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 4 of Othello, by William Shakespeare, explores the power of words and manipulation. Iago finally convinces Othello that Desdemona and Cassio are in an affair. This is merely one example of manipulation. Throughout Act 4 Iago cunningly manipulates Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Roderigo, and uses them against each other while also deluding them into trusting him! Iago exercises significant influence over the lives of the characters in Othello. Shakespeare conveys the ultimate power of words and manipulation in Act 4 of Othello.
- Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, agree/disagree (correctly portrays/ incorrectly portrays), because ___________ and ______________
Act 4 of Othello, by William Shakespeare, correctly portrays the power revenge wields and how it warps one’s identity because of Othello’s reaction to the affair between Cassio and Desdemona. .
- Claim 1:
- Set-up In the beginning of Act 4, after Iago has fully convinced Othello of the affair between Desdemona and Cassio by means of the handkerchief, the first gift Othello presented to Desdemona, and by the conversation with Cassio, Othello growls, “Ay, let her [Desdemona] rot and perish and be damned tonight”(Shakespeare 4.1.178-179).
- Explanation of quotation to prove claim
Othello’s retaliation to the affair validates the repercussions of vengeance and treachery. He has gone from loving his wife, the one individual he should cherish above all else, to wanting her dead. Not only does he hunger for her death, but Othello wishes to massacre her himself! What does that entail? This one single act of betrayal has motivated him to murder! The power and influence revenge exerts is staggering!
- Counterclaim 1: However, Othello rethinks his determination for retribution after speaking with Emilia. Emilia steadfastly defends Desdemona, insisting that she is honest, “I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest, Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other” (Shakespeare 4.2.12-13). Emilia vows on her life that Desdemona is sincere, and she compels Othello to reconsider, “That’s strange” Othello comments (Shakespeare 4.2.11). Othello wonders why Emilia has never seen Cassio and Desdemona together. Emilia’s oath of faith undoubtedly motivates Othello to reevaluate his decision.
- Evidence: Lead-in “ quotation” ( )
- Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaim
- What are the strengths/ flaws of this argument?
At first glance, it could seem like Othello amends his verdict and decides to trust Desdemona again. It is undeniable that Emilia’s profession of honesty moved him. However, the situation is more complicated than that. After considering Emilia’s testimony, Othello persists in his belief that Desdemona is unfaithful. After Emilia withdraws, Othello conveys, “This is a subtle whore, a closet, lock and key of villainous secrets” (Shakespeare 4.2.21-22). Othello is convincing himself that Desdemona is truly a whore, and that she is concealing it from him. Therefore, Othello refuses to deem Desdemona innocent. Othello’s avowal of revenge has distorted his identity. He has transformed from the loving, courteous husband, from always heeding Desdemona’s opinions, to rejecting her promises because of this one act of betrayal. If succumbing to revenge merely once can sabotage a marriage, which is the most powerful relationship, can its power be defined? Revenge encompasses; revenge mutilates; revenge engulfs; revenge devours.
Concluding sentence: restate main idea
Shakespeare illustrates the omnipotence and perversion of revenge in Act 4 of Othello.