Summary Response Outline
- Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, main idea
- Othello by William Shakespeare exhibits the power of words and how its presence can be utilized to harm another.
- Supporting ideas and explanations to prove main ideas
- As the conflicts in the play reach their climax, the verbal tensions between the characters are expressed in their final expulsions.
- Antagonist Iago’s final comments to his master, Othello, regarding the false scandal involving Othello’s wife, Desdemona, ultimately leads Othello to murder Desdemona. Iago’s power of words over Roderigo, his presumed ally, also leads to Roderigo’s death in this final act of the play.
- Concluding sentence: restate main idea
- Clearly, the sly state of words such as those used by characters in William Shakespeare’s Othello can maim the life of one or more individuals.
- Topic sentence: title, author,,correctly portrays/ incorrectly portrays___(Main Idea)________ because ___________ .
- Othello by William Shakespeare correctly portrays the power of words because its presence can psychologically alter another.
- Claim 1:
- In Act 5 of the play, Iago, the primary antagonist, has secured verbal power over multiple characters. Othello, the initial protagonist and Iago’s master, is among the most influenced by Iago’s sly comments. Due to his trust in Iago, Othello is persuaded that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with another man. As his exasperation and sense of indignation increase, he is again convinced by Iago’s words to not only punish Desdemona, but to penalize her to highest extremity: death. Othello’s frustration allows him to complete the murder, and those closest to Othello and Desdemona respond subsequently.
- Evidence: Lead-in “ quotation” (Shakespeare 1.2.13-17).
- Lodovico, Desdemona’s cousin from Venice, describes the changes he has identified in Othello as he recapitulates, “O thou Othello that [wert] once so good, fall’n in the practice of a [damned] slave…” (Shakespeare 5.2. 259).
- Explanation of quotation to prove claim: explain quote, connect to claim
- After Othello murders Desdemona, Lodovico makes a crucial observation. He swiftly, directly summarizes how Othello’s demeanor, personality, and overall character has been altered following his arrival in Cyprus. Specifically, Lodovico remarks how Othello was once known as a good individual, and then abruptly transformed into a new man. Othello became an angered slave of man as a result of an external force. He has been shaped into a violent, infuriated individual. What is unknown by Lodovico and most of the other characters is the Iago, who over time accumulated Othello’s trust, has been using the power and trust in his words to brainwash Othello of his virtues. He is the primary reason for Othello’s physiological transformation from gentle to violent, and he is the icon who best represents the verbal power that one can inflict to cause pain to others such as brainwashed Othello.
- Counterclaim 1: However, ....
- However, Othello, under certain circumstances, incorrectly portrays the immediate impact of powerful words. One of these instances is after Othello discovers the truth behind Iago’s accusations against Desdemona.
- Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant, confesses the truth and proves that Iago is guilty. Othello is astonished and infuriated by the hoax that has been placed into his mind by his trusted servant and now lieutenant. As this quandary is explained in more detail, Othello’s personality "mask" created by Iago does not fade. This is shown as he stabs Iago for the fallacies he has bestowed onto him. However, the stabbing does not kill Iago.
- Evidence: Lead-in “ quotation” ( )
- Othello’s continuation of his new demeanor is presented as he explain to Iago, “I am not sorry neither. I’d have thee live, for in my sense ‘tis happiness to die” (Shakespeare 5.2. 259).
- Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaim: explain quote, connect to claim
- Othello, who was mentally maimed by Iago prior to his downfall, persists in his violent actions despite the new information delivered to him about Iago. After learning that Iago manipulated him through his trusted words, he explains that he to let Iago die would mean that he would win in happiness. Othello feels in this moment that Iago must live with his guilt as punishment, for death is not the torture he seeks for what Iago. Othello had been consistently impacted by the power of words in the past, such as a truth or assumed truth with Iago, but now he has ceased to follow is usual norm. Othello does not automatically retain his original demeanor as readers know from the beginning of the play. He maintains his identity that Iago formulated for him earlier in the play, which shows how the power of words will not always change the mental state of another.
What are the strengths/ flaws of this argument? (use rebuttal progression language)
- At first glance, one could argue that Othello is not entirely vulnerable to the power of words.
- This way of making sense of the position makes a degree of sense. If Othello was always vulnerable to the words of others, he would not have gone on to behave identically when Iago is proven guilty. Othello demands that Iago be tortured rather than simply imprisoned or punished in another form such as how he handled the violent fight between Roderigo and Cassio upon arriving in Cyprus. Othello normally removes one’s title after a violent occurrence like Cassio’s. This change in his normal reaction shows that he is still mentally violent and unchanged by the power of Emilia’s truthful words.
- But it is more complicated than that. Othello, who was mentally maimed by Iago, expresses signs of his original personality after he is told the truth about Iago through his own narration. The sudden return of Othello’s physiological state is expressed by him as he exclaims, “Whip me, you devils, from the possession of this heavenly sight! Blow me about in winds, roast me in sulfur, wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire! O Desdemona! Dead, Desdemona! Dead…” (Shakespeare 5.2. 259). This expression of guilt is very similar to his actions in Act 1 in front of Brabantio, Desdemona’s father. He pleaded to the court and informed them to put his life on the line with his words. This similarity in the expressions shows how Othello has not changed in this instance. He has pleaded to the court of devils to jeopardize his life due to his wrongdoings. This goes on to show how new words will change Othello’s perspective of Desdemona from anger to innocence as a result of his reaction. He may appear unchanged on the outside in his actions, but inside, Othello's personality is restored. Therefore, Othello is eventually psychologically changed by the power of words, whether it is for the benefit or of the doubt.
- Concluding sentence: restate main idea
- In conclusion, William Shakespeare’s Othello demonstrates the power of words and how it’s positive or negative intentions can impact the behavioral properties of another.