Thursday, September 10, 2015

John Henke and Joe Miserlian Act 1 Othello Summary Response

Act 1 of Othello, by William Shakespeare, illustrates manipulation. Throughout the act, the main villain, Iago, consistently manipulates Roderigo, Othello, and Brabantio. He manipulated Brabantio into thinking that Othello kidnapped his daughter, and fooled Othello into believing that Iago is trustworthy, when he repeatedly endeavors to desolate Othello and all he treasures! Act 1 of Othello by Shakespeare introduces the idea of manipulation, and how it can be interpreted.

  • Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, main idea
  • Supporting ideas to prove main ideas
  • Explanation of ideas
  • Concluding sentence: restate main idea

Response: Othello, by William Shakespeare, correctly portrays manipulation through the relationship of Iago and Roderigo, because Iago is secretly influencing Roderigo to achieve an ulterior motive.  
  • Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, agree/disagree (correctly portrays/ incorrectly portrays), because ___________ and ______________
  • Claim 1: Manipulation
    • Set-up Iago feigns to help Roderigo, when really he uses him to accomplish his goal.  After manipulating Roderigo, Iago clarifies the situation,
    • Evidence: Lead-in  “Thus, do I ever make my fool my purse” (Shakespeare 1.3.426).
    • Explanation of quotation to prove claim
Iago needs Roderigo to follow Othello to Cyprus.  Iago knows that Roderigo has always loved Desdemona and was very miserable after she married Othello. Iago gains Roderigo’s trust by convincing him that he can win Desdemona’s love using money. Roderigo plans to sell all his land to obtain an overabundance of money. He has no suspicions that Iago is using him.  Now that Iago has manipulated Roderigo into joining his side, he can utilize him for vengeance on Othello.

 quote - act, scene, lines.

  • Counterclaim 1:However, it can be seen that Iago helps Roderigo gain confidence and money.  Iago advises Roderigo on many methods by which he could steal Desdemona from Othello.  Iago tells Roderigo that if he secures a vast amount of money, he is capable of winning her.  Iago instructs him, “Put money in thy purse” (Shakespeare 1.3.382).  Iago supports Roderigo in his quest for Desdemona.  Roderigo is exceptionally wealthy and controls vast sums of land, so Iago recommends he sell his land for money.  Iago also persuades Roderigo out of committing suicide, “No more of drowning, do you hear” (Shakespeare 1.3.421). Roderigo believes that he does not have a chance with Desdemona, so he contemplates whether or not he should continue his life. Iago knows that he can still earn Desdemona’s love so he encourages Roderigo to survive and persevere.  Only someone who truly cares about the life of a friend would comfort in such a way. Iago believes Roderigo still has a chance with Desdemona and agrees to help him.     

  • Set-up
    • Evidence: Lead-in   
    • Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaim

  • What are the strengths/ flaws of this argument? Rebuttal
  • Opinion based
  • Evidence based USE QUOTES
  • No personal words
  • Give both sides
  • Reactionary
  • Concluding sentence: restate main idea
Claim, Counterclaim, rebuttal


At first glance, it seems Iago tries to help Roderigo because Iago truly cares for his friend.  This seems reasonable because Iago helps Roderigo create a plot to win over Desdemona.  Iago also shows he cares about him by convincing him not to commit suicide.  This makes Iago appear very caring and harmless towards Roderigo. This interpretation is helpful, but it misses an important point. After comforting Roderigo, Iago clearly states he exploits Roderigo for his own profit, “Thus, do I ever make my fool my purse”(Shakespeare 1.3.426).  Iago uses Roderigo to fulfill his desire for revenge on Othello. Iago’s manipulation begins with his using of Roderigo not only to get Desdemona in trouble with her father, but to start the downfall of Othello- the chief focus of Iago’s hatred and malice.  Othello, by Shakespeare validates the omnipotence manipulation and revenge posses, and how these simple feelings can mutilate lives.

1 comment:

  1. Good summary- focus on changing up word choice- how many times do you use the same word

    Good response. Spend more time on setting up situation of quotations.What is the context? Your claim/counterclaim quotation explanations needs a bit more development. Watch repetitive sentence structure. Also, make sure to use strong verbs throughout.