Othello. Emilias monologue in act IV scene iii lines 82-99 articulate her views that women and men are not so different

Extracts from this essay...


But I do think it is their husbands' faults [82] If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties, And pour our treasures into foreign laps, Or else break out in peevish jealousies, [85] Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us, Or scant our former having in despite; Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace, Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell [90] And have their palates both for sweet and sour, As husbands have. What is it that they do When they change us for others? Is it sport? I think it is: and doth affection breed it? I think it doth: is't frailty that thus errs? [95] It is so too: and have not we affections, Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have? Then let them use us well: else let them know, The ills we do, their ills instruct us so. [99] [Emilia's monologue, Othello, Verse, act IV scene iii] Emilia's monologue in act IV scene iii lines 82-99 articulate her views that women and men are not so different, and that what is acceptable for the men, is too for women.


The portrayal of women in Othello, and generally speaking in Shakespeare's tragedies on a whole, is that of passive victims, or deceivers of men. In Othello, we see the portrayal of women split more specifically into the "strumpet" and the "virtuous" and the confusion between the two ultimately creates the tragedy within Othello. The "gentle Desdemona" [I.ii 25] is portrayed an emblem of a chaste Elizabethan life. Alongside the constant allusions to her purity and whiteness, Desdemona's virtue is particularly evident within act IV scene iii in which she and Emilia discuss adultery, overall highlighting two very different opinions. "Desdemona: wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world? Emilia: Why, would not you? Desdemona: No, by this heavenly light. Emilia: Nor I by this heavenly light; iImight do't as well i'th'dark." The religious imagery created with the use of "heavenly light" not only asserts this question in regards to the morality of the women in question, but overall fortifies the two women's responses in regards to God and the conduct expected in a very religious conscious, Elizabethan society. Thus, overall reinforcing Desdemona as a virtuous character, on the other hand Emilia's dark humour, leads the audience into questioning her character.


/ They eat us hungrily, and when they are full, / They belch us" (III.iv.100-102) This creates a sense that Emilia has been hurt by Iago, an through experience, shown by the use of past tense, she has known what it is like to be devoured by love and then rejected, yet survive it. Bianca and Desdemona, the two most different women, both being called strumpet creates a direct comparison. The comparison between the women unites them, similarly to the use of inclusive and exclusive pronouns within Emilia's monologue. Bianca's response "I am no strumpet; but of life as honest as you that thus abuse me." [V.i 122-123] as I said previously highlights a sense of acceptance of female promiscuity as a result of men's "abuse", similarly to Emilia. However Desdemona's response "Be not to be a strumpet, I am none." [IV.ii.87] although a similar response to Bianca', highlights not only her pride but lack of experience. This experience quite possibly could be what Emilia in her monologue tries to give to Desdemona, and perhaps tries to persuade her to change her honest ways in order to survive. In relation to this, it could be assumed that Desdemona's death could also be a result of her naivety and reluctance to adapt to survive.

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers
  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.