« PreviousContinue »
which neither forward nor retard it. Of the feigned madness of Hamlet there appears no adequate cause, for he does nothing which he might not have done with the reputation of sanity. He plays the madman most, when he treats Ophelia with so much rudeness, which seems to be useless and wanton cruelty.
Hamlet is, through the whole piece, rather an instrument than an agent. After he has, by the stratagem of the play, convicted the king, he makes no attempt to punish him; and his death is at last effected by an incident which Hamlet had no part in producing
The catastrophe is not very happily produced; the exchange of weapons is rather an expedient of necessily, than a stroke of art. A scheme might easily be formed, to kill Hamlet with the dagger, and Laertes with the bowl.
The poet is accused of having shown little regard to poetical justice, and may be charged with equal neglect of poetical probability. The apparition left the regions of the dead to little purpose: the revenge wbich be demands is not obtained, but by the death of him that was required to take it; and the gratification, which would arise from the destruction of an usurper and a murderer, is abated by the untimely death of Ophelia, the young, the beautiful, the harmless, and the pious.
C. Whittingham, Printer, Chiswick.
Duke of Venice.
Brabantio, a Senator.
Two other Senators.
Gratiano, Brother to Brabantio.
Lodovico, Kinsman to Brabantio.
Othello, the Moor.
Cassio, his Lieutenant.
Iago, hrs Ancient.
Roderigo, a Venetian Gentleman.
Montano, Othello's Predecessor in the Government of
Clown, Servant to Othello.
Desdemona, Daughter to Brabantio, and Wife to
Othello. Emilia, Wife to Iago. Bianca, a Courtesan, Mistress to Cassio. Officers, Gentlemen, Messengers, Musicians, Sailors,
Attendants, &c. SCENE, for the first Act, in Venice; during the rest
of the Play, at a Seaport in Cyprus.
SCENE I. VENICE. A Street.
Enter RODERIGO and Iago.
Rod. Tush, never tell me, I take it nuch unkindly,
That thou, lago,—who hast had my purse,
As if the strings were thine,-shouldst know of this.
lago. 'Sblood, but you will not hear me :-
If ever I did dream of such a matter,
Rod. Thou told'st me, thou didst hold him in thy hate.
lago. Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, [city,
Oft capp'd 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 tliem, with a bombast circumstance,
Horribly staff'd with epithets of war;
And, in conclusion, nonsuits
My mediators; for certes, says be,
I have already chose my officer.
And what was he?
Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife;
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
Wherein the toged consuls can propose
As masterly as he : mere prattle, without practice,
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:
And I,-of whom his eyes had seen the proof,
At Rhodes, at Cyprus; and on other grounds
Christian and heathen,-must be be-lee'd and calm'd
By debitor and creditor, this counter-caster:
He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,
And I, (God bless the mark !) his moorship’s ancient.
Rod. By heaven, I rather would have been his bang
Iago. But there's no remedy, 'tis the curse of service;
Preferment goes by letter, and affection,
Not by the old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to the first. Now, sir, be judge yourself,
Whether I in any just term am affin'd
To love the Moor.
I would not follow him then.
lago. 0, sir, content you ;
I follow him to serve my turn upon him :
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave,
That, doting on his own obsequious bondage,
Wears out his time, much like his master's ass,
For nought but provender; and, when he's old,cashier'd ;
Whip me such honest knaves: Others there are,
Who, trimm'd in forms and visages of duty,
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves;
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
Do well thrive by them, and, when they have lin’d their
Do themselves homage: these fellows have some soul;
And such a one do I profess myself.