viernes, 18 de agosto de 2017

AGOSTO - Carmen Gómez Ojea

Carmen Gómez Ojea


La Luna esconde las manos
para que ninguna estrella
vea sus hermosos dedos
llenos de anillos de perlas.

La Luna oculta su pelo
y también sus largas piernas.
Sin embargo muchas noches
suelta su hermosa melena.
Después se marcha a bailar
muy contenta a la verbena.

En estas noches de agosto
luce la Luna más bella.
Te mira desde lo alto
con su boquita risueña.
Y cuando estás ya en la cama,
a veces baja y te besa.

La Luna de agosto tiene
un caballo sin espuelas.
En él cabalga de noche
a través de las praderas,
donde no nacen las flores,
donde no crece la hierba,
sino nubes de cristal,
luceros y mil estrellas.

La luna de agosto canta,
mientras se pena y pasea.
Su peine es de plata fina,
y su peinador de seda.
Mi gatita Reina quiere 
ser tan guapa como ella.

Luna de agosto, 
luna, lunera,
la más brillante,
la más morena.


A Dramma Lirico in Four Acts

Original Story by William Shakespeare
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Sandra Elena Dermark Bufí
June-August MMXVII

Dedicated to Ser Uttam Paudel,
an ardent admirer of opera
and classical literature.


Dramatis personae

  • OTHELLO, a foreign dark-skinned general, governor of the outpost community (heroic tenor)
  • DESDEMONA, his lady wife (soprano)
  • CASSIO, a young lieutenant, Othello's aide-de-camp (boy tenor)
  • IAGO, a non-commissioned officer (baritone)
  • EMILIA, his servant wife, Desdemona's handmaid (mezzo/contralto)
  • RODERIGO, a deceived lordling, in love with Desdemona (boy tenor)
  • LUDOVICO, Ambassador from the capital of the realm, visiting the outpost (bass)
  • THE FORMER GOVERNOR of the outpost (bass-baritone)
  • A HERALD (bass/spoken)
  • BIANCA, a local barmaid wench, Cassio's paramour (spoken)

Setting: A little garrison town by the seaside, which can be any coastal fortress town, mostly in the fortress itself and its environs, during times of armed peace. 
The time when it comes to century doesn't matter, but it can be any historical era in which there were outpost communities, firearms, and brightly-coloured uniforms. What matters is that the story takes place in mid- to late April, in a mostly fair, sunny springtime, though not bereft of storms and showers.



Right outside the keep: the docks in the foreground, a tavern with an arbour, and some fisherfolk's homes, right outside the keep walls. A stormy evening: thunder, lightning, gale, downpour.

See that sail there!
It's a galley!
See her colours!
See her colours!
It's our lion with wings!!
(Flash of lightning.)
Lightning shows her so clearly!!
That's a signal! Hear that signal!
(Cannon fire.)
It's her cannon that sings...
It's our General's flagship!
Now she's falling...
is she rising?
Now her figurehead's rising!!
In the tide or the cloud now concealed...
now in flashing white lightning revealed...

Lightning! Thunder! Downpour!
Ominously surging maelströms!
Shiver timbers! Shiver ocean!
Shiver skies themselves, it seems...
Through the air, a raven-winged and sinister spirit flies...
quenching all the stars and shaking, like a veil, the skies...
Everything's on fire... everything's on fire!!
Through red flames and gunsmoke...
the conflagration...
then it's quenchéd... far more lurid...
The universe is reeling...
a wraith-cold gale courses right through the darkness...
the dread Gjallarhorn of Heimdall
chimes in the end of days!!

PRAYING WOMEN (including Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca):
Lord, hear your weak subjects' prayer...
Be the saviour of this strand now...
Save from dark downfall the fair
banner of the motherland now!
Ruler of the constellations...
ruler of the Earth and sky...
Th'anchor of our expectations
let fall as calm night draws nigh...

The mizzen mast just broke!
The figurehead plunges on those rocks there!
Mayday! Mayday!
My lord will find a watery grave right once she knocks there!
(The flagship docks as the storm loses violence.)
They're saved... and we're saved too!

(Cassio running left and right, giving orders, as his men prepare the landing with a gangway; then, once it's done, stand in formation flanking the gangway, the lieutenant at the end to greet his general once the latter has landed.)

The halyards are all ready!
All right, hold tight now!
That's a gangway! 
On the strand now!
They're all ready for landing...
On land now!
On land now!!
On land now!!!

OTHELLO (as he walks down the gangway):
We're victorious!!
The enemy's pride lies
fathoms below...
Ours are peace and glory!!
What our weapons escaped, the ocean's vanquished!


Long live Othello!
Our hero! Our hero! So glorious! Victorious! Victorious!


Victorious, victorious, and ever so glorious... 
They're scattered, they're shattered, they've plunged down beneath the cold waves,
down to the last man!
Victorious, victorious, and ever so glorious...
they're scattered, they're shattered, they've plunged down beneath the cold waves,
down to the last man!

Their requiem will be the rise of highwater,

their requiem will be the rise of highwater,

the swirling of maelströms, the swirling of maelströms,

in the deep, dark, cold halls of Rán!

Victorious, victorious!

Victorious, victorious!

They're scattered, they're shattered, 

They're sc-a-attered, they're sh-a-attered,

They're scattered, they're shattered, they've plunged down beneath the cold waves,

down to the last man!

Victorious, victorious!
Our hero!!
Victorious, victorious!
Our he-e-ero!!

(The storm finally calms, revealing a starry night sky with a waxing moon. Othello, as he lands and reviews his subjects, greets Cassio like a friend and Desdemona like his newlywed wife, completely overlooking Iago.)

The tempest now is over...

Roderigo... what do... you think of?
Drowning myself...
Fools are th'only ones who end their lives for love's sake...
What should I do?

Come on, my lad, and reason,
and wait for the times to get better...
your lady-love Desdemona,
whom you still long for in your secret wet dreams,
will soon grow weary of chocolate kisses
from that thick-lipped beast before you know it...
Good Roderigo,
see me as your best friend, for good or evil;
and close to me's the answer to your broken heart's distress...
If her frail vow is a nut to crack
not too hard for my wits or those skills of mine, I swear, Roderigo...
I swear that you'll soon be cradling her in your arms.
Now listen...
Though I pretend to love him, I hate Othello...
You want to know the reason? There he is, right there!
(Pointing at Cassio, who is flirting with Bianca and other women)
That frilly little stripling there wrested my rank from me;
usurped the rank that
is mine by right, and that I have deserved in many 
hard-contested battles!
He chose that young lieutenant,
and I remain still on His Moorish Lordship's service...
as ensign.
Yet, as sure as Roderigo's your name,
as true that, if I were Cassio or Othello...
I'd never trust or even hear a Iago...
If you would listen...

(During all of Iago's rant, Cassio also commands the men to get the fireworks and the bonfire ready for the victory revels, and also to hang brightly coloured lanterns on the tavern arbour. The first fireworks are fired.)

(The fireworks begin to be fired and the bonfire gradually blazes up)

Fire of revels!!!
Fire of revels! Merrily blazing,
merrily blazing,
turn into daytime...
turn into daytime...
turn into daytime the darkness of night!
Sparkle, flutter, 
sparkle, flutter, 
sparkle, flutter, crackle, blazing...
Sparkle, flutter, crackle, blazing...
fill every heart with warmth and with light!
Fill each heart... with warmth and light...

Flitting around, the golden light's bringing
shape-shifting lovely shapes in the sky...
And now they're maidens, and now they're maidens 
with lively singing, first love's singing,
and now on flame wings, and now on flame wings 
they flutter by, last flutter by...

Now burn the sycamore and the palmwood...
Now burn the sycamore and the palmwood...
Now burn the sycamore and the palmwood...
Sing, my beloved, raise your feelings high!
Over the golden flames and the chorus
breathes the cool breeze in the springtime sky...
Now burn the sycamore and the palmwood...
Sing, my beloved, raise your feelings high!

Fire of revels... hastily kindled...
hastily quenchéd... hastily the flame of love will burn out!
hastily the flame of love will burn out!
Shining, then darkening, throbbing and dwindling...
That one last spark in ashes is out...
Fire of revels...
Fire of revels...
Shining, then darkening, 
throbbing and dwindling...
throbbing and dwindling...
That one last spark in ashes is out...
In ashes is out...
Fire of revels...
hastily kindled...
hastily quenchéd...
love will burn out...
Shining, then darkening, 
throbbing and dwindling...
throbbing and dwindling...
That one last spark in ashes is out...
That one last spark in ashes is out...
In ashes... 
is out...

(Iago, Cassio, and Roderigo sitting at the same table, before their drinks, under the tavern arbour; other officers and non-coms at other tables; Bianca serving, in turn, the thirsty uniformed men at each table, while acting a little sexy herself.)
Roderigo, we'll drink!!
(Reaching out a tankard to Cassio.) Here's your tankard, Ser Lieutenant...
I've quenched my thirst.
Just down this only sip, Ser...
Look 'round! It's a night of celebration!
Everyone's going crazy! Therefore...
Let go... I'm already lightheaded
from one glass, and the guard's soon!
Still, here's a toast to the marriage
of our General Othello... and his lady wife!!
Long live them!!
CASSIO (sipping):
She's the jewel of this coastline...
IAGO (to Roderigo):
Now listen!
Her loveliness makes all hearts and all flowers bloom before her...
And still, isn't she modest?
Iago, sing to praise Desdemona!
(to Roderigo) Now listen!
(to Cassio) I am nought but a critic, Ser.
She is too fair for any praises!!
IAGO (to Roderigo):
Watch out for Lieutenant Cassio!
And why him?
Haven't you heard how passionately he spoke?
Youthful hot blood through every vein, right?
He's a wistful seducer, and she's found him already!!
And then?
If he's intoxicated,
he will fall...

(To Bianca, currently the barmaid): Fill... our three cups... there, steady!!

(Bianca arrives at Iago's command and fills all three men's tankards with a golden liquor. She also places the flagon on the table. As she pours Cassio his drink, the lieutenant winks an eye at her, then blows her a kiss as she leaves.)

IAGO (tankard in hand): 
Young man, wet your whistle,
down it even quicker... 
Ere your lively nights and
summer days turn to foam!

CASSIO (doubtfully sipping):

This real amber nectar of a liquor
will thrust bright reason off
her rightful throne!


One li'l sip can you hold
under our pennant;
who dares wins, Lieutenant!
Drink now with me!
Drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant...


Drink, Lieutenant...


Drink now...


Drink now with me,

drink now with me!

(Throughout the refrain, Cassio is gradually encouraged more and more to drink hard, emptying two or three tankards, as Iago refills the lieutenant's cup from the flagon.)


One li'l sip can you hold

under our pennant;

we dare win, Lieutenant!
Drink now with me!
Drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant...
Drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant...
Drink now with me!
Drink now...
Drink now with me,
drink now with me!

One little sip more, and drunk he'll be!
One little sip more, and drunk he'll be!

I get quicker thinking
when intoxicated...
challenging all these notorious
ironies of destiny!

CASSIO (after downing a deeper draught):
After this much drinking,
I'm so elated...
Everything feels glorious,
and I'm so free!!

One li'l sip can you hold
under our pennant;
who dares wins, Lieutenant!
Drink now with me!
Drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant...
Drink, Lieutenant...
Drink now...
Drink now with me,
drink now with me!

(Throughout the refrain, Cassio is gradually encouraged more and more to drink hard, emptying two or three tankards)

One li'l sip can you hold
under our pennant;
we dare win, Lieutenant!
Drink now with me!
Drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant...
Drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant...
Drink now with me!
Drink now...
Drink now with me,
drink now with me!

One little sip more, and drunk he'll be!
One little sip more, and drunk he'll be!

Down the throat leads to young man's heart a byway...
CASSIO (drinking deeply once more, reeling):
Look deep into my chest and see my true self, my way!!
...revealing hidden deception...
CASSIO (slurred, up until he comes to in a later scene):
Of my true self I am not afraid!!
I'm not afraid! I'm not afraid!
One li'l sip under our pennant...
drink now with me!
drink now with me!
I'm not afraid! I'm not afraid! I'm not afraid! I'm not afraid!
(he stumbles and falls on the ground)

Ha-ha! Ha-ha!
Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha!

A sinner, I...
IAGO (to Roderigo):
He's as drunk as we wanted! Get ready,
his hot blood is boiling,
provoke him, and he'll draw steel against you!
A sinner, I... have drunk, sure...
IAGO (to Roderigo):
Think that this way we'll ruin your lady love's
and her commander's sweet first night of love!
Count on me, that's a given!
CASSIO (raising his right hand, and then his left, confusing left and right):
This is... my left... this is my right!

Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha!
Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha!
Drink, Lieutenant, drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant, drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant! Drink, Lieutenant!
Drink, Lieutenant...
Drink now with me!
Drink, Lieutenant...
Drink now with me!
Drink now...
Drink now with me,
drink now with me!

Ser Lieutenant, the changing of the guard awaits your orders.
CASSIO (reeling, staggering, trying to salute but facepalming instead):
That's the way every evening
he gets his liquid courage...
Othello'll know it...
The changing guard awaits me!
Who's laughing?
Can't you deny it?
I will make you cry it, you scoundrel!!
What, Ser Lush-tenant?!
CASSIO (drawing steel):
You traitor! There's no way out of this!!
Hold that hand, Lieutenant,
no bloodshed, I beg you...
Whoever gets in between us will get knocked out...
Says this young man, wasted...
I, wasted!!??
IAGO (to Roderigo):
Run up all the way to the tower,
and ring the alarm bell with all of your power!
Spread all this dread 'round like wildfire...
make it sound like an enemy storming!
(Thrusting himself into the swordfight)
Dear comrades! Please stop at once this confrontation!!
Gasp! Our former governor's bleeding!
And tension is mounting!
(Restraining Cassio)
Stop this!
Stop this!
They'll both be dead...
Stop this!
Say, isn't there anyone who can restrain him?
The storm-bells are ringing... we'll knock out or chain him!!
To weapons! To weapons! A storming, a storming, a storming, a storming!
To weapons! To weapons! A storming, a storming, a storming, a storming!

(They knock Cassio out. At the same time, a rumpled Othello and Desdemona arrive on the scene)

Down with all those rapiers!!
'Allo? What occurred?
Am I among barbarians?
Or did a fit of rage enter into you,
turn you against one another...? 
Sincere Iago, 
speak to me, you who love me as a 

Don't know... 
Here we were all lively companions, courteous and ever...
All of a sudden, 
this stripling's wit was confused, and thus, slightly offended,
he drew his blade, and his stance stubbornly defended...
I would have rather had both my legs 
severed by a shot of cannon!

Cassio... what made you forget the one you were?

CASSIO (coming to, in a daze, ill-at-ease):
Pardon... at all...
I can't recall...

OTHELLO (to the former governor): 

You're injured...


It's quite serious...

Sore wounded!! For Gods' sake, how my blood is boiling over!
Ah... Will she come, our rage-quenching angel of sweet loving?

(A rumpled Desdemona comes forth. She is worried by seeing Cassio coming to and in a daze)

Here's... fair Desdemona herself startled
from her sweet dreams by your dreadful uprising?
Cassio, never more be aide-de-camp of mine!
(He takes off Cassio's rank insignia and gives it to Iago)
IAGO (to himself):
As I expected!
Iago, survey now the whole town and fortress
with a detachment, to calm the folk's spirits.
And we'll tend to the wounded!
(They bring the former governor and Cassio to the surgeon's, as Iago leaves at the head of his detachment.)
Everyone else, now
return back home. I will not leave this spot till
I see there's not a person left on the keep walls!

(Everyone else leaves, leaving Othello alone with Desdemona)

Now in the starlit nighttime,
each clamour fades away;
right now, my restless heart is
within your embrace soothed and
comes to its senses...
Let war break out, and let the end of days come,
should, after that great fury,
come even greater love!
My warrior, so proud and tall!
How much I've sighed, how much I've shuddered, my darling,
and how much hope that
has led me to such soft, warm embracing!
Oh, how sweet is our lively conversation!
Do you remember? (Pause.)
When you told me of all your wayward lifetime,
shocking events that so long pain had wrought...
I listened to you, entranced... rather enraptured...
shuddering, teary, my heart 'gainst reason fought!
I painted for you battlefields,
and stormings,
perilous breachings through keep walls...
or climbing, clinging to ivy ropes,
up all the way to battlements,
as gunshots rang around!
Then, you took me to dazzling remote wastelands,
to the parched grasslands of your own native soil...
how you, one day, were torn away from everything,
orphaned, enchained, constrained to want and toil...
Sweetened with crystal tears was
the story, by your lovely visage,
upon your lips, a sigh...
Upon my darkness then descended
glory, paradise, and...
all the stars in the sky...
And I saw then upon your raven tresses
of wit the bright, unearthly beauty shine...
And you loved me for all of my distresses,
and your compassion made your heart be mine...
And I loved you for all of thy distresses,
and my compassion made my heart be thine...
And your compassion...
And my compassion...
And your compassion made your heart be mine...
...made my heart be thine...
If I could die now!
May I pass away in the elation of these embraces,
as we crown all our pleasure!
Such is my heart's enjoyment, that I dread that...
dread that...
that I will nevermore be given
this instant of such glee
within my unknown future destiny...
Ne'er be to me a stranger,
may love with the years ne'er change him or change her!
May granted be your prayer...
How wonderful the stars are, and the power of love is!
May it be granted...
Ah!! The floodgates of joy within me have opened!
I lie down to rest now...
Please kiss me!
(They kiss.)
Please kiss me!
(They kiss a second time.)
Please kiss me once more...
(They kiss for the third time.)
Right now, the Seven Sisters are descending!
It's early morning...
See? Venus is shining!
Othello! (They kiss for the fourth time.)

(Exit Othello and Desdemona, hand in hand.)



A patio within the keep. A terrace in the colonnade, with a view of the sahn-like flower garden. Iago toying with his pommel on the left side of this terrace, Cassio sitting listlessly upon the edge of the fountain, plunging his head in to drink and wash himself, after which, responding to a friendly wave from Iago, he runs towards the older non-com, and thus we have, as Iago tries to reassure him, the young lieutenant awkwardly shying away, with his head buried in his hands on the right.

Do not despair; believe me, and you soon shall
return upon the lovely bosom
of Miss Bianca... my dapper young lieutenant
with golden sword-hilt on your left hip and baldrick.

Flatter me no more!

Pay heed to what I'm saying!
You surely know that Desdemona
is our General's commanding officer...
He only lives for her sake.
Ask her yourself, that kind-hearted soul,
to intercede for your sake...
and you'll be soon forgiven!

But then... how can I reach her?

IAGO (pointing to a shrubbery in the garden):
She has the custom to take a stroll every morn
around these myrtles with my own wife, her handmaid.
She'll come right now... wait just an instant;
redemption's round the corner!
Wait there!

(Cassio walks further to the right, with a brisker pace, waving sincerely to Iago)

IAGO (turning left, facing the audience, gradually more and more ominous):
Right there!
I see your goal in my mind's eye...
Your evil spirit leads you,
and that evil spirit's me...
And I'm led by my own god,
the dreadful and relentless one I believe in...

(As Cassio reaches the furthermost right on stage and stops to set his whole lieutenant's uniform right to make a good impression, Iago keeps on looking at us from stage left, ominously addressing us.)

I believe in a cruel God,
who made us apes in his own image so odd...
From a filthy infectious 
germ and the soil-dust 
I was created;
I'm reprobate, due to
human affections...
honour's and virtues' striving I mock indeed!
Yes... that's my very own creed!
I believe in the Only Son
who has inherited his Lord Father's penchant for all things wicked...
which means all wickedness I have quietly thought of
ensures my fruit's reached and picked!
And I believe in the Doubtful Ghost,
that strips away delusion;
in righteous' hearts' confusion,
for the righteous are all liars
in laughing, in crying, love's fires,
kisses, and sacrifice the most!
We're playthings in a game, there's no denying,
from cradle to the gravestone,
as long as we can tell...
Then all of us are equalised in dying,
and then? Post death there's nothing,
neither heaven nor hell...

(Desdemona and Emilia pass by across the garden from the left. Iago darts to Cassio's side, as the lieutenant has just made himself presentable and is entering the flower garden, leaving the terrace.)

She's right there...
Cassio... right now!
Get ready... there's Desdemona, right?

(Cassio approaches Desdemona and Emilia, tips his hat before the ladies, kisses Desdemona's right hand. She smiles in response. Then, they begin a lively conversation.)

He greets them... he kisses her right hand... 
oh my, she's smiling!
There's something for Othello!
My fine experiment unfurls just right now!
What a good conversation! Still she's smiling
warmly, fair lovely maiden!

(Desdemona and Cassio take a stroll together across the flower garden, cooing hand in hand)

One ray of light from that smile, dazzlingly laden,
suffices for Othello fore'er beguiling...
(Iago darts to the right end of the stage, stopping suddenly right before he leaves, to address the audience.)
All right! Chance gives me the right cards, to help me scheming...
Wait for it... get on place, no time for dreaming!

(He stands still at attention, watching Desdemona and Cassio cross the garden as the two young people's lively conversation goes on and on, both of them smiling and maybe he picks a flower and tucks it behind her ear... let the audience see that both of them are friends.)

(Enter Othello. As the general enters the sahn terrace, approaching Iago, Cassio darts off to the right, looking over his shoulder and waving Desdemona goodbye as he leaves.)

IAGO (pretending to be startled by Othello's "sudden" appearance):
I don't like this...

What ever...?

Nothing...  You here? A whisper
right through my parted lips stole...
That young officer leaving
my lady's side... was Cassio?
Cassio? No, he's run off
guiltily from your presence...
I'm sure he was none other.
Now, Your Lordship...
What ever...?
Cassio... e'er since your courtship began,
was with your lady acquainted?
And wherefore ask this question?
My thought's not sinister at all, Ser;
just born of whimsy.
Still, speak your mind, Iago.
And you trusted the stripling?
Often he'd bring my gifts and letters
to his friend, my beloved.
Oh, really?
Yes, quite really.
Is he not honest?
IAGO (echoing Othello's words):
Not honest?
What is your heart concealing?
What is up for revealing?
OTHELLO (echoing Iago's words):
What is up for revealing?
Good Heavens, you're the echo of all my words... I wonder
if there's imprisoned within your chest some dreadful monster...
I understood you whispered, as I arrived: "I don't like this..."
But what were you not pleased with? Naming Cassio, then like this
you are wincing and frowning... 
Take heart, speak, trust your brother...
And you know I love you too...
Thus, speak the truth without bother,
and without feeling awkward...
May from your throat be rising
the thoughts and words most wicked, 
those that are most surprising!!
(He corners Iago.)

Even if my heart were upon my sleeve now,
you'd never know them...

OTHELLO (clutching his head, gasping):

IAGO (whispering in Othello's left ear):
Beware of jealousy, Your August Lordship!
That dark, green-eyed serpent, cold as ice, monstrous, that with its venom's pest,
as it feeds on its own heart's blood, tears up its very own chest!

Oh dire misfortune! No! Why that?!
Suspicion is vain and in this case not sufficient!
Ere I doubt, I must have seen it, 
and the proof must be efficient;
thus, once it's proven...
my code of honour says so forever...
both love and jealousy will disappear together!

IAGO (in a more earnest manner):
Those words have been the key that have opened the lips of this fellow...
I do not speak of proof yet, high-hearted Lord Othello!
Keep your eyes peeled...
Quite often, honest and decent spirits are blind to deception...
Keep your eyes peeled!
Pay heed to Desdemona's words with utmost precision;
a wink, a nod may either raise or lower that suspicion!

(Desdemona enters the garden once more, surrounded by a bevy of local women --including Emilia--, children, fishermen, and crippled/veteran soldiers. The women and children carry bouquets of flowers, while the men bring precious stones of the ocean: corals, pearls, amber. Also among her entourage are musicians with guitars and small harps.)

All right... watch her, eyes peeled...

Where your starry eyes look,
hearts are set on fire...
Where you walk, the ground blooms
and nothing looks dire...
'Midst lilies and roses,
in maiden shrine's ring,
parents, children, spouses
gather here to sing.

CHILDREN (spreading lily petals on the ground before Desdemona):
Fair lilies, soft, 
glittering with dew,
their stems like angels 
so pure and true,
clean-handed, we bring to 
the loveliest lady,
the fairest maiden,
a gift to you...

In the springtime breeze we
merrily now sing,
to the deftly strummed tunes
of a dextrous string...

FISHERMEN (offering their ocean treasures to Desdemona):
To you bright amber, pearls, and hard corals,
gleaned for your sake, gifts from the ocean blue;
just like the wave-born, 
the loveliest goddess,
you on our strand now, 
thus chose to land now, 
sacred and true...

In the springtime breeze we
merrily now sing,
to the deftly strummed tunes
of a dextrous string...

WOMEN (spreading cherry-blossom and apple-blossom branches before Desdemona):
For you this season's 
thickest of flowers
cover the ground now, 
like the treetops' bowers;
in April laden,
golden-haired maiden,
the sun is smiling warm
right back at you!

Where your starry eyes look,
hearts are set on fire...
Where you walk, the ground blooms
and nothing looks dire...
'Midst lilies and roses,
in maiden shrine's ring,
parents, children, spouses
gather here to sing.

DESDEMONA (sweetly):
Breeze caressing,
flowers dressing,
so warm the sun...

OTHELLO (sweetly):
This song sets me on fire...
If she deceives me, thus, heaven is a liar!

IAGO (ominous):
To everything lively and lovely... anthem so endearing...
I'll shrilly shatter such soft harmony to disappearing!

Joy and hope and love sing
in my heart as one...

Live long and prosper,
live long and prosper!
Love leaves nothing undone!

(Desdemona musses some children's hair and kisses others on the brow, also greeting their mothers, who reach to touch and kiss her skirt. She also greets the veterans, the musicians, and the fishermen. The crowd of commoners depart except for Emilia, who is chaperoning her lady.)

DESDEMONA (approaching Othello):
I bring a wish from a young man who suffers
under too harsh your sanction.
And who is he?

Was it he
who gave you such a lively conversation?
DESDEMONA (earnestly):
He was, yes;
into me flowed his earnest sorrow,
and it's so true that he's of mercy worthy.
I speak for him and pray for his forgiveness!
Please, dear, forgive him!
OTHELLO (harshly):
Not yet, no...
So I take not your denial...
Please forgive him...

OTHELLO (wincing):
Not yet, no...

Wherefore does your firm voice suddenly waver?
Is there something that ails you?
OTHELLO (wincing, his head buried in his hands):
My brow is throbbing...
DESDEMONA (producing her handkerchief, putting it to Othello's head):
That burning, throbbing pain will
fade away, if I fain will
with this soft silk give a fair hand's caresses...

OTHELLO (throwing the handkerchief on the ground):
I do not need this cloth...
You are worried, my lord...
OTHELLO (harshly, irate, to Desdemona):
You leave me! You leave me!!

(Emilia swoops in and takes up the handkerchief from the ground, as husband and wife argue, not even noticing the maid claiming the cloth.)

DESDEMONA (sweetly, earnestly):
If I unwittingly 
have sinned, my dear, against you,
give me a sweet and cheerful 
word of forgiveness now...

OTHELLO (aside):
Perchance for I'm a warrior
more than a courtly lover...

Behold your humble maiden,
your meek and friendly servant;
but still, your lips are sighing,
your gaze fixed on the ground...
Look in my eyes and listen
to love's harmonious sound...
I'll make your heart feel lighter
and sorrows fade around...

OTHELLO (aside):
Perchance because my lifetime
draws near descending twilight,
perchance because than others'
quite darker is my face...
Perchance for I'm a warrior
more than a courtly lover...
She's lost, my golden dreams gone;
my heart is thus as broken
as that frail vow she'd spoken...
deceived I am, betrayed!

(Enter Iago.)

IAGO (to Emilia, commanding):
Bring me that tissue
that you have picked.
EMILIA (to Iago, with sarcasm):
What, something wicked?
I know that issue...
Still you're defying
what I've commanded...
Still underhanded,
there's no denying...
Crazy suspicion!
EMILIA (clutching the handkerchief to her chest):
Well keeps this hand
with true precision!
IAGO (packing Emilia by the arms):
Give it to me!!
Or this irate grasp
your arms has broken...
Your wife so harsh clasp,
like to a thrall spoken...
Vile thrall indentured,
I am your master!!
EMILIA (struggling to break free):
I feel disaster
and misadventure...
So I'm not dreaded?!
Are you a man?!
Am I?
(Iago has broken Emilia's right arm and seized the handkerchief, which he puts in his coat pocket.)
Did you do...?!

IAGO (coldly):
Just what I can.

EMILIA (now with a broken voice):
Are you a man?!

IAGO (to himself):
Claimed is the banner
that will be leading
me to my sure goal
through schemes and bleeding!

EMILIA (to herself):
Thus wins the traitor,
schemer and coward;
through perils, later,
he'll face me empowered!

DESDEMONA (sweetly):
Give me a sweet and cheerful 
word of forgiveness now...

Please leave me!! 
I'd like to be alone...

(Exit Desdemona stage right and Emilia stage left; the latter is stopped by Iago right before she can leave.)

IAGO (to Emilia, at swordpoint):
Don't even breathe a word!

(Iago appears to follow Emilia, stage left, after she has left, but he suddenly pivots on his heels and returns to Othello's side.)

OTHELLO (sitting down, head buried in his hands):
My lady, betraying!?

IAGO (taking out the handkerchief, then tucking it into his breast pocket once more, to the audience):
Out of this silk I will unfurl the proof of
their pretend innocence. Upon the nightstand
of Cassio I shall leave it...

OTHELLO (suddenly staggering):
I shudder, weighing!!

IAGO (looking at Othello, to the audience):
My poison is effective...

OTHELLO (reeling):
Betraying broken me... broken me...
(He suddenly falls backwards and has a grand mal epileptic seizure.)

IAGO (sinister):
Writhe and suffer!!

OTHELLO (during the seizure, furious):
Atrocious!! She... fie... me!!

IAGO (concerned, approaching Othello as the latter's seizure dies down, his tossing and writhing having given way to calm unconsciousness, he whispers in Othello's left ear):
Think about it no more...

OTHELLO (coming to his senses, yet still furious, aggressive, cornering Iago):
You... Away get... from me!!
How dare you crucify me?!
Good Grace!
More dreadful than any dreadful offenses
is always their suspicion...
In those days I knew not her lustful pretenses,
wrested from me... perchance a dreadful vision
made my heart throb then... I was carefree, so merry...
I knew nought of the truth, finding not e'en the query
upon that lovely form that still beguiles me,
on those lips of false blisses
the blazing kisses
of Cassio! And yet now... and yet now...
Yet now farewell forever, memories glorious;
farewell, of war enchantments so sublime;
farewell, glittering bayonets; hosts victorious;
ringing shots; horses charging at the same time!
Farewell, my guiding star, fluttering banner;
farewell, shrillest reveille at break of day;
warcries and cannons' thunder; in this manner
Othello's golden glory drifts away...

Keep calm, my lord.

OTHELLO (cornering Iago, packing him by the throat and pinning Iago to the ground):
Bloody scoundrel!! Give me the proof of her betrayal,
or I shall you impale...
You can't plead! And it's too late for fleeing!
I want a sure proof, one worth touching and seeing!
Or on your head, for sure, i-
ignites soon, when it strikes, the lightning flash
of my surging and throbbing, dreadful fury!!

IAGO (in a weak voice, from his trachea being crushed):
May mercy be upon me!

(Othello loosens his grip on Iago's throat and lets him rise up. The traitor clutches his neck, gaping like a fish for a while.)

IAGO (standing up, no longer gaping):
May mercy be upon you.
Your ensign's up for resigning.
I want the universe to be my witness;
honesty's fraught with perils...
(Saying these words, he turns his back to Othello and sets off to leave the stage.)

No... Stay here now. Perchance you are honest still...

IAGO (walking off):
It would be better if I were a con man...

By all Olympus!!
I believe in Desdemona's faith and I believe
her elusive. I, too, believe you're honest and that
you're disloyal... The proof I wanted?!
Still nothing is certain!!

IAGO (returning to Othello's side, gradually more and more ominous):
My lord, restrain your anger!
And what's the proof Your Lordship's needing?
To see them sleep together?
Aaah... Death of gods, damnation!!

The task would not be easy... and what d'you dream of,
what certainty, if such "noble performance"
always eludes your gaze's reach? Yet I say
there are theories of mine I present now
which may lead to of certainties the strongest,
should you pay heed, attention. Now listen...

IAGO (vividly --throughout this song, whenever he reproduces Cassio's speech, he does so in falsetto and with shut eyes--):
Twas in the nighttime,
Cassio was sleeping,
I waked by his side...
His voice was broken,
betraying, spoken,
love-sorrows in stride...
Writhing and dreaming,
sighing and screaming,
flushing, perspiring,
tossing and turning,
sighing, his yearning
I heard inspiring:
"My dear Desdemona!
Our love is sadly meant for concealing...
Keep watchful eyes, my lady!
This flood of ecstasy
still keeps me reeling!"
Then, as the rêverie left him, he reached out,
clutched me, and with passion,
kissing Yours Truly as his inner goddess,
he sighed in this fashion:
"I curse the fate so wicked
that to my lord you gave..."
Then, with his lips on mine, our limbs entwining,
deeper he plunged; breathing, yet still as the grave...

Oh! Such a monstrous shame, gods!!
Mind that he then was dreaming...
Dreaming, revealing his dark secret...
That rêverie can help confirm thus
another proof, right?

What proof?

You've surely seen it;
in Desdemona's hands, a fine silken kerchief,
strawberry and flower brocade?

Our ancestral handkerchief I gave to her
as my first token of love...

IAGO (gradually more and more sinister):
That silk, and this is for certain,
yesterday, I saw Cassio wipe his brow with...

Ah!! Nine lives are not enough that he'd be given!
Taking his only one's too easy striven!!
Iago, my heart is frozen.
Away from me, all mercy and compassion!
The shred of hope and love once found within me...
fades in... this fashion...
(Saying these words, he blows into his cupped hands.)
The green-eyed serpent's venom overcomes me!!
Ah! Bloodshed! Bloodshed!! BLOODSHED!!!

(Othello and Iago stand face to face, like a bride and groom before the altar.)

OTHELLO (kneeling before Iago, right hand on heart):
I swear by the marble heavens,
by lightning in blazing flash,
by the beauty of our weapons,
by the darkness of the night,
and by the storm-waves' clash...
By the hate and rage that sear me,
that what this broken heart claims,
this hand will reach! So hear me!
(At the end of this oath, Othello stretches his right hand to the sky. He is about to rise when Iago restrains him and forces the general to sit down at his --Iago's-- feet.)

IAGO (kneeling to stand at the height of Othello, left hand on heart):
Rise not yet!
Dazzling sun, please be my witness,
spread to me your heat and light;
you, vast earth, and all the breathing
of the universe as one;
to Othello consecrating
this true heart, and soul, and hand
for a righteous cause, one sacred,
may his will be said and done!
(At the end of this oath, Iago stretches his left hand to the sky as Othello raises his right; both men lock outstretched hands and look into one another's eyes.)

OTHELLO, IAGO (unison; the former raising his right hand and the latter his left; locking hands and eyes):
I swear by the marble heavens,
by lightning in blazing flash,
by the beauty of our weapons,
by the darkness of the night,
and by the storm-waves' clash...
By the hate and rage that sear me,
that what this broken heart claims,
this hand will reach! So hear me!
May revenge them dash!!



The Great Hall of the keep. Two vast terraces to left and right, and, in the middle, a colonnade or peristylum, which divides the hall into three parts, and at whose end there is an open door leading to a balcony above the patio gardens. Othello and Iago lounging on throne-like chairs in the hall, the former visibly upset, restraining himself, and the latter smiling as cool as a cucumber.
Enter a herald.

THE HERALD (Solemnly):
The watch on the port tower brings announcement
of the arrival of the flagship
of the Ambassador, who'll soon land here.

OTHELLO (to Iago, waving the herald away):
It's all right.
Now on to...

I will bring Cassio here, cleverly win him over;
he'll say it all out loud. (Pointing towards the terrace on the left, and forcing Othello to stay behind the column that is furthest away.)
Behind this column,
pay heed to every word he breathes, his gestures,
his quips and jokes, too. Now wait in patience,
or the proof will elude you. There's Desdemona, right?

(Enter Desdemona stage left, but she's only standing on the threshold to the left terrace.)

IAGO (leaving stage right, turning towards Othello as he utters the line "I must leave"):
Don't let them know it... I must leave.
That silken tissue...
Off! If I forgot it and thought of it no more...!
(Exit Iago stage right)

DESDEMONA (still on the threshold of the left terrace, sweetly):
Gods' blessings upon you, my spouse, the light of my lifetime!
OTHELLO (approaching Desdemona):
Thank you, my lady; please put your lilywhite right hand in mine...
(She puts her right hand on Othello's left.)
No warmth glows this fair lily with, it's as cold as ice.
'Tis still pure and unknowing old age, sorrow, and vice.
And still an evil spirit nestles within these fair fingers,
upon these dainty little nails it shimmers still and lingers...
Softly, most gently raised in prayers,
in pure devotion...
With this hand I gave you my heart, as deep as the ocean...
Now, shall we speak then once more of Cassio?
OTHELLO (wincing, head buried in his hands):
This throbbing pain won't leave
my dark head... with sense dueling...
Please, wipe my brow for sure cooling!
DESDEMONA (producing a plain white handkerchief):
For you.
No. I want my strawberry gift, made of silk.
I fear I've lost it...
My lady wife... You're lost if you've lost it! Lost!
The wisest of all witches, with maids' hearts dessiccated,
within a spell of true love spun, wove, and decorated!
Pay heed! Losing or giving it away would bring you sorrow!
Is this the truth, dear?
The purest truth, dear.
There's no tomorrow!
So... have you really lost it?
Look for it.
I'll look for it... pretty soon...
DESDEMONA (ironically):
You're making fun of me now,
for Cassio's case you're not free now;
I know evasives when I hear...
Good Heavens! I hold myself no longer!!
That silken tissue...
A trusted friend is Cassio, that's the issue.
OTHELLO (louder):
That silken tissue!!
DESDEMONA (looking down):
Good Heavens!! Your voice turned to a roar that threatens!
OTHELLO (forcing Desdemona to look him in the eyes):
Up with those eyes, wench!
That thought is dreadful!
OTHELLO (forcing Desdemona to look him in the eyes):
Look in these eyes now!! Say who you are...
DESDEMONA (with a distorted voice, her mouth squashed by Othello's strong hands):
Othello's faithful lady...
OTHELLO (forcing Desdemona to look him in the eyes):
Swear it!! Curse, damn yourself, thus!!
Othello believes I'm faithful...
OTHELLO (coldly, still pinning Desdemona):
That you're unfaithful.
Help me, O Heavens!!
Go, race for your damnation,
say that you're pure now.
DESDEMONA (looking in Othello's eyes, teary, sobbing):
Pure... yes, I am...
OTHELLO (letting Desdemona go and fall on the ground):
Swear, damn yourself, thus!!
In seeing you so fierce now,
my blood with dread has frozen...
through you speaks all that fury
I to hear ne'er had chosen...
Look at me!
Through tearful eyes,
into a heart that's breaking,
a mirror for your sorrows
clear, yet these rains now taking!
For your sake, these clear droplets fall on the thirsty ground!
The first tears leave my eyes now, our hearts bleed all around!!
If succubi were like this, an angel would believe them
and never leave them...
DESDEMONA (fierily, passionately):
Let the Immortals see that I'm faithful!
No! Let Hades see it...
Then, I plead for your justice,
my spouse beloved!
OTHELLO (shoving Desdemona aside, shedding tears of sorrow, rage, and despair):
Ah!! My lady wife... Away now!! Away now!! AWAY NOW!!!
Tears from you, too? To such sharp pain this sobbing is high treason!
(Desperate.) Though innocent, I am myself for such despair the reason!
What have I done wrong?
OTHELLO (sinister):
You ask it? The darkest sin you've committed
is upon your lilywhite brow with a hot brand written!
Poor me!
What? A vile wench, a strumpet, did say it?!
Lord... No... no... by my baptismal naming, I swear, I pray it!
OTHELLO (seizing Desdemona by the wrist):
Ah... I am not what those dreadful words are e'er expressing.
OTHELLO (changing his rage for a cool, calm, Iago-like irony; seizing Desdemona by the wrist and pulling her into the left terrace): Give me your snow-white hand thus, fear no oppressing.
(Loudly, coldly.) For I thought that...
(Whispering.) ...forgive me if my thoughts are the wrong ones...
(Loudly, coldly.) ...she was the wench, the strumpet...
(Sinister, ominous, grim.) ...who once married Othello.

(Othello shoves, with a powerful motion of his rippling right arm, Desdemona out to the left terrace. She runs away stage left, visibly brokenhearted, while her spouse stands alone centre stage, in deep dejection.)

OTHELLO (in a broken voice):
I could have withstood any misfortune;
shame, want, e'en squalor...
that my renownéd victories' fortune
were as a hoax the whole world to holler...
And I'd believe that guilty was I,
any cross carry
calm, not contrary...
patiently taking wistful chance in stride.
Yet... dread and pain! The mirror I had chosen
for reflecting my heart has been stolen and shattered...
Gone is the sunshine, the smile that reassured me; I'm frozen;
the shards mirrored me as a thousand freaks ere they scattered...
And Clemence, Mercy, that friendly immortal fey
of smile so rosy,
cover your face's posy,
lovely, with dreadful larval mask of dismay!!
Ah... Damn the strumpet,
let her confess her sins and then expire!
Confession! Confession!!
The proof now...!!

(Enter Iago, stage left.)

IAGO (approaching Othello, pointing towards the left terrace):
Cassio is there!
There? Is he?! I'm on fire!
(To himself.) Such dread! Such dark desire!!
IAGO (leading Othello into the left terrace, to the column most in the background of the left peristylum):
Keep calm! Hide by this column!

(Othello hides behind the column, so that he cannot be seen from the left terrace. Enter Cassio, stage left.)

IAGO (to Cassio, approaching and greeting him):
Come, the terrace is empty.
Is all right, Ser Lieutenant?
This honourable rank's the reason all goes wrong...
Take heart! I'm sure your cause is in the right hands,
and you're soon reinstated!
I thought that Desdemona would be right here.
OTHELLO (from behind the column):
He's said her name!
I'd like to meet her once more...
Knew I she'd spoken for me, I'd be elated!
IAGO (cheerfully):
Wait for her...
(He leads Cassio to the foremost columns in the left peristylum.)
And, since you never grow weary
of sharing with me your lively conversation,
tell me a little more now about your sweetheart!
Of whom?
IAGO (whispering in Cassio's ear):
Miss Bianca...
CASSIO (chortling):
OTHELLO (from behind the column):
He's smiling!
She overwins you 
with her eyes' glitter...
CASSIO (chortling):
You make me snicker!
Laughs first the winner!
CASSIO (chortling, then laughing heartily):
So do I think,
though you said it wrong;
laughs last the winner! Ha-ha!!
IAGO (laughing with Cassio):
OTHELLO (from behind the column):
The wicked triumphs... his laugh at my heart is tearing...
No star shines on me, in my despairing!
Her kisses taste like
fruit out of season...
Such bold unreason!
Let her keep trolling!
Is something new
exciting you, Ser,
has something started?
IAGO (laughing with Cassio):
OTHELLO (from behind the column):
The wicked triumphs... his laugh at my heart is tearing...
No star shines on me in my despairing!
Yes, that's my way, I
say open-hearted.
You know...
IAGO (whispering in Cassio's ear):
In whispers we'll say, I-
-'m all ears...
CASSIO (softly, as Iago pulls him a little more away from the columns):
We two share bedchamber,
you know, in this tower...
OTHELLO (from behind the column, peering from behind to catch some of Cassio's words):
Now he will say which way,
the place, the hour...
CASSIO (softly): an unknown hand...
OTHELLO (from behind the column, peering from behind to catch some of Cassio's words):
I could barely catch three words!
Keep calm! To listen I would like!!
How did this end here?
CASSIO (softly):
...embroidered kerchief...
IAGO (in Cassio's ear, winking an eye at Othello):
So strange! So unusual!
OTHELLO (from behind the column):
Iago gives a sign that I come closer...
IAGO (in Cassio's ear, quietly):
By an unknown hand?
(Loudly.) Humbug!!
(He gestures to Cassio to whisper once more.)
For real, true!
If I but knew who has left it there for me...

(Othello moves gradually, step by step, closer and closer to the younger officers, from the column at the end where he stands all the way to the foremost one nearest Iago and Cassio, himself unseen.)

IAGO (whispering to himself):
Othello's near, I see.
(To Cassio, loudly.) You've got it?
CASSIO (producing Desdemona's strawberry handkerchief from his breast pocket):
IAGO (taking up and admiring the handkerchief):
True art... a wonder!
(To himself.) Othello's closer,
and catching fire like woods in summer...
(Iago puts both his hands on his back, right upon his derrière, for Othello to see the handkerchief he is still holding.)
(To Cassio, ironic.) Fair Ser Lieutenant,
the gods or angels
would in your bed be guests!
OTHELLO (seeing the handkerchief on Iago's back, peering from the foremost column):
Her kerchief! Her kerchief!!
Death and ruin!!
IAGO (to himself, as he gives Cassio the handkerchief):
He can't be closer...
OTHELLO (in a state of shock, watching the handkerchief in Cassio's hands):
All is quenched... my heart's of ice,
untouched by love and sorrow!!
Betrayed... I'm betrayed... trapped!
The proof is crystal clear, as cloudless skies!

IAGO (to Cassio, taking the handkerchief from the lieutenant and fluttering it around):
Within this snare, your
heart, true and young,
trapped and entangled,
its last has sung.
You watch her too much,
her too much admire;
beware, for youthful
love is a liar!
Within this snare, your
heart, true and young,
trapped and entangled,
its last has sung...
CASSIO (taking the handkerchief from Iago's hands and admiring its patterns):
Oh, shawl for a fairy,
laced with bloom and berry,
with needlework woven
of rays of twilight...
Than flakes of snow lighter,
and cooler, and whiter;
spun cloud, in its softness
so airy and bright...
Within this snare, your
heart, true and young,
trapped and entangled,
its last has sung.
You watch her too much,
her too much admire;
beware, for youthful
love is a liar!
Pay heed, Ser!
Within this snare, your
heart, true and young,
trapped and entangled,
its last has sung...
CASSIO (taking the handkerchief from Iago's hands and admiring its patterns, also fluttering it around):
Oh, shawl for a fairy,
laced with bloom and berry,
with needlework woven
of rays of twilight...
Than flakes of snow lighter,
and cooler, and whiter;
spun cloud, in its softness
so airy and bright...
Oh spun cloud, oh shawl for a fairy!
OTHELLO (watching the handkerchief all the time from behind the column):
That betrayal, that betrayal, that betrayal,
has through dreadful... has through dreadful...
dreadful proof just seen the light!
Oh, shawl for a fairy!
Oh, betrayal!
IAGO (to Cassio):
You watch her too much...
Oh, betrayal!
Pay heed! Pay heed!

(Deep fanfare call in the distance.)

(Deep fanfare call echoed from nearer, from various parts of the fortress.)

IAGO (to Cassio):
This is the signal that announces
the arrival of the Ambassador's ship.
Now listen.
All of the fortress now chimes in his landing...
If you don't want to cross Othello's path now,
run off!
CASSIO (waving Iago goodbye):
Goodbye, then.
(Exit Cassio, running off at breakneck speed, stage left.)

(Othello finally pops up from behind his column hiding-place.)

OTHELLO (approaching Iago):
How should I end her life?!
You watched him well, how he laughed, his reactions?
Saw it.
And that silk tissue?
Everything, yes.

COMMONERS (from offstage):
Long live him! To the landing!
Man the gangway!

She's doomed forever.

COMMONERS (from offstage):
Long live him!

Ensure that I may get tonight some poison...
No poison, no.

COMMONERS (from offstage):
Greet the envoy from our Leader!!

I'd rather suffocate her
upon the very marriage bed she has tainted.
I'm pleased with your sense of justice.
IAGO (whispering):
And Cassio... Yours Truly of him will take care.
Thus, from on now, Iago, my aide-de-camp I've chosen.
Lord Commander, 'tis hard to thank you...
There are the dignitaries!
Greet them welcome... but, not to raise suspicions,
introduce Desdemona to their presence!
She will be here...

(Exit Iago stage left. Othello strides to the background to receive the dignitaries.)

(Enter Othello, with Iago on his right; Ambassador Ludovico; Roderigo; the herald; Desdemona chaperoned by Emilia; male and female dignitaries from the capital of the realm; the regimental band, and Cassio last of all, hiding behind a column in shame.)

Welcome! Long live him!
Greet the envoy from our Leader!!
Welcome! Long live him!
Greet the envoy from our Leader!!
Welcome! Long live him!

LUDOVICO (handing Othello an envelope):
The Leader and the Council
send their regards to the victorious war hero.
Into your hands, I bring thus
the message they have written.

OTHELLO (kissing the lacquer seal on the envelope, before he opens the letter):
I kiss the Great Seal of our high Overlord.

LUDOVICO (approaching Desdemona, kissing her right hand):
The heavens bless you, my lady.
DESDEMONA (curtsying before Ludovico):
The heavens bless you.

EMILIA (in Desdemona's ear):
You look so downcast...
DESDEMONA (in Emilia's ear):
Emilia, some great trouble
clouds Othello's judgement and my own spirit...
IAGO (to Ludovico, bowing low):
Your Lordship, your presence is an honour.
LUDOVICO (forming a circle with Desdemona and Iago):
Iago, what news? 'Tis strange that
we cannot find Lieutenant Cassio...
He's lost Othello's favour...
DESDEMONA (sweetly):
He'll be reinstated, I believe.
OTHELLO (reading the letter, casting but a glance on Desdemona):
Are you of that sure?
What was it?
He's reading, too concentrated...
He'll be reinstated, just maybe...
Iago, I hope so;
you know my true affection towards young Cassio...
OTHELLO (still reading, casting but a piercing glance on Desdemona, slightly angry):
Could you restrain those loose lips while I read?
Please forgive me, my lord...
OTHELLO (lunging at Desdemona, in a fit of rage):
Shut up, you strumpet!!
LUDOVICO (restraining Othello):
Halt, Ser!!
So dreadful! So dreadful!!
I can't believe my eyes, no;
this must be an illusion...
OTHELLO (to the herald, commanding imperiously):
Bring here Cassio!!
IAGO (running to Othello's side, in his ear):
For what now?

(Exit the herald.)

OTHELLO (in Iago's ear):
Watch her once he's been summoned.

(Othello walks to the balcony door in the background of the middle of the stage and stands frozen there. Desdemona breaks into tears.)

Poor broken lady!
LUDOVICO (to Iago):
Is this man our war hero? Is this Othello,
the warrior everyone worships?!
That man himself.
Explain your thoughts, good fellow!
In this case, keeping silence is far better.

(Enter Cassio stage left, followed by the herald.)

OTHELLO (turning around, seeing Cassio's arrival):
There he is!! Right here! 
(To Iago.) Watch him, and don't forget her!
(Out loud, to everyone, reading from the letter.) Good folk, our Leader...
(To Desdemona.) Fine tears, pretender!
(Out loud, to everyone, reading from the letter.) headquarters recalls me.
RODERIGO (to himself):
Now I'm for crying!
OTHELLO (out loud, to everyone, reading from the letter):
As my successor,
he's chosen a young man, a sure contender,
my aide-de-camp once: Cassio.
IAGO (gasping in shock):
To hell, to dying!!
OTHELLO (out loud, to everyone, reading from the letter):
Our Gracious Leader's word is law forever.
CASSIO (kneeling before Othello):
I shall obey.

OTHELLO (in Iago's ear, pointing at Cassio):
Look here! The scoundrel seems not excited.
IAGO (in Othello's ear):

OTHELLO (out loud, to everyone, without looking Cassio in the eye):
The regiment, the townsfolk...
(In Desdemona's ear, hissing.) Keep on sobbing and crying!
(Out loud, to everyone, without looking Cassio in the eye.) ...cannons, fleet, and the fortress,
I leave in charge of my successor.
LUDOVICO (to Othello, pointing at a desperate Desdemona):
Othello, comfort her...
comfort her, please, or her heart will shatter...
OTHELLO (to Desdemona):
We're setting sail tomorrow.
(Othello furiously packs Desdemona by both wrists.)
OTHELLO (shoving Desdemona down to the ground, furious, slapping her across the face):
Now down!! Choke your sorrow!!

(Emilia and Ludovico raise Desdemona up as she dusts her clothes.)

I've fallen... struck... upon the dust...
prostrate... my heart... is breaking...
tears run... my blood is freezing with
a shudder... I must die...
Once springtime bloomed in hope and joy,
smiles, kisses, unforsaken...
yet seasons always change, and
now gone's the springtime sky...
This April sun, serene and bright,
illuming shore, sea, and sky,
cannot revive these flowers right,
my tears it cannot dry...

How innocent, unstruck, and pure,
no hatred she's displaying;
she holds her ground, and chokes back sure
her bosom's pain within...
Crystal teardroplets shatter,
her searing face allaying...
Who mourns her not a heart of stone
has, shrivelled up by sin!

My fairest sun is setting
into a starless night...
Forth goes my lovely angel,
the world's bereft of light...

Like tennis ball struck, I've been raised
from deep disgrace to glory...
Though crowned by chance, to lifeless hand
and head's offered the crown...
Shall night give way to morning light?
Will I see end this story?
I may be rising to the skies,
yet wake up, crashing down...

His right hand raised against her,
his lungs are breathing fire;
her fairy face, streaming with tears,
turned upwards to the skies...
Compassion sighs just to behold
her sorrow and his ire,
moving to tears of warmth that will
thaw any heart of ice...

DESDEMONA (very sweetly):
Once springtime bloomed in hope and joy,
smiles, kisses, unforsaken...
yet seasons always change, and
now gone's the springtime sky...
I've fallen... prostrate... 
my heart is... to break...
my blood is freezing with
a shudder... I must die...

Poor wife! Poor wife! Poor wife!
Such dire, deathly anxiety
takes over us, souls frozen and in life still dead...
He struck her down!
He struck her down! That soft face, lilywhite,
lowered and silent, sobbing, in despair...
Thus, when doomed is the sinner, in the heavens,
shed tears for those condemned to hell the angels fair...

There's something! There's something! There's something!
That dark man knows no piety...
Ominous, sinister is he, inspiring dread...
Tearing his shirt, then at his chest
clawing! Upon the dry ground is still fixed his gaze!
Then, rising up, his dark fists punching upwards, he
challenges the heavens and the sun's bright rays!!

(After recovering from his fit of rage, an exhausted Othello collapses in a chair.)

IAGO (in Othello's ear, shaking him up slightly):
May I have a word now?

OTHELLO (coming to):
What now?

Make haste now! Show them
revenge's taste now! For time is flying...

Well spoken.

A fit of rage is useless. Allons-y!
Care only for our vengeance! There's no delaying!
I think of Cassio. I know right where to find him.
Hades has a place for his inglorious soul already!

Who'll tear that soul off?
So I swore.
So be it.
You shall have news of him this very evening.

(Iago turns around to address a dejected Roderigo)

Your dream girl will sail the bright blue tomorrow,
you'll stay on terra firma...
Marooned, Ser!
You... Dummkopf! Dummkopf!
Who dares wins! Lose not hope! You human?!
All right! Come down to Earth now and listen.
I listen...
The flagship will set sail at daybreak.
Now Cassio rules here.
If our young lord should now befall some...
(Clutching the hilt of his dagger.) ...misfortune...
Othello and his wife stay.
Sinister light in my darkest despair!
Get that sword ready!
In the dark, I can trace the paths he follows;
the time and place I'll tell... it's up to you.
I shall escort you. The hunt's up! The hunt's up!
So load your gun, too...
Yes! We stay to one another true!
IAGO (to himself):
Dash for the mirror! Your expectations
are still confused with that elusive dream...
Follow my shrewd and clever indications,
fool in love! I follow myself, not what I seem!
RODERIGO (to himself):
The dice are cast! Thus, I'll wait without fearing,
unknown and uncertain my bitter end...
Love leads me on, yet dreadful disappearing
is closing in; there's no hope, I can't myself defend...

OTHELLO (furious, to the whole crowd):
OTHELLO (furious, to the whole crowd):

(Fanfare offstage)

IAGO (to everyone):
He's struck down by an illness
that of all sense deprives him...
OTHELLO (loudly): 
Whoe'er confronts me 
shall I treat as a rebel!!

LUDOVICO (leading Desdemona away to safety, twining her right arm in his left):
Come with me.

CROWD OF TOWNSFOLK (from offstage):
Long live him!

DESDEMONA (leaving Ludovico and storming towards Othello):
My husband!!

OTHELLO (to Desdemona, furious):
My love... the greatest curse be upon you!!!

EVERYONE (leaving in panic):
Good Lord!!

(Exit Desdemona, visibly brokenhearted, flanked by Emilia and Ludovico.)

(Everyone has left but Othello and Iago, now tête-à-tête.)

OTHELLO (delirious, back on his chair):
There's no escape alone... Bloodshed!!
Ah... Despicable thought, that... "I don't like this..."
(Even more delirious, getting up from his chair but reeling): To see them clasp each other...
...that silken tissue... that silken tissue... that silken tissue... Ah! Aah! Aaagh!!!
(He falls backwards, struck by another grand mal seizure, then keeps on tossing and writhing on the ground.)

(Fanfares from outside.)

COMMONERS (from offstage):
Long live Othello!!

IAGO (to himself, listening to the crowd):
My poison is effective...
(Looking down on the epileptic, unconscious Othello.) Glorious and victorious,
loudly ring his praises...

(He puts a foot to the nape of Othello's neck, as if to tread on it. Pause. Othello ceases to writhe but is still lying unconscious on the ground, Iago moving to the side Othello is facing... and putting a foot to his commanding officer's face. Silence, Iago frozen in place, as if toying with the idea.)

IAGO (at the end of the pause): Who can stop me from leaving
footprints upon his forehead?

(More, and louder, fanfares and cheers from all over the fortress.)

COMMONERS (from offstage, each time closer and louder):
Long live, long live Othello!
Send our Lion victorious!!

IAGO (defiantly, standing upright, treading on Othello's face with his left foot, pointing down at the general's lifeless form, now more sinister than ever):



Desdemona's bedchamber. The door is on the right. A canopy bed, a nightstand table, a dressing table with its mirror, a pair of chairs, a wardrobe, and a prie-dieu in whose altar a candelabra illuminates an image, or icon, of the Virgin Mary. Another candelabra burns on the nightstand table. It is late evening. Desdemona, in her lacy négligée, and Emilia, in her usual maid's uniform, sitting on the chairs, both females visibly tense yet putting on brave faces.

Has he calmed down now?
So it seems. He's told me
to go to bed and wait for him. Emilia,
could you please make the bed with our wedding night sheets,
and spread my snow-white wedding gown on the covers?

(Emilia makes the bed with the wedding night sheets and, after that, takes Desdemona's wedding dress out of the wardrobe and gently places it upon the covers.)

DESDEMONA (prompting Emilia to come closer):
If I by chance should die before you, please
use as my shroud these snow-white sheets and covers!
Aside cast all these worries!
DESDEMONA (sighing):
Tonight I'm weak and weary...
(In front of the dressing table mirror, as she undresses):
My mother had at her service a maiden
with loveliness laden.
This servant's name was
Varvara. Her lover
one day suddenly left her for another;
she had a song of a willow-tree...
Let down my hair, Emilia...
(Emilia undoes Desdemona's hairstyle, letting golden cascades fall down her upper back and shoulders.)
This evening, I cannot forget and still remember
that tune, bleak as November...
The poor soul sat sighing
upon dire waste land,
by a sycamore tree...
Oh willow, willow, willow!
Her head in her hands plunged
and low bent the knee...
Oh willow, willow, willow!
Sing green, oh! Sing green, oh!
The weeping willow shall
soon be my wedding garland...
Fresh streams sparkling ran through banks in full bloom,
yet her young heart was broken...
Through her painful eyes, that heart streamed out in gloom;
no word was breathed or spoken...
Oh willow, willow, willow!
Sing green, oh! Sing green, oh!
The weeping willow shall
soon be my wedding garland...
The songbirds of springtime were drawn by her tone,
all of her tears and sighing
would stir the rocks and their hard hearts of stone, 
so they would soon be crying...
Oh willow, willow, willow!
Sing green, oh! Sing green, oh!
The weeping willow shall
soon be my wedding garland...

(Desdemona takes off her wedding ring from the left ring finger.)

DESDEMONA (to Emilia, as she places her wedding ring in Emilia's left ring finger, next to Emilia's own ring): Please keep my ring, I trust you...
(Standing up): Ah, poor young Varvara! The final lyrics
of such a mournful song be sung hereof:
"He was born to attain high glory;
I, born to love..."

(Clanking steel from outside.)

DESDEMONA (to Emilia):

(Emilia takes a pair of steps closer to Desdemona.)
(Roderigo and Cassio screaming in pain outside, offstage.)
DESDEMONA (to Emilia):
Don't you hear screaming?
(Putting an index finger to her lips.) Hush. 

(The evening breeze strikes the shutters, giving the impression of knocks on the door.)

DESDEMONA (to Emilia):
Someone knocked on our door now?
EMILIA (reassuring):
You are dreaming...

DESDEMONA (sweetly):
I to love him and to die...
Sing green, oh! Sing willow!
Emilia, good evening. Oh, my eyes are so teary!
It's a sign that I'll shed tears...
Oh, Emilia, I'm so weary!

(Emilia turns around and prepares to leave. Upon hearing Desdemona say "I'm so weary," she quickly pivots back to her lady's side and embraces her, mussing Desdemona's golden head with one hand as her other arm clasps the young lady's waist, Desdemona embracing her handmaid in exchange.)

DESDEMONA (sighing, clinging to Emilia's waist):
Live well, Emilia, forever!

(Emilia finally loosens her grip on a more reassured Desdemona. Exit Emilia through the door, stage right, leaving Desdemona on her own.)

DESDEMONA (kneeling in her prie-dieu, to the Virgin on the altar):
Ave Maria, gratia plena, benedicta
eris tu semper in mulieribus...
Dominus tecum, et benedictus fructus...
benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus...
(Sweetly.) Pray for the one who upon bent knees implores you,
pray for the innocent, and for the sinner,
for the oppressed weak and th'oppressive winner,
even he suffers... mercy that adores you...
(Passionately.) Pray for those who, through outrage and misfortune,
lower their gaze, resign to fate unfair...
(Sweetly once more.) ...nunc et in hora mortis, mortis nostra...
ora pro nobis, pray and hear my prayer!
(She thrusts her elbows on the altar, her head buried in her hands, repeating her prayer sobbing and in such a low voice that only the first and last words are audible.)
Ave Maria, gratia plena, benedicta...
... hora mortis nostra!
Ave... Amen!
(She finally rises, drying up her tears, and goes to bed, tucking herself under the bedcovers and drawing the bed-curtains, but still feeling tense.)

(Enter Othello through the door, stage right. After shutting the door, he places his sword on the dressing table and stands for a while before the candelabra on the nightstand table, doubting whether he shall quench the flames or not. Then he gently pushes the bed-curtains aside and, after casting but a glance on Desdemona, he blows out the candles on the nightstand, leaving the bedchamber only lit, in twilight or penumbra, by the prie-dieu candelabra. In a jealous rage, he pivots towards the bed and approaches the sleeping Desdemona, but suddenly, when standing right above her, he freezes in place, watching his lady for a while, mournfully. After a while, he kisses her once, twice, thrice. The third kiss awakens her.)

DESDEMONA (in a daze, half-awake):
Who is there? Othello?

My lady, have you said your evening prayers?

DESDEMONA (sweetly):
Of course...

Should you remember
any offence you made and left unconfessed,
confess it now, and your sins are forgiven.

And why?

Confess now. I will not kill your soul,
no, spared be your spirit...

You speak of murder...?

Mercy, Mary, upon me!!


And mercy be upon you too!!

Think of your sins now...

My only sin is love...

You'll die for love's sake...

You'll kill me for I love you?

OTHELLO (ominous):
You love Cassio.

Love? As a friend or a brother!

OTHELLO (ominous):
You've given him the handkerchief I gave you.

That's a lie, right?!

In his young hands I saw it.

I have ne'er been unfaithful!

Confess now!!

I swear!!

Of oathbreaking beware...
Know that you're lying right now on your deathbed.

Not for tonight...!

Soon you'll be dying...

Help me!
'Twixt me and Cassio... 
Send for him here, to tell you!

OTHELLO (coldly):
He'll never answer.

DESDEMONA (sobbing):
Is he... dead, right?!

OTHELLO (coldly):
Stone dead.

DESDEMONA (breaking into tears):
He's betrayed... I am lost, too!

OTHELLO (already beginning to flare up):
And you dare to mourn him?!

DESDEMONA (breaking into tears):
Please spare me... please don't end my life...

In vain yourself defending...

DESDEMONA (breaking into tears):
Please let me live... please let me live...
please let me live...

OTHELLO (shoving Desdemona down to the mattress in a fit of rage):
Fall! Down now! Fall! Down now, harlot, strumpet!!

Let go!!

OTHELLO (slapping Desdemona across the face):
Die, wench!!!

Let me for tonight live...


An hour...


Just an instant...


Let me say a Hail Mary...

OTHELLO (clasping Desdemona in his arms):


(He presses her tightly to his chest, as she writhes and struggles to break free in vain. About three or four minutes later, still pressed to his chest, her movements die down and she is still, her arms hanging pale and limp at her sides. Then, Othello shoves the lifeless form back onto the mattress, in a fit of rage.)

(Loud, quick knocks on the door.)

OTHELLO (beholding Desdemona's lifeless form, before drawing the bed-curtains):
Still as a dead one...

(More loud knocks on the door. This time, by her voice, it's revealed that Emilia is the one knocking.)

EMILIA (offstage, outside, frantically knocking on the door):
Please open! Please open!!
(She knocks on the door, still feverishly, once more.)

OTHELLO (drawing the bed-curtains, shocked):
Who is there... a-knocking?

EMILIA (offstage, outside, frantically knocking on the door):
Please, Your Lordship, I pray, let me enter...
let me tell you... Please open!!

OTHELLO (opening the door):
Emilia! What's happened?

EMILIA (entering the room):
Such a misfortune! Cassio's stabbed one Roderigo...

And Cassio...?

He lives.

OTHELLO (in shock):
Does he live still??!!

DESDEMONA (from her bed, with her last dying breath in a weak voice):
I die here guiltless... for sins I ne'er committed...

EMILIA (hastening to the bed):
Who was that?
(Pushing the bed-curtains aside, in shock.) Good Lord!!

DESDEMONA (in bed, with her last dying breath in a weak voice):
Innocent, dying...

EMILIA (in shock):
Who did it?! Good Lord, who did?!

DESDEMONA (in bed, with her last dying breath in a weak voice):
I don't know... myself, sure... please, send
my spouse my last regards, please... innocent, dying...
innocent, dying... 
fare thee well.
(She ceases to breathe.)

(Emilia thrusts her head on Desdemona's chest and recoils, feeling no heartbeat at all.)

That lying strumpet... whom I stifled!

EMILIA (in a slight rage, tinged with self-control):
Vile assassin!

OTHELLO (exhausted, coming to from his fit of rage):
She and Cassio were lovers.
Please ask Iago.


OTHELLO (coldly, exhausted):

EMILIA (in a now even more blazing rage):
Moron!! Did you believe him??!!

OTHELLO (enraged once more, lunging at Emilia):
Dare you deny it??!!

EMILIA (coolly, staring Othello in the eyes):
I'm not frightened.

OTHELLO (packing Emilia by both wrists):
Stay here!!

EMILIA (breaking free from Othello's grasp):
Mayday! Bring help, bring assistance!!
(She storms out to the threshold.)
(Screaming in the doorway.) OTHELLO'S STIFLED HIS LADY WIFE!!

(Enter Ludovico, Iago, and Cassio, the young lieutenant all pale and weary, his left leg bandaged with the strawberry handkerchief and bloodstained, staggering, limping, leaning on the other two men for crutches.)

What screaming!! 
(Looking towards the bed): Alas! Alas!! Alas!!!

(The men who support Cassio lay him to rest on a chair, where he slumps unconscious.)

EMILIA (to Iago):
Are you a man? If so, confront this wife-slayer.
Did you believe Desdemona was unfaithful?

So I believed it.

The handkerchief which was my first love-gift
she gave, in turn, to young Cassio...

By all heavenly powers!!

IAGO (to Emilia, covering his wife's mouth with his hands):

(Emilia bites Iago in the hand, freeing herself. He winces but slightly as she packs him by both wrists.)

(Enter a detachment of armed soldiers.)

NO!!! I will reveal all!!

IAGO (freeing himself from his wife's grasp, firing his pistol at point-blank range):

EMILIA (struck by Iago's bullet in the left side, pale, coughing up blood):
NO!!! He snatched
that berry handkerchief by force from my hands,
tearing it off me!
(She slumps unconscious into the other chair.)

CASSIO (coming to):
And in my quarters
I found it then...

LUDOVICO (pointing at Iago):
Of stab wounds dying, Roderigo has
revealed all schemes wrought by this scoundrel!

OTHELLO (lunging at Iago):
Gasp!! Explain yourself!!!

IAGO (storming out the door):

Halt, please!

(Exit Iago, running as fast as he can.)

LUDOVICO (to the soldiers):
Pursue him! 

Seize that scoundrel now!!

(Exit the detachment of soldiers, in pursuit of Iago.)

OTHELLO (taking up his sword from the dressing table, desperate):
Has Zeus no lightning left for me??!!

LUDOVICO (snatching the sword from Othello's grasp):
Give me your sword.

OTHELLO (resisting):
How dare you??!!
No one dread me.
Any child can disarm me. My journey ends here...
There's no return... Oh, glory... Othello's gone!
(He plunges the sword into his own solar plexus, then staggers towards the bed and his lady's form...)
(To the lifeless Desdemona, sobbing.) And you... how pale and cold, my dear!
Pious, noble child born under stars of sorrow...
Pale as your wedding gown, cold as the winter...
like your pure, short life...
My lady love! My lady wife! Ah... Dead lies Desdemona!!!

(Drawing a hidden main-gauche dagger he keeps buckled to his right thigh, Othello puts it to the left side of his chest.)

OTHELLO (stabbing himself in the left side of the chest):
I am still armed!

CASSIO (standing up, staggering towards Othello, as his commanding officer stabs himself):
Halt! Stop this!

(The dying Othello looks down on Cassio and viceversa. Both officers, locking eyes, reach out, then hold right hands as a token of reconciliation: the young officer is finally forgiven. As Othello turns back to Desdemona's form, Cassio dries up a few tears, sobbing.)

Such misfortune!!

OTHELLO (dying, coughing up blood, to Desdemona's form as he caresses her):
Right ere I killed you... dear... I kissed you thrice...
Now... plunging into darkness...
how much I miss you...
I kiss you...
(He kisses her cold lips.)
I kiss you once more...
(He gives her a second kiss...)
Ah... die on the third kiss...
(He kisses her for the third time, breathing his last into her suffocated airways, to rise up nevermore.)