Have you prayed tonight, Desdemon?
If you bethink yourself of any crime
Unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace,
Solicit for it straight.
If you’ve committed any crime you haven’t asked God to forgive yet, own up to it now.
Well, do it, and be brief; I will walk by:
I would not kill thy unpreparèd spirit;
No - heavens forfend! I would not kill thy soul.
Why is Othello hesitating to kill her? What does he want to her to do first and why do you think it’s important to him?
A spirit which has not confessed and been forgiven by God. To kill someone with an unprepared spirit would mean they would go to hell.
Talk you of killing?
Have mercy on me!
Amen, with all my heart!
If you say so, I hope you will not kill me.
And yet I fear you: for you’re fatal then
When your eyes roll so. Why I should fear I know not,
Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.
I’m afraid of you right now because you’re dangerous when you get that jealous look in your eyes: I don’t know why I’m afraid because I haven’t done anything wrong: but I am scared.
Think on thy sins.
They are loves I bear to you.
Ay, and for that thou diest.
That death’s unnatural that kills for loving.
Alas, why gnaw you so your nether lip?
Some bloody passion shakes your very frame:
These are portents, but yet I hope, I hope
They do not point on me.
Oh no, why are you chewing on your lip like that? You’re shaking with violent anger: these are all signs of something bad but I really hope it isn’t aimed at me.
Peace, and be still!
I will - so. What’s the matter?
That handkerchief which I so loved and gave thee,
Thou gav’st to Cassio.
This is the first time Othello actually tells her what’s wrong. How do you think Desdemona feels in this moment?
No, by my life and soul!
Send for the man and ask him.
Sweet soul, take heed,
Take heed of perjury: thou art on thy deathbed.
Perjury is when someone lies in court in front of a judge. Here, Othello is warning Desdemona that she should not tell lies because she’s about to die but it also implies he thinks of himself as her judge.
(Text edited for rehearsals by Iqbal Khan)