Turk,
And let ourselves again but understand
25That as it more concerns the Turk than Rhodes
So may he with more facile question bear it,
For that it stands not in such warlike brace
But altogether lacks th' abilities
That Rhodes is dressed in. If we make thought of this
30We must not think the Turk is so unskillful
To leave that latest which concerns him first,
Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain
To wake and wage a danger profitless.

FIRST SENATOR

They can’t have changed; there’s no way this could be true. It’s a trick to confuse us. Think about how important Cyprus is to the Turks, and remember that they could capture Cyprus more easily, since it isn’t as well protected as Rhodes is. If we keep these things in mind, we can’t possibly imagine that the Turks would be so incompetent as to put off for last what they want to achieve first, setting aside something easy and profitable to do something dangerous and pointless.

DUKE

Nay, in all confidence, he’s not for Rhodes.

DUKE

No, I think we can be confident that the Turks aren’t really headed for Rhodes.

OFFICER

35Here is more news.

OFFICER

Here’s some more news coming in.
Enter a MESSENGER
A MESSENGER enters.

MESSENGER

The Ottomites, reverend and gracious,
Steering with due course toward the isle of Rhodes,
Have there injointed them with an after fleet.

MESSENGER

Sir, the Turks sailed to Rhodes, where they joined with another fleet.

FIRST SENATOR

Ay, so I thought. How many, as you guess?

FIRST SENATOR

That’s just what I thought. How many, can you guess?

MESSENGER

40Of thirty sail. And now they do re-stem
Their backward course, bearing with frank appearance
Their purposes toward Cyprus. Signior Montano,
Your trusty and most valiant servitor,
With his free duty recommends you thus,
45And prays you to believe him.

MESSENGER

Thirty ships. Now they’ve turned around and are clearly heading for Cyprus. Signor Montano, your brave and loyal servant, gives you this information and asks you to send reinforcements to relieve him.