Othello Act 1 Scene 3

SCENE III. A council-chamber.

The DUKE and Senators sitting at a table; Officers attending
DUKE OF VENICE
There is no composition^1 in these news
That gives them credit.
First Senator
Indeed, they are disproportion’d;
My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.
DUKE OF VENICE
And mine, a hundred and forty.
Second Senator
And mine, two hundred:
But though they jump^5 not on a just account,–
As in these cases, where the aim reports^6,
‘Tis oft with difference–yet do they all confirm
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up to Cyprus.
DUKE OF VENICE
Nay, it is possible enough to judgment:
I do not so secure^10 me in the error,
But the main article I do approve
In fearful sense^12.
Sailor
[Within] What, ho! what, ho! what, ho!
First Officer
A messenger from the galleys.
Enter a Sailor

DUKE OF VENICE
Now, what’s the business?
Sailor
The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes;
So was I bid report here to the state
By^17 Signior Angelo.
DUKE OF VENICE
How say you by this change?
First Senator
This cannot be,
By no assay of reason: ’tis a pageant,
To keep us in false gaze. When we consider
The importancy of Cyprus to the Turk,
And let ourselves again but understand^22-23,
That as it more concerns^24 the Turk than Rhodes,
So may he with more facile question bear it,
For that it stands not in such warlike brace,
But altogether lacks the abilities
That Rhodes is dress’d in: if we make thought of this,
We must not think the Turk is so unskilful
To leave that latest which concerns him first,
Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,
To wake and wage a danger profitless.
DUKE OF VENICE
Nay, in all confidence, he’s not for Rhodes.
First Officer
Here is more news.
Enter a Messenger

Messenger
The Ottomites^33, reverend and gracious,
Steering with due course towards the isle of Rhodes,
Have there injointed them with an after fleet.

1. Composition, agreement.

5. Jump, tally.

6. Aim reports, conjecture bandies about reports.

10. Secure, Der. se (as in se-paro) cura, without care. I do not lay aside anxiety on account of the discrepancy in the accounts.

12. In fearful sense, in feeling fearful,

17. By, about.

18. Root, pag, to fasten.

22-3. Not only is it more important but he can bear (ferre) the business more easily — win the place.

24. It is not so well fortified.

33. Ottomites, founder of the Turkish empire in A.D. 1299.

Paraphrase:

Duke Of Venice: We must discredit this news; it is inconsistent.

First Senator: Indeed, mine say 107 ships.

Duke of Venice: And mine, 140.

Second Senator: And mine 200. But despite their inconsistencies, we know for sure that they are headed for Cyprus.

Duke of Venice: That does not discredit the general idea, which scares me.

Sailor: HO! HO! (I’m here)

First Senator: A message from the seas.

Duke of Venice: What’s going on?

Sailor: The Turks are headed for Rhodes, not Cyprus.

Duke of Venice: What do you think of this change?

First Senator: Impossible change.  We know they care much more about Cyprus than Rhodes, and Rhodes is much more secure.  We can discount this as trickery; they are trying to distract us.

Duke of Venice: You’re right.

Messenger: The Turks are headed for Rhodes to meet another fleet.

 

Similes and Metaphors, Literary Devices:

Line 27: That Rhodes is dress’d in—personification–Rhodes is well defended

 

 

 

 

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