Outline for “Othello: Act 1”
- Topic sentence: Othello, by William Shakespeare, proves that friends, and people in general, are not always who they seem to be.
- Supporting ideas to prove main ideas: From the point when Iago uses Roderigo to bring to light the affair between Othello and Brabantio’s daughter, to Iago convincing Roderigo not to drown himself, there were always ulterior motives behind Iago’s seemingly friendly actions. Although Roderigo perceived these actions as gestures of friendship, Iago was ultimately pursuing his goal of taking revenge on Othello by using Roderigo as a means to achieve that goal. Clearly, Shakespeare demonstrates how although someone’s motives may seem pure, that is not always the case.
- Topic sentence: Othello, by WIlliam Shakespeare, correctly depicts how people can use each other without any regard for human life or decency, because he is constantly involving more and more people into his plan that is fueled by revenge and betrayal.
- Claim 1:
- Set-up At the beginning of the play, Iago makes it clear that he is angry at Othello for not awarding him the rank lieutenant, instead giving it to Cassio who Iago does not think is deserving of the position.
- Evidence: Lead-in Iago is so distraught and enraged that he was not awarded the position of lieutenant, that he ropes in a “friend” under false pretenses to help him get his revenge on Brabantio, and said to Rodrigo with false pretenses, “‘Though that his joy be joy yet throw such changes of vexation on’t, as it may lose some color.’ ‘Here is her father’s house, I’ll call aloud’” (Shakespeare 1.1.70).
- Explanation of quotation to prove claim Iago wants revenge for the loss of the military command role, but is playing a much more intricate game, using Rodrigo to direct the father’s blame and hatred towards. This quote shows how much Iago wants to harm the father and his emotional state, exposing an affair of sorts with a black man.
- Counterclaim 1: However, .... Even though Iago seems to be motivated solely by personal gain, the argument could be made that Iago does show concern for his friend’s well being.
- Set-up While Iago is proposing a plan for Roderigo to win back Desdemona, Roderigo hints that he is thinking about drowning himself in his despair.
- Evidence: Lead-in Iago rushes to talk Roderigo out of it, saying “‘If thou dost I shall never love thee after. Why, thou silly gentleman!’ ‘It is silliness to live, when to live is torment, and then we have a prescription to die when death is our physician.’ ‘O villainous! I have looked upon the world for four times seven years, and since I could distinguish betwixt a benefit and an injury, I never found man that knew how to love himself. Ere I would say I would drown myself for the love of a guinea hen, I would change my humanity with a baboon’” (Shakespeare 1.3.348).
- Explanation of quotation to prove counterclaim: Iago is clearly shocked when Roderigo hints that he might drown himself. Iago, has also helped out Brabantio by alerting him of his daughter's misdeeds and helping him and Rodrigo. Iago also attempted to convince Roderigo that all is not lost in his attempt to marry Desdemona. Iago clearly shows that he is caring for his friends and cares greatly for them.
- Rebuttal: At first glance, it may seem that Iago is genuinely concerned for the well being of Roderigo, as he offers to help him confront Brabantio and talks him out of drowning himself. One cannot deny that Iago does demonstrate concern, at least on the surface for Roderigo. However, Iago later admits that he was trying to gain control over Roderigo, saying to himself after Roderigo leaves, “‘Thus do I ever make my fool my purse’” (Shakespeare 1.3.426). Iago refers to Roderigo as his purse in saying this, suggesting that he wants to transform Roderigo into his personal puppet. Iago makes Roderigo sell his land for money to try to marry Desdemona, but there id undoubtably another purpose for his actions. At first, Iago attempted to inflict the wrath of Brabantio on Othello by using Roderigo to inform Brabantio that Desdemona was married to Othello. By using Roderigo, Iago has redirected the blame fro himself and solely onto Roderigo if anything were to happen. When the Duke found that Desdemona was married to Othello of her own will, then Iago had to find a new plan. He still needed Rodrigo, however, so when Roderigo threatened to drown himself, Iago hastened to talk him out of doing so. Through using Roderigo in this way, Iago forms a perfect example of how people can use each other with so little regard for human life or decency.
- Concluding Sentence: Othello, by William Shakespeare, proves that friends, and people in general, are not always who they seem to be