Summary Response Outline
- Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, main idea
Act IV of William Shakespeare’s Othello illustrates how jealousy can provoke one to make barbarous and radical decisions without thinking.
- Supporting ideas to prove main ideas
After Othello overhears Iago and Cassio talking about Bianca’s foolish love for Cassio, Othello confronts Iago in an outrage because Othello thought they were talking about Desdemona. Though it was Iago’s plan to have Othello think that, Iago provides false support towards Othello and gets Othello to name the time, place, and method of Desdemona’s murder.
- Explanation of ideas
It is completely out of Othello’s normal character that he would consider murdering his supposedly unfaithful wife. However, feelings of jealousy such as this can evoke feelings of anger that result in abnormal behavior.
- Concluding sentence: restate main idea
Act 4 of Othello by William Shakespeare demonstrates that envy, even in the strongest of men, can produce feelings so intense that it clouds clear thinking and skews standard behavior.
- Topic sentence: Act IV of Othello features how jealousy results in drastic and extensive decision making that is out of character.
- Claim 1: Othello begins to distance himself from his customary behavior when he starts seriously considering murdering his wife because of her supposed unfaithfulness.
- Set-up- As Iago continues to fill Othello’s head with proof and images of Desdemona’s adultery, he eventually gets Othello to name the time, place, and method of Desdemona’s murder.
- Evidence: Lead-in- “quotation” Iago has Othello in a frenzy when Othello finally gives into the suggestion of murder, “Get me some poison Iago, this night” (Shakespeare 4.1. 223).
- Explanation of quotation to prove claim- Shakespeare uses this direct statement to portray Othello’s radical decision making. Othello’s support for Desdemona’s murder highlights his unfitting mindset and lets the reader see how jealousy affects one’s character.
- Counterclaim 1: However, not all evidence points to the fact that jealousy itself is enough to stray someone from their natural mentality.
- Set-up: After Desdemona tries to convince Othello that she is not a whore, Othello’s counterattack is weak and the reader is able to see some of Othello’s original love for Desdemona is coming into play.
- Evidence: Lead-in “ quotation” Othello attempts to prove Desdemona’s defense wrong when he falls back into his love for her, “who art so lovely fair, and smell’st so sweet” (Shakespeare 4.2. 78).
- Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaim
Even though Othello is exceedingly suspicious of Desdemona’s fickle conduct, he maintains the underlying mindset that she is his wife and that she is a truly beautiful human. This mindset shows that jealousy doesn’t always rule over one’s coherent thoughts.
- What are the strengths/ flaws of this argument? Use the rebuttal progression
At first glance it is easy to see how one could deny that jealousy skews clear thinking. Afterall, jealousy is simply an emotion that is somewhat controllable. However, it is more complicated than that. If the reader looks closer into into Othello’s words during his conversation with Iago, seeing the affect of jealousy in Othello’s mind is not difficult. While Othello is coping with his wife’s supposed unfaithfulness, he cries, “But yet the pity of it, Iago! O, Iago, the pity of it, Iago!” (Shakespeare 4.1 214-215). This outburst is then followed by Othello threatening “I will chop her into messes! Cuckold me?” (Shakespeare 4.1 219). Othello first outlines how upset he is over his broken heart then directly channels that animosity to anger by threatening Desdemona’s life. The correlation between Othello’s feeling of envy and his barbaric behavior is clear. Jealousy causes people to act out of character with radical and harsh thoughts that can often result in destruction.
- Concluding sentence: restate main idea
Act 4 of Shakespeare’s Othello depicts the tyrannical consequences of jealousy, proving that envy does distort logical reasoning.