Summary Response Outline: Othello Act 4
- Topic sentence: Act 4 of Othello, by William Shakespeare depicts how anger without evidence can destroy relationships.
- Supporting ideas to prove main ideas: Iago is back to his schemes. But now, it’s getting more dire. He has convinced Othello that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him with Othello’s lieutenant, Cassio. Othello is livid with rage.
- Concluding sentence: Shakespeare’s Othello continues to show how anger and jealousy cause major issues in relationships.
- Topic sentence: Othello, written by William Shakespeare correctly portrays how anger without evidence tears apart relationships.
- Claim 1: Othello is reacting to quickly and without enough thought.
- Set-up- Iago continues to be master of manipulation. At this point, he has planted the thought of Desdemona being unfaithful in the mind of Othello. Othello’s anger is unimaginable. He has threatened Desdemona and already has plans for her demise. All of this even though he still has no solid proof that she has been adulterous
- Evidence: After Othello has overheard a conversation between Cassio and Iago that leads him to believe that Desdemona has cheated, Iago suggests that he strangles her in bed. Othello agrees. Iago: “Strangle her in bed, even the bed she hath contaminated.” Othello: “Good, good. The justice of it pleases! Very good!” (Shakespeare 4.1.57-58)
- Explanation of quotation to prove claim: Originally, Othello asked Iago for poison that he could kill Desdemona with. Iago is saying that poison is too good for her and that she should be strangled instead. Othello agrees to this without any debate.
- Counterclaim 1: However, one may argue that Othello’s anger is warranted and that he does seek evidence of Desdemona’s disloyalty.
- Set-up- When Iago first mentions to Othello the notion of his being cheated on, Othello becomes extremely angry. He even begins to act threateningly toward Iago, saying that he will do him harm if he cannot bring proof.
- Evidence: *note: The quote I want to use is one I only remember from the movie. I scoured the book and could not find it. So, this quote is likely not an actual quote. Only something similar to what Othello said.
- Lead-in- After being told that Desdemona may be cheating on him with Cassio, Othello takes on furious anger, saying something to the effect of,
- “Proof! I want proof damn you!” ( Shakespeare, 4.?.? )
- Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaim- In this statement, Othello does indeed seek proof of his wife’s betrayal. He begs Iago for information. He so badly wishes it not true that he will harm Iago if he doesn’t show him the truth. This is proof that Othello is seeking evidence. He doesn’t completely blow off any sense that what Iago said may not be true.
- What are the strengths/ flaws of this argument?
At first glance, one could see the relativity of this claim. It’s easy to understand how someone would think that Othello attempts to find evidence of his wife’s disloyalty. He definitely does demand for it. The fact is, Othello fails to follow through. He doesn’t wait for proof. Sure, he later observes the conversation about the handkerchief he gave Desdemona and how it ended up in the hands of Cassio. This might have seemed like proof to him and to the readers. However, Othello proceeds to lash out verbally and physically at his “beloved” wife without even consulting her about what he’d been told by Iago. If he had done this, it could’ve saved their relationship from deteriorating to the point of murderous thoughts. Othello overreacted. He asked for evidence but didn’t wait for it. He is allowing himself to be Iago’s vessel and in doing so, he is tearing himself apart from the love of his life.
- Concluding sentence: Shakespeare’s Othello portrays how anger, jealousy, and a lack of enthusiasm for seeking out truth can destroy relationships.