• Enter RODMERIGO and IAGO

    RODERIGO

    Tush! Never tell me. I take it much unkindly
    That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
    As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.

    IAGO

    'Sblood, but you’ll not hear me! If ever I did dream of such a matter, abhor me.

    RODERIGO

    Thou told’st me
    Thou didst hold him in thy hate.

    IAGO

    Despise me
    If I do not. Three great ones of the city
    10(In personal suit to make me his lieutenant)
    Off-capped 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 them with a bombast circumstance
    15Horribly stuffed with epithets of war,
    And in conclusion
    Nonsuits my mediators. For “Certes,” says he,
    “I have already chose my officer.”
    And what was he?
    20Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
    One Michael Cassio, a Florentine
    (A fellow almost damned in a fair wife)
    That never set a squadron in the field,
    Nor the division of a battle knows
    25More than a spinster—unless the bookish theoric,
  • RODERIGO and IAGO enter.

    RODERIGO

    Come on, don’t tell me that. I don’t like it that you knew about this, Iago. All this time I’ve thought you were such a good friend that I’ve let you spend my money as if it was yours.

    IAGO

    Damn it, you’re not listening to me! I never dreamed this was happening—if you find out I did, you can go ahead and hate me.

    RODERIGO

    You told me you hated him.

    IAGO

    I do hate him, I swear. Three of Venice’s most important noblemen took their hats off to him and asked him humbly to make me his lieutenant, the second in command. And I know my own worth well enough to know I deserve that position. But he wants to have things his own way, so he sidesteps the issue with a lot of military talk and refuses their request. “I’ve already chosen my lieutenant,” he says. And who does he choose? A guy who knows more about numbers than fighting! This guy from Florence named Michael Cassio. He has a pretty wife but he can’t even control her. And he’s definitely never commanded men in battle. He’s got no more hands-on knowledge of warfare than an old woman—unless you count what he’s read in books,

    him

    They\’re talking about Othello, though they never mention his name.