Summary Response Outline
- Not a Plot Summary,
- There should be no opinion in a summary
- No I, We, Us, You, etc...
- Strong Verbs
- Concise Summary
- Attribute the ideas back to the author
- Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, main idea
- Supporting ideas to prove main ideas
- Explanation of ideas
- Concluding sentence: restate main idea
Summary: In act 2 of Othello, written by William Shakespeare, the author portrays the power of words through the character’s manipulation of other people in the text. Shakespeare does this through characters such as Iago, as he manipulates Cassio, Roderigo, and Othello. The power of words is portrayed when Iago tells Cassio to befriend Desdemona to win back his lieutenancy, which is actually part of Iago’s plan to turn Othello against both Desdemona and Cassio. William Shakespeare uses the power of words to illustrate the characters manipulation of each other.
Response: ( all reactionary with evidence)(Make an argument)(take a position... correctly portrays/incorrectly portrays)
Topic sentence: title, author, strong verb, agree/disagree (correctly portrays/ incorrectly portrays), because ___________ and ______________Claim 1:Set-upEvidence: Lead-in “ .” ( 1 )Explanation of quotation to prove claimCounterclaim 1: However, ....Set-upEvidence: Lead-in “ quotation” ( )Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaimClaim 2:Set-upEvidence: Lead-in “ quotation” ( )Explanation of quotation to prove claimCounterclaim 2: Although, ....Set-upEvidence: Lead-in “ quotation” ( )Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaimWhat are the strengths/ flaws of this argument? Use the Rebuttal ProgressionConcluding sentence: restate main idea
Response: In act 2 of Othello, by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare uses the appliance of the power of words to show how his characters manipulate each other. Because of the way Shakespeare portrays how Iago talks his way into turning everyone against each other, he is able to show how the power of words can influence the other characters. Another way Shakespeare portrays the appliance of the power of words is in the end, Iago unknowingly plays into his master plan. Iago does this when Cassio loses his lieutenancy and is devastated about it. Appearing to be trying to cheer him up, Iago describes a plan in which Cassio can win back his status, reputation, and job. He describes his plan to Cassio, but afterwards, after Cassio has left, explains “Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes, and she for him pleads strongly to the Moor, I'll pour this pestilence into his ear, that she repels him for her body's lust. And by how much she strives to do him [Cassio] good, she shall undo her credit with the Moor. So will I turn her virtue into pitch, And out of her own goodness make the net that shall enmesh them all,” (Shakespeare 2.3. 374-382). Iago is showing how, when Cassio tries to tell his story to Desdemona, Iago will be whispering in Othello’s ear that Cassio and Desdemona are in love. Iago is using the power of words to get Cassio involved in the master plan so that Iago can take Cassio’s job.
However, Iago is sometimes actually hurting himself when he is describing to Cassio a plan to get his position back. His words of manipulation could backfire on him in this case if Othello refuses to believe that Desdemona has taken Cassio as her lover. Othello is steadfastly devoted to Desdemona, and it seems true in reverse to everyone else as well, and therefore Othello might not think that Desdemona would ever betray him. If Othello weren’t to believe Iago, then Iago’s carefully crafted plan could end up hurting himself, and end up helping Cassio back to his lieutenancy. Iago explains his plan to help Cassio get back his lieutenancy, and it seems like an effective plan that will help Cassio. Iago tells Cassio, “Confess yourself freely to her [Desdemona]; importune her help to put you in your place again. She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested. This broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to splinter...,” (Shakespeare 2.3.337-345). Iago’s plan to help Cassio to get back his lieutenancy is for Cassio to befriend Desdemona, and tell her his woes, while actually getting Othello to believe that the new friendship between Desdemona and Cassio is actually a physical relationship. Iago thinks that this plan will help him to the position of Lieutenant, but in Cassio’s eyes he thinks that Iago is innocent, and genuinely trying to help him. Although Iago is manipulating Cassio, this encouragement could help Cassio, and hurt Iago in the end.
Many think that the counterclaim above seems like a reasonable conclusion because of Othello’s reputation as a person who would trusts. This would lead to the conclusion that he would trust his own wife when she denies any romantic connection to Cassio. We cannot deny that Iago’s words are uplifting and are motivating Cassio to befriend Desdemona and that Iago’s master plan could backfire on him if Othello trusts Desdemona over Iago. This interpretation is helpful, but it misses the important point that Iago is a master manipulator, and also that he will be telling Othello about the “affair” between Desdemona and Cassio, when Othello has been seeing “evidence” with his own eyes. Also, Othello at this point will have no reason to doubt Iago’s honesty, when he is also of the opinion the Cassio is a worthless, untrustworthy knave. Shakespeare correctly portrays the power of words throughout Act 2 by using the characters to manipulate each other in a complex way.