Thursday, September 24, 2015

(Redo) John Henke and Joe Miserlian Othello Summary Response Act 2

Summary Response Outline

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

Act 2 of Shakespeare's play, Othello, construes revenge the power it commands. Iago continues plotting the downfall of Othello by scandalizing Othello’s lieutenant, Cassio. Iago succeeds and Cassio is discharged from his lieutenancy. After Cassio is removed, Iago tells him to approach Desdemona and ask her to beseech Othello to return his position. While that is occurring, Iago goes to inform Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are in an affair. Iago continues scheming his avowal of revenge in Act 2 of Othello.

Response: Othello, by Shakespeare, correctly portrays how revenge can dominate someone’s life because of Iago’s quest for retribution and his hunger for vengeance.
  • Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, agree/disagree (correctly portrays/ incorrectly portrays), because ___________ and ______________
  • Claim 1: Iago’s lust for revenge has devoured him.
    • Set-up After Othello arrives in Cyprus, and everyone has left for land except Iago and Roderigo, Iago convinces Roderigo that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. He persuades Roderigo that if he wants Desdemona, they have to discredit Cassio. Following Roderigo’s departure, Iago reveals his plot of Othello’s downfall. Iago says to himself that his reason for this dastardly plan is, “to diet my revenge” (Shakespeare 2.1.285), and declares,  “Nothing can, or shall, content my soul till I am evened with him” (Shakespeare 2.1.289-290).
    • Explanation of quotation to prove claim
Iago’s pursuit of retribution has consumed him. If nothing satisfies him, if he will refuse every happiness until Othello is vanquished, he is finished. The man Iago once was is gone, and he was lost the moment Iago chose to diet his revenge over life.  Iago has just confirmed he will go to the ends of the earth to get revenge on Othello. He is engulfed by revenge and refuses to be satisfied until he completes his plan.

  • Counterclaim 1 & Set-up: However, Iago shows Cassio a way to earn back his lieutenant ship.  After Othello fires Cassio, Iago comforts him and creates a plan for him. Because Desdemona is Othello’s wife, she has a lot of influence in his decisions.  Iago believes that Cassio can convince Desdemona to persuade Othello to reinstate Cassio.  Iago explains to him,
    • Evidence: Lead-in  “Confess yourself freely to her [Desdemona], importune her help to put you in your place again” (Shakespeare 2.3.309-310).  Iago tells Cassio that if he shows Desdemona that he cares about her, she will urge Othello to return his rank.  Iago becomes a loyal companion by helping Cassio. Cassio is a great friend of Desdemona, and Desdemona has great influence over Othello’s decision.  If Cassio can convince Desdemona, she will try and influence Othello to restore Cassio’s Lieutenancy. Even though Iago once desired Cassio’s position, he aids Cassio in re-securing his station. Iago shows that he truly wants him to earn the position of lieutenant by affirming Cassio’s plan and continuing to call him lieutenant.  At the end of their conversation, Iago tells Cassio, “You are in the right. Good night Lieutenant”(Shakespeare 2.3.323).  Iago informs Cassio that he is doing the right thing by consulting Desdemona.  Iago supports Cassio’s plan and agrees to help him.  Iago also continues to address Cassio as lieutenant, showing respect to him, and demonstrating his belief that Cassio deserves his rank.

  • What are the strengths/ flaws of this argument? Rebuttal Progression
At first glance one could think Iago supports Cassio. It is easy to understand how someone could interpret Othello in such a way. Iago does indeed give advice to Cassio after his downfall, but it’s more complicated than that. After Cassio goes to follow Iago’s advice, Iago clearly states he sends Cassio to Desdemona not to help him, but to make it seem like Cassio and Desdemona are in an affair, “For whiles this honest fool plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes and she for him pleads strongly to the Moor, I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear: That she repeals him for her body’s lust” (Shakespeare 2.3.343-347).  Anyone could see how Iago craves revenge. Iago not only plans to use Cassio and Desdemona, but his wife as well. Iago remarks in one of his soliloquies, “My wife must move for Cassio to her mistress: I’ll set her on” Shakespeare (2.3.372-373). This validates that Iago’s wife is dirt to him, and it conclusively corroborates how Iago has been devoured by revenge if he continues to use his wife, the one person he should love above all others, in a scheme of retaliation. Othello, by Shakespeare, portrays the severity of revenge as it possess lives and drives one’s vengeful nature.

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