Othello

ACT I

SCENE I. Venice. A street.

Enter RODERIGO and IAGO

RODERIGO

Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly
That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.

IAGO

‘Sblood, but you will not hear me:
If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.

RODERIGO

Thou told’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

IAGO

Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city,
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Off-capp’d to him: and, by the faith of man,
I know my price, I am worth no worse a place:
But he; as loving his own pride and purposes,
Evades them, with a bombast circumstance
Horribly stuff’d with epithets of war;
And, in conclusion,
Nonsuits my mediators; for, ‘Certes,’ says he,
‘I have already chose my officer.’
And what was he?
Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife;
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
Wherein the toged consuls can propose
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practise,
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:
And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof
At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds
Christian and heathen, must be be-lee’d and calm’d
By debitor and creditor: this counter-caster,
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
And I–God bless the mark!–his Moorship’s ancient.

[…]

IAGO

‘Zounds, sir, you’re robb’d; for shame, put on
your gown;
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise;
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
Arise, I say.

 

List of words:

Abhor – regard with disgust and hatred

Epithet – An adjective or phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned

Squadron – An operational division of an armored regiment, with two or more troops.

Spinster – An unmarried woman, usually quite old

Toged – obsolete, incomparable

Prattle – Baby babble

Ancient – An officer next in rank to a lieutenant

Hangman – Young rascals

Affined – Related or connected

Tush – Expressing disapproval, an exclamation

Grandsire – Grandfather

 

Translation:

 

RODERIGO

Ughh no! Do not tell me, I am mad

That you, Iago, who has had a connection with me

As if you were the one controlling my affairs, should know about this

IAGO

But you will not hear me:

If I ever dream of this, make me feel disgusted.

RODERIGO

You told me that you hate him.

IAGO

Hate me, if I do not. There are three great men in the city,

Each trying to make me his lieutenant,

People know in their hearts,

I know my own abilities, I am deserving of this position:

But he; following his own sense of pride and intentions,

Ignores them, with a bad circumstance,

Horribly filled with attributes of the war;

And, finally,

Against my mediators; for, ‘Certes,’ he says,

‘I have already chosen my officer.’

And who was the officer?

Forsooth, a great mathematician,

Michael Cassio, a Florentine,

A fellow undeserving of his beautiful wife;

He never led a troop in the field,

Nor does he know how a battle works

More than a old unmarried woman; except for theories in books,

Which can be thought of by obsolete scholars

As good as he is: only childish talking, no actual experience,

The only reliable ability in him. But he, sir, had been chosen:

And I, whose eyes had seen places

At Rhodes, at Cyprus and in other sites

Christian and other religious people, must be taken care of

By debitor and creditor: this one who keeps accounts,

He, having the luck, is Othello’s lieutenant,

And I am — Dear God above! — the black Muslim’s officer under the lieutenant.

[…]

IAGO

Get up, sir, you have been cheated on; this will be shameful to you, put on your gown;

Your heart is hurt badly, you have lost your dearest treasure;

Even now, now, right now, an old black male goat

Is doing shameful things with your pure white sheep. Get up, get up;

Wake up the city with alarm,

Or the devil will take full advantage of you:

Get up, I say again.

 

Figures of Speech:

Alliteration “counter-caster” further adds a mocking tone to Iago’s speech about Cassio.

The metaphor “old black ram” means Othello while “white ewe” means Desdemona. By comparing Othello to a black ram, Iago implies that Othello is no better than an animal driven by instinct. Even though “white ewe” signifies purity, by comparing the couple to farm animals, Iago shows that he does not regard them highly.

(I translated the first 32 lines but there weren’t much figurative speech in there so I added another part of Iago’s line).

 

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