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by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

RODERIGO and IAGO enter.
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.
Come on, don’t tell me that. I don’t like it that you knew about this, Iago. All this time I’ve thought you were such a good friend that I’ve let you spend my money as if it was yours.
'Sblood, but you’ll not hear me! If ever I did dream of such a matter, abhor me.
Damn it, you’re not listening to me! I never dreamed this was happening—if you find out I did, you can go ahead and hate me.
Thou told’st me
Thou didst hold him in thy hate.
You told me you hated him.
Despise me
If I do not. Three great ones of the city
10(In personal suit to make me his lieutenant)
Off-capped 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
15Horribly stuffed with epithets of war,
And in conclusion
Nonsuits my mediators. For “Certes,” says he,
“I have already chose my officer.”
And what was he?
20Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine
(A fellow almost damned in a fair wife)
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
25More than a spinster—unless the bookish theoric,
I do hate


They\’re talking about Othello, though they never mention his name.

, I swear. Three of Venice’s most important noblemen took their hats off to him and asked him humbly to make me his lieutenant, the second in command. And I know my own worth well enough to know I deserve that position. But he wants to have things his own way, so he sidesteps the issue with a lot of military talk and refuses their request. “I’ve already chosen my lieutenant,” he says. And who does he choose? A guy who knows more about numbers than fighting! This guy from Florence named Michael Cassio. He has a pretty wife but he can’t even control her. And he’s definitely never commanded men in battle. He’s got no more hands-on knowledge of warfare than an old woman—unless you count what he’s read in books,