Othello Power Balance Essay

797 words - 3 pages

Iago and Emilia’s relationship in The Tragedy of Othello: Moor of Venice is similar to a lion, on one end it can be fierce, while on another it can be sly and cunning, and in the end it is the cunning side that becomes the strongest when stalking prey.
Iago, as deceitful of a character his is, always remains truthful when it comes to his opinions of his wife, Emilia. Iago claims throughout the play that his wife has cheated on him multiple times through out their marriage, these claims are even made in public among high ranking officers when Iago and Emilia meet on Cyprus, with Iago saying, “You rise to play and go to bed to work.” Iago’s mentioning of his spouse’s supposed cheating shows how much she truly hates everyone around him, even going to the point of combining his hate for Othello, “I hate the Moor, and 'tis thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets he has done my office." The use of the term ‘my office’ seems to dehumanize the idea of sex with a spouse and instead makes it seem like just another job. As the story progresses it becomes apparent that Iago harbors hate not only for Othello, but for Cassio too, and as an added benefit to Iago hatred, Cassio gets accused of sleeping with Emilia as well, "For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too." These lines give Iago a single-mindedness about him, hate, directed at his fellow soldiers, ranking officers, and even his own wife.
Emilia is a caretaker, a servant to Desdemona, which means that she doesn’t possess the nobility of Iago, the political power of Barbantio, or the cash of Roderigo. Emilia is subservient to two people among the island of Cyprus; she is the center of a tug of war, being pulled by Iago and Desdemona. Emilia’s relationships effect her response to certain people, for example, “I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed,” would be a response catered to Desdemona. The reason that Emilia’s position allows for her to be portrayed as the weak side of her relationship is due to idea of conflicting jobs against her husband. A nobleman in the military with such a reputation as Iago would be given more favor than a simple handmaiden. While Emilia knows her place she is not afraid to talk to...

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