Othello Essay - Critical Essays

Sample Essay Outlines

  • Topic #1

Generally, irony is the literary technique that involves differences between appearance and reality, expectation and result, or meaning and intention. More specifically, verbal irony uses words to suggest the opposite of what is meant. In dramatic irony there is a contradiction between what a character says or thinks and what the audience knows to be true. Finally situational irony refers to events that occur which contradict the expectations of the characters, audience, or readers. Identify the various types of irony used in Othello and explain their significance to the plot.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: In Shakespeare’s Othello, verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony are used to propel the action forward and to intensify the drama as it proceeds.

II. Act I
A. Iago tells Roderigo “I am not what I am.”
B. Iago tells Othello “I lack iniquity / Sometimes to do me service.”
C. Othello discusses how his merits will speak for themselves.
D. Brabantio wants Othello to go to prison for eloping with Desdemona.
E. The invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish fleet causes Othello’s commission to the island.
F. Brabantio’s insistence on how Desdemona was beguiled by Othello versusIago’s beguiling of Othello.
G. Othello’s comments to the Duke that Iago “is of honesty and trust”

III. Act II
A. The storm destroys the Turkish fleet off the coast of Cyprus.
B. In the humorous praise of women, Iago pretends that he has difficulty imagining ways to praise the various women Desdemona mentions.
C. Othello tells Desdemona “If it were now to die, / ‘Twere now to be most happy.”
D. Desdemona responds to Othello with “that our loves and comforts should increase / Even as our days grow!”
E. Othello proclaims an evening of celebration of victory over the Turkish fleet and his marriage.
F. Othello comments to Cassio, “Iago is most honest.”
G. Iago encourages Cassio to “have a measure to the health of black Othello.”
H. Iago tells Othello that he would “rather have his tongue cut” from his mouth “than it should do offense to Michael Cassio.”
I. Iago urges Cassio to ask Desdemona for help to get reinstated with Othello.

IV. Act III
A. Iago tells Cassio that he will “devise a means to draw the Moor / Out of the way, that your converse and business / May be more free
B. Emilia says that the rift between Othello and Cassi“greives my husband / As if the cause were his.”
C. Desdemona says to Cassio that “thy solicitor shall rather die / Than give thy cause away.”
D. Iago says to Othello, “My lord, you know I love you.”
E. Iago states to Othello that “men should be what they seem; / Or those that be not, would they might seem none!”
F. Othello comments that “This honest creature doubtless / Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds” with reference to Iago.
G. When Desdemona offers to bind Othello’s head with herhandkerchief, it falls and Emilia picks it up.
H. Othello tells Iago, “Thou hads’t been better have beenborn a dog / Than answer my waked wrath” after demanding visible proof of Desdemona’s infidelity.
I. Othello tells Desdemona that to lose or give away the handkerchief “were such perdition / As nothing else could match.”
J. Cassio gives Bianca the handkerchief for her to copy the design.

V. Act IV
A. Iago instructs Othello to eavesdrop on a conversation he has with Cassio about Bianca.
B. Bianca enters and chides Cassio for giving her the handkerchief.
C. Lodovico delivers the letter recalling Othello to Venice and appointing Cassio in charge in Cyprus.
D. Emilia says to Othello that “If any wretch have put his in your head” to “Let heaven requite it with the serpent’s curse.”
E. Iago asks Desdemona “How comes this trick upon him?”
F. Emilia suggests that “some eternal villain …devised the slander.
G. Othello tells Desdemona to get “to bed on th’ instant …...

(The entire section is 1703 words.)