Usbek to his wife Zachi  in the Isfahan seraglio
You have offended me, Zachi, and I feel in my heart urges that you ought to fear if my departure did not leave you the time to change your behavior and calm the violent jealousy tormenting me.
I hear that you have been found alone with the white eunuch Nadir,  who will pay for his infidelity and betrayal with his head. How have you have so forgotten yourself as not to realize that you are not permitted to receive a white eunuch in your room, while you have black ones whose duty is it to serve you ?  There is no point in your telling me that eunuchs are not men, and that your virtue sets you above thoughts that an imperfect resemblance could suggest to you. That will not do either for you or for me. For you, because you are doing something that the laws of the seraglio forbid you to do ; for me, because you violate my honor by exposing yourself to the gaze – nay, merely the gaze ? perhaps to the enterprises  – of a traitor who might have soiled you with his crimes, and even more by his regrets and the despair of his impotence.
Maybe you will tell me that you have always been faithful to me. But what choice did you have ? How could you have evaded the vigilance of those black eunuchs who are so taken aback by the life you lead ? How could you have broken those bolts and those doors that keep you locked in ? You vaunt a virtue that is not free ; and your impure desires have perhaps a thousand times denied you the merit and the reward for that fidelity you so vaunt.
Supposing you have not done all that I have reason to suspect ; that the traitor did not put his sacrilegious hands on you ; that you refused to feast his eyes on his master’s delights ; that, with your clothes on, you kept that frail barrier between him and yourself ; that, himself struck by a holy respect, he lowered his eyes ; that, his boldness failing, he trembled at the punishments he is setting in store for himself : were all that true, it is no less true that you have done something counter to your duty ; and if you have violated it for nothing, without gratifying your restive inclinations, what would have done to satisfy them ? What would you yet do if you could escape that sacred place, which to you is a harsh prison, as it is for your companions a favorable haven from the attacks of vice, a holy temple where your sex loses its helplessness and becomes invincible, despite all the disadvantages of nature ? What would you do if, left to yourself, you had nothing to defend you but your love for me, which is so grievously offended, and your duty, which you have so unworthily betrayed ? Sacred are the ways of the country where you live, which preserve you from attack by the vilest slaves ? You must thank me for the constraint under which I keep you, since it is only because of it that you still deserve to live.
You cannot suffer the chief of the eunuchs, because he always has his eyes on your behavior, and gives you wise advice. His face is so horrible, you say, that you cannot look at him without cringing, as if we placed more beautiful objects in that sort of position. What you regret is not having in his place the white eunuch who dishonors you.
But what did your first slave do to you ? She told you that the liberties you were taking with the young Zelide  were indecent : that is the reason for your ire.
I ought to be a severe judge, Zachi ; I am but a husband, who is trying to find you innocent. My love for Roxane,  my new wife, has left to me all the affection I should have for you, who are not less fair. I share my love between you, and Roxane’s only advantage is that which virtue can add to beauty.
Smyrna this 12th day of the moon of Zilcade 1712