Some key quotes from Act II of ‘Othello’

Remember to keep on top of your quotes as we are progressing through the play! Here are some of the key quotes from the second Act:

Scene 1

‘News, lads! Our wars are done:
The desperate tempest hath so banged the Turks
That their designment halts. A noble ship of Venice
Hath seen a grievous wrack and sufferance
On most part of their fleet.’
Third Gentleman

‘He hath achieved a maid
That paragons description and wild fame,
One that excels the quirks of blazoning pens,
And in th’essential vesture of creation,
Does tire the ingener.’
Cassio, about Othello’s marriage to Desdemona

‘Sir, would she give you so much of her lips
As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,
You’d have enough.’
Iago to Cassio, about Emilia

‘You are pictures out of doors;
Bells in your parlours; wild-cats in your kitchens;
Saints in your injuries; devils being offended;
Players in your housewifery; and housewives
In your beds.’
Iago’s misogynistic view of women

‘These are fond paradoxes to make fools laugh i’th alehouse.’
Desdemona to Iago

‘He takes her by the palm – ay, well said, whisper! – with as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. – Ay, smile upon her, do! I will gyve thee in thine own courtship. – You say true, ’tis so, indeed. – If such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again, you are most apt to play the sir in.’
Iago, in an aside, about Cassio

‘If I were now to die,
”Twere now to be most happy; for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.’
Othello to Desdemona

‘Come hither, if thou be’st valiant – as they say base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them – list me: the lieutenant tonight watches on the court of guard. first, I must tell thee this: Desdemona is directly in love with him.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after – a pestilent complete knave, and the woman hath found him already.’
Iago to Roderigo

‘And nothing can or shall content my soul
Till I am evened with him, wife for wife;
Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor
At least into a jealousy so strong
That judgement cannot cure’
Iago, soliloquy

Scene 3

‘Iago is most honest.’
Othello to Cassio

‘I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking. I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.’
Cassio to Iago

‘If I can fasten but one cup upon him,
With that which he hath drunk tonight already,
He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence
As my young mistress’ dog.’
Iago, soliloquy

‘I learned it in England, where indeed, they are most potent in potting. Your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander – drink, ho! – are nothing to your English.’
Iago to Cassio

‘You see this fellow that is gone before?
He’s a soldier fit to stand by Caesar
And give direction; and do but see his vice –
‘Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
the one as long as th’other. ‘Tis pity of him:
I fear the trust Othello puts him in,
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.’
Iago to Montano

‘And ’tis great pity that the noble Moor
Should hazard such a place as his own second
With one of an ingraft infirmity:
It were an honest action to say
So to the Moor.’
Montano to Iago

‘For Christian shame, put by this barbarous brawl!
He that stirs next to carve for his own rage
Holds his soul light: he dies upon his motion.’
Othello to crowd

‘What’s the matter,
That you unlace your reputation thus,
And spend your rich opinion for the name
Of a night-brawler?’
Othello to Montano

‘Now, by heaven,
My blood begins my safer guides to rule,
And passion, having my best judgement collied,
Assays to lead the way.’
Othello to crowd

‘I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth
Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio.’
Iago to Othello

‘I know, Iago,
Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter,
Making it light to Cassio. – Cassio, I love thee;
But never more be officer of mine.’
Othello to Iago and Cassio

‘Reputation, reputation, reputation! O I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.’
Cassio to Iago

”Reputation’ is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.’
Iago to Cassio

‘I will rather sue to be despised than to deceive so good a commander with so slight, so drunken, and so indiscreet an officer. Drunk, and speak parrot, and squabble? Swagger, swear, and discourse fustian with one’s own shadow? O, thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou has no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!’
Cassio to Iago

‘O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains; that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!’
Cassio to Iago

‘Our general’s wife is now the general.’
Iago to Cassio

‘She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested. This broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to splinter.’
Iago to Cassio

‘For, whiles this honest fool
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortune
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
I’ll pour this pestilence in his ear:
That she repeals him for her body’s lust:
And by how much she strives to do him good
She shall undo her credit with the Moor.’
Iago, soliloquy