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What is the importance of Emilia in 'Othello'?

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What is the importance of Emilia in 'Othello'? I am going to talk about the importance of Emilia who is Iago's wife. We are not introduced to Emilia properly until some way into the play - the third act (I think,) although she is referred to by Iago who claims that Othello has slept with her behind his back. There is no proof of this being true but it highlights the fact that Othello may not be "perfect" soldier that he is first characterised as. Iago could, in the words of S.T Coleridge, just be "motive hunting" for a reason to hate Othello. I think that Emilia is intentionally introduced halfway the play as this is where Iago's plot 'thickens', (as it were). She is used here to pick up the handkerchief, which is a major development in, not only Iago's plot, but also the plot of the play. ...read more.


Emilia also is of the opinion that women should be equal to men. However, in Othello, women are seen as the objects of men - their possessions and under their control. Brabantio decides that Othello is not good enough for his daughter, Desdemona: "My daughter is not for thee." Here, the use of "my daughter" instead of using Desdemona's name signifies that Brabantio sees Desdemona as one of his possessions. Continuing on the subject of Desdemona, Emilia and Iago's heartless relationship is the mirror image of Desdemona and Othello's relationship. They are constantly "chiding" and share no affection, which contrasts and therefore enhances the love and intimacy in Othello and Desdemona's marriage and the poignancy of the reduction of their relationship to a "foul disproportion." Emilia is used to portray Iago's views. He shows his love for power by the way that he treats their marriage. ...read more.


The stealing of the handkerchief is a dramatic moment in "Othello" and helps to develop the plot. Iago uses it to prove to Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio and using this 'evidence' Iago can enrage Othello further. To sum up, Emilia is important through her relationships with others. From her friendship with Desdemona we can learn that Desdemona is really the very "honest" and "sweet" woman that she is renowned to be. This helps us to know that all of the things Iago says to Othello about Desdemona are lies and thus makes Desdemona's death even more poignant. We are able to characterise Iago much better through his relationship with Emilia. We learn not only of his great acting skills but also his love for power and disrespect for women. This love of power perhaps explains the reason for furthering his plans with Othello although he has already succeeded in becoming his lieutenant. Liz is now going to talk about the role of women. ...read more.

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