Othello’s Defense Three Versions


Good your grace, pardon me;
Neither my place nor aught I heard of business Hath raised me from my bed, nor doth the general
care Take hold on me, for my particular grief
Is of so flood-gate and o’erbearing nature That it engluts and swallows other sorrows
And it is still itself. DUKE OF VENICE Why, what’s the matter?
BRABANTIO My daughter! O, my daughter! DUKE OF VENICE, Senator Dead?
BRABANTIO Ay, to me; She is abused, stol’n from me, and corrupted By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
For nature so preposterously to err, Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
Sans witchcraft could not. DUKE OF VENICE Whoe’er he be that in this
foul proceeding Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself
And you of her, the bloody book of law You shall yourself read in the bitter letter
After your own sense, yea, though our proper son
Stood in your action. BRABANTIO Humbly I thank your grace.
Here is the man, this Moor, whom now, it seems, Your special mandate for the state-affairs
Hath hither brought. DUKE OF VENICE, Senator We are very sorry
for’t. DUKE OF VENICE To OTHELLO
BRABANTIO Nothing, but this is so. OTHELLO Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
My very noble and approved good masters, That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter,
It is most true; true, I have married her: The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,
And little bless’d with the soft phrase of peace:
For since these arms of mine had seven years’ pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field, And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle, And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnish’d tale deliver Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what
charms, What conjuration and what mighty magic,
For such proceeding I am charged withal, I won his daughter.
BRABANTIO A maiden never bold; Of spirit so still and quiet, that her motion
Blush’d at herself; and she, in spite of nature, Of years, of country, credit, every thing,
To fall in love with what she fear’d to look on!
It is a judgment maim’d and most imperfect That will confess perfection so could err Against all rules of nature, and must be driven
To find out practises of cunning hell, Why this should be. I therefore vouch again
That with some mixtures powerful o’er the blood,
Or with some dram conjured to this effect, He wrought upon her.
DUKE OF VENICE To vouch this, is no proof, Without more wider and more overt test
Than these thin habits and poor likelihoods Of modern seeming do prefer against him.
First Senator But, Othello, speak: Did you by indirect and forced courses
Subdue and poison this young maid’s affections? Or came it by request and such fair question
As soul to soul affordeth? OTHELLO I do beseech you,
Send for the lady to the Sagittary, And let her speak of me before her father:
If you do find me foul in her report, The trust, the office I do hold of you,
Not only take away, but let your sentence Even fall upon my life.
DUKE OF VENICE Fetch Desdemona hither. OTHELLO Ancient, conduct them: you best know
the place. Exeunt IAGO and Attendants.
And, till she come, as truly as to heaven I do confess the vices of my blood,
So justly to your grave ears I’ll present How I did thrive in this fair lady’s love,
And she in mine. DUKE OF VENICE Say it, Othello.
OTHELLO Her father loved me; oft invited me; Still question’d me the story of my life,
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes, That I have passed. I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it; Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field Of hair-breadth scapes i’ the imminent deadly
breach, Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence And portance in my travels’ history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle, Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads
touch heaven It was my hint to speak,–such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat, The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. This to hear Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch, She’ld come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing, Took once a pliant hour, and found good means To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate, Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively: I did consent, And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke That my youth suffer’d. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs: She swore, in faith, twas strange, ’twas passing
strange, ‘Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d That heaven had made her such a man: she thank’d
me, And bade me, if I had a friend that loved
her, I should but teach him how to tell my story.
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake: She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used.

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