by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

    O fool! fool! fool!
Oh, what a fool I am!
340There is besides in Roderigo’s letter
How he upbraids Iago, that he made him
Brave me upon the watch, whereon it came
That I was cast. And even but now he spake,
After long seeming dead—Iago hurt him,
345Iago set him on.
Also, in his letter to Iago, Roderigo criticizes Iago for telling him to get me angry while I was on guard duty, and get me demoted. And just now he admitted it, even though he’d seemed to be dead for a long while—Iago tricked him, Iago urged him to do it.
(to OTHELLO) You must forsake this room and go with us.
Your power and your command is taken off
And Cassio rules in Cyprus. For this slave,
If there be any cunning cruelty
350That can torment him much and hold him long,
It shall be his. You shall close prisoner rest
Till that the nature of your fault be known
To the Venetian state.—Come, bring him away.
You’ll have to leave this room and come with us. You’re stripped of your power and your command, and Cassio will govern Cyprus. As for this slave, Iago, if we can think of any torture that will hurt him a lot but keep him alive a long time, he’ll have it. You’ll remain a prisoner until we bring your crimes to the Venetian government.—Okay, take him away.
Soft you, a word or two before you go.
355I have done the state some service, and they know ’t.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak
360Of one that loved not wisely, but too well.
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought,
Perplexed in the extreme. Of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe. Of one whose subdued eyes,
365Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this,
Wait. A word or two before you go. I’ve given the state of Venice a bit of help in the past, and they know it. But enough about that. When you record these sad events in your letters, please describe me exactly as I am. Don’t tone things down or exaggerate them out of hostility. If you’re being fair, you’ll have to describe me as someone who loved too much, but who wasn’t wise about it. I was not easily made jealous, but once I was tricked and manipulated, I worked myself into a frenzy. Describe me as a fool who threw away a precious pearl with his own hands, like a silly Indian who didn’t know what it was worth. As someone who was not emotional, but who then cried a lot. Write all this