Summary Response Outline for Othello Act 1 by Rachel Searle and Ryan Snow
- Topic sentence: William Shakespeare’s Othello presents how anger and jealousy motivate people to conduct manipulation and betrayal.
- Supporting ideas to prove main ideas: Iago, questing for revenge against Othello, uses Roderigo as a means to an end, manipulating him into forfeiting money and resources.
- Explanation of ideas: Iago is only pretending to be Roderigo’s friend so he can gain money with which to get back at Othello.
- Concluding sentence: The wrath wrought on by jealousy and revenge can be unproportionate and vengeful to the extreme.
- Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, agree/disagree (correctly portrays/ incorrectly portrays), because ___________ and ______________: In Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago does not deserve to be Othello’s lieutenant because he is manipulative in having two “personalities” and he uses others for his own personal gain.
- Claim 1: Iago uses Roderigo to get his revenge upon Othello.
- Set-up: Iago uses Roderigo as his scapegoat for informing Brabantio of Othello and Desdemona’s relationship. He also uses him to get the money he needs for his scheming. He pretends to have Roderigo’s back but then deserts him for his other personality.
- Evidence: Lead-in “ quotation” ( ): When Brabantio confronts Othello about Desdemona, Iago, pretending to be a friend to Othello, confronts Roderigo about ratting out Othello, “You, Roderigo? Come, sir; I am for you,”(Shakespeare 1.2.71-60)
- Explanation of quotation to prove claim: Iago is pretending to be angry at Roderigo for giving away Othello and Desdemona to Brabantio, when in reality it was mostly Iago who led this discovery.
- Counterclaim 1: However, Iago might be justified in his action due to Othello’s possible poor judgement.
- Set-up: Othello picked Cassio, a man with little to no military experience, to be his lieutenant. Iago has a right to be somewhat frustrated, but are his proportions justified?
- Evidence: Lead-in: Iago describes Cassio as one, “That never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle knows,”(Shakespeare 1. 1. 23-24).
- Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaim: Iago had been the heir to the position of Othello’s lieutenant, but Othello instead chose to give away the position to the man Cassio who had no right to it nor any of the qualifications necessary to fulfill it.
- What are the strengths/ flaws of this argument?: Some view Iago’s revenge as justifiable. It cannot be denied that Iago should have been made Othello’s lieutenant because he, unlike Cassio, is experienced in battlefield. However, now Iago shows unfaithfulness to his master now that position hasn’t been appointed to him, what could have happened if something else such as this had happened and he had greater power? His deceptive and manipulative personality would have shown eventually and he doesn’t, especially now, deserve to be lieutenant to a man Iago despises.
- Concluding sentence: William Shakespeare’s Othello presents how wrath and envy push people to manipulate and deceive others.