Rating: Suitable for all ages
Copyright Status: Public domain
Age Range: 20s - Early, 20s - Late, 30s - Early
Dialects: Standard American, Standard English
AuthorName: William Shakespeare
Eras: 1601-1700, 1501-1600
O good Iago, What shall I do to win my lord again? Good friend, go to him...View Full Monologue Text
O good Iago,
What shall I do to win my lord again?
Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,
I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:
If e'er my will did trespass 'gainst his love,
Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,
Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,
Delighted them in any other form;
Or that I do not yet, and ever did.
And ever will--though he do shake me off
To beggarly divorcement--love him dearly,
Comfort forswear me! Unkindness may do much;
And his unkindness may defeat my life,
But never taint my love. I cannot say 'whore:'
It does abhor me now I speak the word;
To do the act that might the addition earn
Not the world's mass of vanity could make me.
Desdemona implores Iago to intervene on her behalf with Othello, and -- on her knees -- she swears that she has never loved another, that she has always loved him, and that she always will love him, even if he forsakes her. She goes on to say that, "Unkindness may do much; / And his unkindness may defeat my life, / But never taint my love" (4.2.159-161). Seeing that Othello has struck and humiliated his wife in public, then treated her as a whore, what Desdemona calls "unkindness," we would call "cruelty." This cruelty has reduced Desdemona to stunned silence, then tears, and she believes that it could kill her, but it won't make her stop loving Othello.