The Significance of Emilia Othello’s Character
The Significance and Dramatic Purposes of Emilia In Shakespeare’s “Othello”, Emilia is considered one of the minor characters. She is the partner of Iago and the girl in waiting to Desdemona. Emilia makes a vital contribution to the play as a whole. She adds to the characterization of a number of essential characters and adds to the significant paradox of the play. She plays an essential role in the escalation of the dramatic action. She also contributes to a few of the themes of the play. Emilia adds to the characterization of both Iago and Desdemona.
Emilia gets in the play in Act II, Scene i when she and the party arrive in Cyprus. Iago talks to her rudely and treats her disparagingly in front of the others;
“Begin, begin! You are images out of door, Bells in your parlors, wildcats in your kitchens, Saints in your injuries …”
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act II, Scene I, Lines 108-110
This exposes to the audience Iago’s real nature in his marital relationship and his low viewpoint of women. Throughout the play Desdemona’s innocence and guilessness is contrasted with Emilia’s realistic and knowledgeable perspective.
This is particularly apparent in Act IV, Scene iii when Desdemona says to Emilia that she can not think that there are ladies who would be unfaithful to their husbands;
” Dost thou in conscience believe, tell me, Emilia, That there be women do abuse their hubbies In such gross kind?”
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act VI, Scene III, Lines 63-65
Emilia explains the nature of males and marriage in a matter fact way and goes on to state that she herself would dedicate infidelity must the price be right. Emilia contributes to the significant irony in the play.
In Act IV, scene ii there are 2 events where Emilia curses the individual that has deceived Othello into believing Desdemona has actually betrayed. Unbeknownst to Emilia, it is her husband that is to blame however the audience knows and therefore it is ironic that she needs to say to Othello;
” If any scoundrel have actually put this in your head, Let paradise requite it with the serpent’s curse,”
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act IV, Scene II, Lines 15-16
It is a lot more paradoxical that the second time she describes the person that has actually deceived Othello she is speaking with Iago;
” I will be hanged if some eternal villain, some hectic and insinuating rogue …”
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act IV, Scene I, Lines 129-131
These 2 instances when Emilia calls out the wicked doer (not understanding she is really referring to her other half) also constructs on the remarkable stress that is eventually released when Emilia informs the truth and exposes her spouse in Act 5, scene ii. Emilia contributes greatly to the significant action of the play. In the increasing action she unintentionally gives her partner the very item that will seal Desdemona’s fate. The scarf she hands to Iago ends up being the product evidence that persuades Othello of Desdemona’s regret.
There are a couple of chances where Emilia remains in a position to change the awful outcome. In Act III, scene iv Desdemona asks Emilia if she know where she lost her handkerchief. Emilia states,
” I know not, madam.”
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act III, Scene IV, Line 23
Once again, later in the scene Emilia misses another chance to foil Iago’s strategy. Emilia sees how upset Othello gets about Desdemona not being able to produce the scarf yet she does not appear. Instead, she blames it on males and marriage;
” Tis not a year or 2 programs us a man.
They are all but stomachs, and we all however food …”
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act III, Scene IV, Lines 103-104
She does not see the connection in between the jealous husband and the handkerchief. This dramatic gadget of having the character being ignorant to details about which the audience understands builds tension. The audience knows of Iago’s plan to utilize the scarf but Emilia is oblivious of this. If she merely reported what happened with the handkerchief the established might be prevented. One of the main themes in Othello is jealousy. Emilia adds to this theme in numerous instances.
Among these circumstances is in Act I, scene III Iago exposes in his soliloquy that another inspiration for disliking the Moor is that he believes Othello might have bedded Emilia;
” I dislike the Moor, And it is believed abroad that ‘twixt my sheets H’as done my workplace …”
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act I, Scene III, Lines 377-379
Iago then continues to provoke Othello’s jealousy. Another contribution to the jealousy theme is in Act III, scene iv Desdemona specifies she has never ever given cause for Othello to be envious. Emilia speaks to jealousy and describes it as a beast;
” They are never envious for the cause, But jealous for they’re envious.
It is a monster Begot upon itself, born upon itself. “
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act III, Scene IV, Lines 159-161
This also supports the imagery created in Act II, scene iii when Iago is cautioning Othello the threats of jealousy;
” O’ beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed beast, which doth mock …”
William Shakespeare, Emilia Othello, Act III, Scene III, Lines 166-167
Emilia plays a substantial function in Othello and serves many significant purposes. These range from characterization, plot advancement, dramatic irony and style and images advancement. Works Cited Shakespeare, William. The Disaster of Othello, The Moor of Venice. Ed. Alvin Kernan. New York City: Signet Classics, 1998.