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Iago. Even he, sir; did you know him?
Know him, ay.
Iago. Signior Gratiano? I cry you gentle pardon; These bloody accidents must excuse my manners, That so neglected you.
Iago. He, he, 'tis he:-O, that's well said;-the [A Chair brought in.
Some good man bear him carefully from hence;
Was my dear friend: What malice was between you? Cas. None in the world; nor do I know the man. Iago. [To BIAN.] What, look you pale?—0, bear him out o'the air.
[CASSIO and ROD. are borne off. Stay you, good gentlemen 13:-Look you pale, mistress?
Do you perceive the gastness of her eye 14?-
Do you see, gentlemen? nay, guiltiness will speak,
13 Thus the folio. The quarto reads-Stay you, good gentlewoman. It seems probable that Iago addresses Lodovico and Gratiano, who are going away to assist Cassio, and to see him properly taken care of. The subsequent appeal and address of Iago to them appears to confirm this supposition. Malone follows the quarto, and defends the reading of it.
14 The quarto, instead of gastness, reads jestures, and instead of stare, in the next line, has stirre.
15 So in Hamlet:
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak,
Emil. 'Las, what's the matter; what's the matter, husband?
Iago. Cassio hath here been set on in the dark, By Roderigo, and fellows that are 'scap'd; He's almost slain, and Roderigo dead.
Emil. Alas, good gentleman! alas, good Cassio! Iago. This is the fruit of whoring.-'Pr'ythee, Emilia,
Go know of Cassio where he supp'd to-night 16:What, do you shake at that?
Bian. He supp'd at my house; but I therefore shake not.
Iago. O, did he so? I charge you, go with me. Emil. Fye, fye upon thee, strumpet!
Bian. I am no strumpet; but of life as honest, you that thus abuse me.
As I foh! fye upon thee!
Iago. Kind gentlemen, let's go see poor Cassio
Come, mistress, you must tell us another tale.—
16 In the second scene of the preceding act Iago informs Roderigo that Cassio was to sup with Bianca; that he would go to him there, and bring him away between twelve and one. deed Cassio had himself told Iago that he would sup with Bianca, and Iago had promised to meet him at her house. We must suppose, therefore, that this consummate villain thought it more secure to waylay him, as we find he does, without actually joining him at suppertime. Otherwise Bianca would surely have answered :
Steevens suggests that as the former line is imperfect, some such words may have been accidentally omitted. His other supposition, perhaps the poet was unwilling that Bianca should say, in the presence of Iago's wife, that he too had been of the supper party,' is much less probable.
And tell my lord and lady what has happ'd.-
SCENE II. A Bedchamber: DESDEMONA in Bed asleep. A Light burning:
Oth. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul, Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars 1!It is the cause.-Yet I'll not shed her blood; Nor scar that whiter skin of her's than snow, And smooth as monumental alabaster.
[Takes off his sword. Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men. Put out the light, and then-Put out the light?!
17 To fordo is to undo, to ruin, to destroy. So in Hamlet:Did with desperate hand
Fordo its own life.'
1 Othello, full of horror at the cruel action which he is about to perpetrate, seems at this instant to be seeking his justification, from representing to himself the cause, i. e. the greatness of the provocation he had received.
2 The old copy gives this line thus:
Put out the light, and then put out the light.'
The present regulation of the passage, by which so much beauty and spirit is added to it, was proposed by Mr. Upton, but it is to be found in Ayres's Life of Pope; it may therefore have originated with Warburton, who thus explains it :-The meaning is, I will put out the light, and then proceed to the execution of my purpose. But the expression of putting out the light, bringing to mind the effects of the extinction of the light of life, he breaks short, and questions himself about the effects of this metaphorical extinction, introduced by a repetition of his first words, as much as to say,—But hold, let me first weigh the reflection which this expression naturally excites.' Dr. Farmer treats this as a refinement of Warburton's, observing that to put out the light was a phrase for to kill. Malone stoutly combats on the same side, but his arguments have not convinced me, and I have therefore followed Warburton's arrangement. Mr. Boswell
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
Should I repent me:—but once put out thine3,
I know not where is that Promethean heat, That can thy light relume. When I have pluck'd thy rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again,
It needs must wither:-I'll smell it on the tree.
O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Ay, Desdemona. Des. Will you come to bed, my lord?
Oth. Have you pray'd to-night, Desdemona?
would have done so if he could have used his own discretion. I have felt bound (says he) to print the text according to Mr. Malone's opinion; but if Warburton's explanation be an error, it is demptus per vim, I for one am very sorry to part with it. Broken sentences, as Mr. Malone has more than once observed, are very much in our poet's manner, and are surely natural in the perturbed state of Othello's mind. I am unwilling to persuade myself that a regulation of the text which contains so much beauty could be merely the refinement of a critic, and that our great author, in one of his most highly-wrought scenes, instead of it, intended nothing but a cold conceit.
3 Thus the quarto. The folio reads-put out thy light. Steevens adopted the present reading for the sake of the measure, and to avoid the useless repetition of the word light.
4 Thus the folio. The first quarto-returne: the second quarto-relumine.
5 This image seems to be derived from Scripture :-' Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.'
Ay, my lord.
Oth. If you bethink yourself of any crime, Unreconcil❜d as yet to heaven and grace, Solicit for it straight.
Des. Alas, my lord, what may you mean by that? Oth. Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by: I would not kill thy unprepared spirit;
No,-Heaven forfend !—I would not kill thy soul. Des. Talk you of killing?
Ay, I do.
mercy on me!
Amen, with all my heart!
Des. If you say so, I hope you will not kill me. Oth. Humph!
Des. And yet I fear you: for you are fatal then, When your eyes roll so: Why I should fear, I know not,
Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel, I fear. Oth. Think on thy sins.
They are loves I bear to you. Oth. Ay, and for that thou diest.
Des. That death's unnatural, that kills for loving.— Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame:
6 Davenant has borrowed this thought in his Law of Lombardy:
'I am not fraught with the devil's spleen; I would
not hurt thy soul.'
Othello seems to have been a favourite of his author; for he has bestowed on him that piety he has refused to Hamlet. See p. 268, ante.-Steevens.
7 This thought is likewise found in The Legend of Orpheus and Euridice, by H. L. 1597 :
'Unnatural that kill where you should kiss.'
And in King Richard III. :
'It is a quarrel most unnatural,
To be reveng'd on him that loveth thee.'