Othello Act II Summary Response
- William Shakespeare’s Othello demonstrates the power of nature in a story and how strong it can be.
- In act II, a storm wrecks the Turkish fleet that was heading to attack Cyprus. With Othello still at sea, many characters become worried about his safety. Upon his safe return, his friends rejoice, but trouble later ensues.
- This unexpected storm results the character’s learning of how strong nature can be.
- Topic sentence: William Shakespeare’s Othello accurately illustrates that the events of nature are reflections of the external storm between the characters, foreshadowing the tempest that will occur later in the act.
- Claim 1: In Othello, Shakespeare conjures a storm when conflict occurs between the characters.
- Set-up: While Othello fights a storm at sea, Iago starts a storm among the characters.
- Evidence: Lead-in While waiting for news on Othello’s condition, Iago fuels the tension between the characters by giving Desdemona the backhanded compliment, “If she be black, and thereto have a wit, She’ll find a white that shall her blackness fit” (Shakespeare 2.1 134 ).
- Iago makes a pun using “white” and “wit.” Black and white can mean brunettes and blondes, respectively. He uses “brunette” to mean ugly, and “blonde” to mean beautiful. He says that even ugly women can attract men, as long as they are smart. In this, he is giving Desdemona a backhanded compliment. He uses small insults to stir up malcontentedness among the characters. Therefore, Othello’s storm at sea is matched by Iago’s storm among people.
- Counterclaim 1: However,
- In William Shakespeare's Othello, there seems to be a reflection between the plot and nature; however, there are several parts of the story that are not affected by or congruent with the course of nature.
- Evidence: While Montano was speaking with a gentleman, another gentleman comes to tell them the great news, “News lads! our wars are done. The desperate tempest that so bang’d the Turks.” (Shakespeare 2.1 20-21)
- The storm brings good mood to the characters at this point. Had Shakespeare truly wanted to reflect the lives of his characters in nature, he would have made his characters feel indignant for the entire duration of the whole storm.
- The natural disasters that could be seen as the foreshadowing of fallouts between the characters in the future cannot be related to all of the major events in the Othello. Hence, there is no way to establish an accurate relationship between the natural world and the actions taken by characters’ in Shakespeare’s Othello.
- William Shakespeare’s Othello demonstrates how the natural world plays a strong role in the outcome of people's lives.
- While there is a war in progress throughout the course of the story, the effect of nature is directly related to the domestic and personal drama between Othello, Iago, and their supporting characters. While the Turkish fleet is destroyed because of a storm at sea, there is turmoil at home. The disaster at sea is congruent with the storm of drama that Iago is creating to get revenge on Othello. At first glance it seems as though it is not plausible for the natural world to affect the personal lives of only a few people, however it is proven throughout Act II that it is entirely conceivable. This position seems reasonable because something that happens thousands of miles away should not be consistent with the actions and outcomes of random people. Upon further analysis, the natural world does have a major effect on the lives of Shakespeare’s characters because without the storm, Iago would have not have had the opportunity to destroy both Cassio’s and Othello’s happiness at the same time.