Othello

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 3

page Act 1 Scene 3 Page 9

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To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
205Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
What cannot be preserved when fortune takes,
Patience her injury a mock'ry makes.
The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief,
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.
bad news. A robbery victim who can smile about his losses is superior to the thief who robbed him, but if he cries he’s just wasting time.

BRABANTIO

210So let the Turk of Cyprus us beguile,
We lose it not, so long as we can smile.
He bears the sentence well that nothing bears
But the free comfort which from thence he hears.
But he bears both the sentence and the sorrow
215That, to pay grief, must of poor patience borrow.
These sentences to sugar or to gall,
Being strong on both sides, are equivocal.
But words are words. I never yet did hear
That the bruised heart was piercèd through the ears.
220I humbly beseech you, proceed to th' affairs of state.

BRABANTIO

So if the Turks steal Cyprus from us, it won’t be bad as long as we keep smiling. It’s easy to accept platitudes like that if you haven’t lost anything. But I’ve lost something precious, and I have to put up with the platitude as well as suffering my loss. Talk is cheap. I’ve never heard of someone feeling better because of someone else’s words. Please, I’m asking you, go ahead and get back to your state affairs.

DUKE

The Turk with a most mighty preparation makes for Cyprus. Othello, the fortitude of the place is best known to you, and though we have there a substitute of most allowed sufficiency, yet opinion, a sovereign mistress of effects, throws a more safer voice on you. You must therefore be content to slubber the gloss of your new fortunes with this more stubborn and boist'rous expedition.

DUKE

The Turks are heading for Cyprus with a powerful fleet. Othello, you understand better than anyone how the defenses for Cyprus work. Even though we have a very good officer in charge there already, everyone says you’re the better man for the job. So I’ll have to ask you to put a damper on your marriage celebrations and take part in this dangerous expedition.

OTHELLO

The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war
My thrice-driven bed of down. I do agnize
225A natural and prompt alacrity
I find in hardness, and do undertake
These present wars against the Ottomites.
Most humbly therefore bending to your state,

OTHELLO

I’ve gotten used to the hardships of a military life. I rise to the occasion when faced with difficulties. I will take charge of this war against the Turks. But I humbly ask you to make appropriate arrangements for my wife,