My assignment is to write an essay on Othello by William Shakespeare. I'm required to choose a quote, which I have chosen this one: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere...

My assignment is to write an essay on Othello by William Shakespeare.

I'm required to choose a quote, which I have chosen this one: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance." 

I have started with my introductory paragraph, but I'm a little confused. So I need some help to finish it. (I also have to add specific textual support from the book.)

Introduction:

         "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance"

      Othello by William Shakespeare was a play filled with tension between knowledge, ignorance, and lies. The interest in this play is the tension between Othello, Desdemona, and Iago, along with minor characters in the play.

 

 

 

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to a most reliable text, The Practical Writer, the Introduction of an essay should include the following:

  1. A motivator, or hook, to interest the reader (This is the quotation)
  2. The thesis statement and a blueprint for the essay (The thesis is a general statement that connects to the quote you have chosen and three main points that you will use to prove this general statement.)

Put your thesis statement last in this introductory paragraph. So, switch sentences, having this sentence last:

Othello by William Shakespeare was a play filled with tension between knowledge, ignorance, and lies.

Your 3 points in the thesis statement--that the play is filled with tension from knowledge, close-mindedness, and lies--will generate the topic sentences for the body paragraphs of the essay.


Re:  knowledge - Iago is the character who is the most knowledgeable of what is taking place since he generates much of the action.
Re: ignorance - Othello, Roderigo, Cassio, and Desmonda are all ignorant of much of what occurs around them. Only Iago seems to be in control of information, information that he manufactures in order to manipulate others.
Re: lies - Iago is the only main character who is aware of everything. He exploits the others such as Cassio, who he gets drunk and sends off to fight Roderigo. 

Upon further examination of your question, perhaps the "it" that you have written at the end of these lines does not just refer to the introductory paragraph ( which is the antecedent of it), but, rather to the entire essay.

(By the way, you may want to correct the thesis statement by changing was to is and between to among since the word between is only used with two elements or people)

Here, then, are some ideas and passages you can use for support:

From the beginning Iago, Shakespeare's greatest villain, preys upon the ignorance of the other characters in his frequently motiveless duplicity. Deception, of course, is based upon the ignorance of others. Here are some examples:

  • Iago's duplicity keeps the other's from knowing who is truly is; in fact, he admits to generating their ignorance of him in Act I: "I am not what I am" (1.1.65) Later he remarks about Othello, "

The Moor is of a free and open anture
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so (1.3.379-380)

  • Iago convinces Othello of Desmonda's infidelity by deceiving him about the handkerchief.
  • Iago tells Roderigo if he gives him money--"Put money in thy purse"(1.3.333)--he (Iago) will see to it that Desdemonda is won over to Roderigo. Instead, he preys upon Roderigo's ignorance and simply steals from him.
  • Iago manipulates his wife Emilia into stealing the handkerchief given to Desdemonda in the deceptive hope that Iago encourages. For, Emilia believes that Iago will appreciate her act. "I nothing but to please his fantasy," she says as she steals the handkerchief (3.3.343).
Read the study guide:
Othello

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