Act V - Scene I

[Cyprus. A street.]

Enter Iago and Roderigo.

IAGO:
Here, stand behind this bulk; straight will he come:
Wear thy good rapier bare, and put it home.
Quick, quick; fear nothing; I'll be at thy elbow.
It makes us, or it mars us; think on that,
And fix most firm thy resolution.(5)
ROD:
Be near at hand; I may miscarry in't.
IAGO:
Here, at thy hand, be bold, and take thy stand.

[Retires.]

ROD:
I have no great devotion to the deed;
And yet he hath given me satisfying reasons:
’Tis but a man gone. Forth, my sword; he dies.(10)
IAGO:
I have rubb'd this young quat almost to the sense,
And he grows angry. Now, whether he kill Cassio,
Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other,
Every way makes my gain. Live Roderigo,
He calls me to a restitution large(15)
Of gold and jewels that I bobb'd from him,
As gifts to Desdemona;
It must not be. If Cassio do remain,
He hath a daily beauty in his life
That makes me ugly; and besides, the Moor(20)
May unfold me to him; there stand I in much peril:
No, he must die. Be't so. I hear him coming.

Enter Cassio.

ROD:
I know his gait; 'tis he. Villain, thou diest!
CASSIO:
That thrust had been mine enemy indeed,
But that my coat is better than thou know'st;(25)
I will make proof of thine.
ROD:
O, I am slain!

[Iago from behind wounds Cassio in the leg, and exit.]

CASSIO:
I am maim'd forever. Help, ho! Murder! Murder!

Enter Othello]

OTHELLO:
The voice of Cassio; Iago keeps his word.
ROD:
O, villain that I am!(30)
OTHELLO:
It is even so.
CASSIO:
O, help, ho! Light! A surgeon!
OTHELLO:
’Tis he. O brave Iago, honest and just,
That hast such noble sense of thy friend's wrong!
Thou teachest me. Minion, your dear lies dead,(35)
And your unblest fate hies. Strumpet, I come!
Forth of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted;
Thy bed, lust-stain'd shall with lust's blood be spotted.

Exit.

Enter Lodovico and Gratiano.

CASSIO:
What, ho! No watch? No passage? Murder! Murder!
GRATIANO:
’Tis some mischance; the cry is very direful.(40)
CASSIO:
O, help!
LODOVICO:
Hark!
ROD:
O wretched villain!
LODOVICO:
Two or three groan; it is a heavy night:
These may be counterfeits; let's think't unsafe(45)
To come in to the cry without more help.
ROD:
Nobody come? Then shall I bleed to death.

Enter Iago, with a light.

LODOVICO:
Hark!
GRATIANO:
Here's one comes in his shirt, with light and
weapons.(50)
IAGO:
Who's there? Whose noise is this that cries on murder?
LODOVICO:
We do not know.
IAGO:
Did not you hear a cry?
CASSIO:
Here, here! for heaven's sake, help me!
IAGO:
What's the matter?(55)
GRATIANO:
This is Othello's ancient, as I take it.
LODOVICO:
The same indeed; a very valiant fellow.
IAGO:
What are you here that cry so grievously?
CASSIO:
Iago? O, I am spoil'd, undone by villains!
Give me some help.(60)
IAGO:
O me, lieutenant! What villains have done this?
CASSIO:
I think that one of them is hereabout,
And cannot make away.
IAGO:
O treacherous villains!
What are you there? Come in and give some help.(65)
ROD:
O, help me here!
CASSIO:
That's one of them.
IAGO:
O murderous slave! O villain!
ROD:
O damn'd Iago! O inhuman dog!
IAGO:
Kill men i' the dark! Where be these bloody thieves?(70)
How silent is this town! Ho! Murder! Murder!
What may you be? Are you of good or evil?
LODOVICO:
As you shall prove us, praise us.
IAGO:
Signior Lodovico?
LODOVICO:
He, sir.(75)
IAGO:
I cry you mercy. Here's Cassio hurt by villains.
GRATIANO:
Cassio?
IAGO:
How is't, brother?
CASSIO:
My leg is cut in two.
IAGO:
Marry, heaven forbid!(80)
Light, gentlemen; I'll bind it with my shirt.

Enter Bianca.

BIANCA:
What is the matter, ho? Who is't that cried?
IAGO:
Who is't that cried!
BIANCA:
O my dear Cassio, my sweet Cassio! O Cassio, Cassio,
Cassio!(85)
IAGO:
O notable strumpet! Cassio, may you suspect
Who they should be that have thus mangled you?
CASSIO:
No.
GRATIANO:
I am sorry to find you thus; I have been to seek
you.(90)
IAGO:
Lend me a garter. So. O, for a chair,
To bear him easily hence!
BIANCA:
Alas, he faints! O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!
IAGO:
Gentlemen all, I do suspect this trash
To be a party in this injury.(95)
Patience awhile, good Cassio. Come, come;
Lend me a light. Know we this face or no?
Alas, my friend and my dear countryman
Roderigo? No—yes, sure. O heaven! Roderigo.
GRATIANO:
What, of Venice?(100)
IAGO:
Even he, sir. Did you know him?
GRATIANO:
Know him! ay.
IAGO:
Signior Gratiano? I cry you gentle pardon;
These bloody accidents must excuse my manners,
That so neglected you.(105)
GRATIANO:
I am glad to see you.
IAGO:
How do you, Cassio? O, a chair, a chair!
GRATIANO:
Roderigo!
IAGO:
He, he, ’tis he. O, that's well said: the chair.
Some good man bear him carefully from hence;(110)
I'll fetch the general's surgeon.
For you, mistress,
Save you your labor. He that lies slain here, Cassio,
Was my dear friend; what malice was between you?
CASSIO:
None in the world; nor do I know the man.(115)
IAGO:
What, look you pale? O, bear him out o' the air.
Stay you, good gentlemen. Look you pale, mistress?
Do you perceive the gastness of her eye?
Nay, if you stare, we shall hear more anon.
Behold her well; I pray you, look upon her.(120)
Do you see, gentlemen? Nay, guiltiness will speak,
Though tongues were out of use.

Enter Emilia.

EMILIA:
’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 ‘scaped;(125)
He's almost slain, and Roderigo dead.
EMILIA:
Alas, good gentleman! alas, good Cassio!
IAGO:
This is the fruit of whoring. Prithee, Emilia,
Go know of Cassio where he supp'd tonight.
What, do you shake at that?(130)
BIANCA:
He supp'd at my house; but I therefore shake not.
IAGO:
O, did he so? I charge you, go with me.
EMILIA:
Fie, fie upon thee, strumpet!
BIANCA:
I am no strumpet, but of life as honest
As you that thus abuse me.(135)
EMILIA:
As I! foh! fie upon thee!
IAGO:
Kind gentlemen, let's go see poor Cassio dress'd.
Come, mistress, you must tell's another tale.
Emilia, run you to the citadel,
And tell my lord and lady what hath happ'd!(140)
Will you go on? [Aside.] This is the night
That either makes me or fordoes me quite.

Exeunt.

Footnotes

  1. Each of Shakespeare’s plays follows a five-part plot structure that unfolds over the course of its acts. The five parts are: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. As the resolution of the play’s events draws near, Iago senses the coming consequences. Because of his deep involvement in every detail of the plot, he understands that he will either succeed or perish.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. Iago finds a means to pin Cassio’s death on Bianca. His strategy is to frame her look of shock upon witnessing Cassio’s death as evidence of her guilt. Iago also preemptively discredits her words, saying “guiltiness will speak,/Though tongues were out of use.”

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Upon this line, Iago stabs Rodrigo. As always, Iago’s actions are entirely self-serving for he has no true allegiances. There is an irony in Rodrigo’s choice to call Iago a dog, an animal known for its loyalty, during this act of complete disloyalty.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. In a rhyming couplet, Othello addresses Desdemona from afar. He claims that her hold on him, represented by her eyes, has been “blotted,” or removed. The second line is highly ironic. While Othello plans to spill Desdemona’s lustful blood on their bed, the sheets are already stained with her matrimonial blood—the symbol of her faithfulness.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. Othello fails to understand the situation before him. He believes Iago has slain Cassio as a punishment for his adultery. The dramatic irony is sharp here, for the audience understands that Iago is not “honest and just” in his intentions nor acting on Othello’s behalf. The word “hie” means “hasten,” suggesting that Cassio is hastening towards his death.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. When Iago sees the outcome of the altercation—that Cassio has beaten Rodrigo—he intervenes and delivers a blow to Cassio. To complicate matters, Cassio does not die, and his cries attract the attention of Othello.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. “Quat” is an antiquated word that means both “pimple” and “young person.” Iago uses both definitions here, teasing Rodrigo for his sensitivity. As Iago tells us, he wants both Rodrigo and Cassio to die. Rodrigo is a problem because he wants his money back; Cassio is a problem because “the Moor may unfold [Iago] to him.” In other words, if Othello and Cassio were to meet and talk, they could unravel Iago’s schemes.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. Iago coaxes Rodrigo into killing Cassio and reminds him of the stakes of the situation. In a clever, alliterative phrase, Iago claims that this moment “makes us, or mars us.” Iago, manipulative as ever, attempts to be as uninvolved in the murder as possible.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff