Othello, Act V, Scene 2, line 342, suicide speech:
Soft you; a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know’t.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this;
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
And smote him, thus.
A comment loosely based on a paper by Peter Stallybrass, Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, “Marginal England: The View from Aleppo”:
In this scene, Shakespeare reveals Othello’s hybrid personality. He is the malignant and turban’d Turk – i.e., the alien Moor. At the same time he is the upholder of the Venetian state. Before the beginning of the play, he had occupied Cyprus as general of the Venetian forces. The Ottomans had been beaten back by a storm at sea.
In his suicide speech, Othello, as the upholder of the Venetian state, kills the turban’d Turk, the circumcised dog.
It happened – not in Venice, nor in Cyprus – but in far away Aleppo, which had surprised Elizabethan travelers by its religious and ethnic tolerance.