There is a scene where Cassio doesn’t want to go drinking but is bullied into doing so by the play’s bad man, Iago.
Not only does Cassio end up hopelessly drunk and acting totally out of character, but he becomes abusive, gets in a fight and ends up stabbing someone.
Because of this he loses his job, the respect of all who know him and ends up a complete loser for most of the play, and at least until it is discovered that Iago is ultimately responsible for all the bad things that occur.
There are some wonderful words Cassio speaks which explain his reaction to having been drunk and that struck an accord with me:
I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!
Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus recovered?
It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me another, to make me frankly despise myself.
Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time, the place, and the condition of this country stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen; but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is un-blessed and the ingredient is a devil.
There was a time not so many years ago when I was very drunk one afternoon and in a posh London wine bar, and I got into a drunken row over something petty with someone who was equally inebriated. The chap in question asked me outside for a fight, something even drunk I would never contemplate, but what really sobered me up was another chap handing me a knife for my protection and expecting me to use it!
It is unbelievable to think that drink could have led to what could have become a disastrous situation for all concerned.
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