Othello Act 1 Summary/Response
Collin Sailor and Spencer Cobb
Summary: Shakespeare’s Othello, act 1, demonstrates that jealousy fuels anger which can lead to acts of revenge. Iago’s anger is easily seen through from the reader’s point of view, but not necessarily from the characters in the story. Iago is angered by Othello’s choice to choose Michael Cassio as Othello’s lieutenant, and he wants revenge on Othello.These ideas easily supply the reader with the idea that jealousy does fuel anger and further actions.
Claim 1: Act 1 of Othello, by William Shakespeare, correctly portrays that jealousy does in fact fuel anger which can lead to acts of revenge because through Iago’s speech, one can see that his jealousy of Othello choosing Michael Cassio to be his lieutenant and not him makes him very angry, which is shown through this quote, “I hate the Moor”(Shakespeare 1.3.429) Shakespeare shows Iago’s anger for Othello, and Iago’s anger could be a cause for a future act. Othello still thinks that him and Iago are friends, so Iago could use that as a perfect opportunity to betray him when he least expects it.
Counterclaim 1: Although it may seem like Iago is starting to plot revenge on Othello because of his jealousy of Michael Cassio, one can see that he is just upset at the moment and will eventually get over it. Everyone has gone through a difficult situation where they don’t get what they wanted, and it is upsetting. Iago is in that situation and will eventually realise that it’s a silly thing to hold a grudge against Othello for this. It is shown through the text that Iago helps other people out with their problems, for example, when he talks Roderigo out of committing suicide, he shows him that there is much more to life and that it will get better, “If thou dost, I shall never love thee after. Why, thou silly gentleman!”(Shakespeare 1.3.348-349) All Iago needs is a good friend that will help him get through this like he has helped Roderigo.
Rebuttal: At first glance, one might think that anger of jealousy aren’t the whole reason for revenge, and that these two feelings are just temporary. This conclusion seems very compelling because one can see that anger and jealousy are just temporary, and that Iago’s many masks are covering his true emotions. This is a helpful interpretation, but it misses an important point. Jealousy and anger do in fact fuel the further acts of revenge. The beast within Iago is slowly being unleashed by his anger and jealousy for the acts that have occurred. Iago has been bottling it all up, and eventually, he’s going to burst. Ultimately, all throughout act 1, Iago perfectly portrays how jealousy fuels anger, which can lead acts of revenge through what he says in conversations either to himself or to others.
Conclusion: In the end, anger truly does fuel possible acts of revenge. Iago’s anger is building up inside of him, and he masks his anger with his many disguises. The beast within Iago seems to be banging on the door, wanting to escape and take over Iago. For now, Iago’s many masks have manipulated all of his “friends” to help him. With Othello, Iago is a friendly man who wants to “help” Othello. With Roderigo, he pretends to like him and care for him, only to get Roderigo to hate Othello even more. Iago is a manipulative and angry person, and now one can only wait for what is to come from the beast that is Iago. Ultimately, one can see that Iago’s anger is fueling the possibility of revenge.