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. Throughout Act 4 Iago cunningly manipulates Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Roderigo, and uses them against each other all the while also deluding them into trusting him. Iago exercises significant influence over the decisions of the characters in Othello through his subtle manipulation. 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, Iago convinces Othello of the affair between Desdemona and Cassio. He uses the handkerchief, the first gift Othello presented to Desdemona, and the conversation with Cassio as proof of their intimacy. Subsequently, Othello growls, “Ay, let her [Desdemona] rot and perish and be damned tonight”(Shakespeare 4.1.178-179).
- Explanation of quotation to prove claim
He reacts to the adultery with maliciousness and hatred. He has transformed from loving his wife, the one individual he should cherish above all else, to craving her death. Othello not only hungers for Desdemona’s extermination. He wishes to slaughter her personally! Othello’s response validates the supremacy of revenge.
- 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. One cannot deny that Emilia’s profession of honesty moved him. However, the situation proves to be more complicated. After considering Emilia’s testimony, Othello persists in his belief of Desdemona’s perfidiousness. After Emilia withdraws, Othello conveys, “This is a subtle whore, a closet, lock and key of villainous secrets” (Shakespeare 4.2.21-22). Othello convinces himself that Desdemona remains a whore, and that she secretly conceals it from him. Therefore, Othello refuses to deem Desdemona innocent. Othello’s response substantiates the distortion of revenge.. Even the people around him have noticed. Lodovico brings Othello a message from Venice, and when he sees the devil in Othello, Lodovico says, “Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate call all sufficient”(4.1.264-265). Lodovico notices the change in Othello, and the way revenge has altered him. Othello has mutated from the loving, courteous husband, from always heeding Desdemona’s opinions, to rejecting her promises as a result of a single act of betrayal. If succumbing to revenge merely once can sabotage a marriage, the most powerful relationship, can its power be defined? Revenge encompasses; revenge mutilates; revenge engulfs; revenge devours.
Concluding sentence: restate main ideaShakespeare illustrates the omnipotence and perversion of revenge in Act 4 of Othello.