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The Importance Of Emilia In Shakespeare's Othello

1969 words - 8 pages

The Importance of Emilia in Shakespeare's Othello

In Othello the Moor, Shakespeare combines destiny with a fatal character flaw and that flaw is jealousy.  Shakespeare's tragedy allows one character to hold the key to the entire web he has spun and that character is Emilia. Emilia is the lone character who garners the knowledge to all circumstances of the events surrounding the characters in Othello the Moor.  Although other characters in the play are privy to certain details of the unfolding events, Emilia is the character that uses this knowledge to the benefit of the play.  Emilia's character is minor yet necessary.  Without her character the play would have no means of unraveling the confusion created by the author.  Emilia, wife of Iago, should be questioned of her loyalty and commitment to both her husband and her dear friend, Desdemona. 

The character of Emilia has only eight short parts in the play and of those parts only two are with the lead character of Othello.  Her character only interacts with Iago and Desdemona.  The first encounter between Othello and Emilia is in Act IV, Scene II.  Emilia assures Othello of Desdemona's true love and faithful manner.  Othello questioned Emilia "You have seen nothing, then?" "Nor ever heard, nor ever did suspect." (Shakespeare, Act IV, Scene II, page 1107) replied Emilia.  Emilia is telling the truth.  She knows for a fact that Desdemona has been faithful to her husband and that she loves him wholly.  But in Shakespeare's style of character development; Emilia is playing coy to the fact that her husband has lead Othello to believe differently.  Emilia is now the only character to have direct interaction with Othello, Desdemona and her husband and be knowledgeable of her husband's scheme.

The design of the play Othello the Moor is intricate and at times hard to follow but the author has a point to make and this becomes clear at the end of the play.  Shakespeare's point in Othello the Moor is that each individual has a destiny and fate is central in the lives of his characters.  Othello, a great warrior, is the lead character and the target for attack from a disgruntled soldier, Iago.  Iago plots with the aide of his wife, Emilia, to plant subtle notions of jealously in the case of Othello's expedient marriage to Desdemona.  Othello loves Desdemona and the same is true for Othello, but Iago successfully destroys the trust between the couple with a scheme in which Othello is unable to control his jealousy.  There are several other characters that Iago uses to set his plan into motion such as Roderigo, Bianca and Cassio.  Cassio is not so much a willing participant in the scheme of the play as he is a scapegoat (or object of irrational hostility; Webster's Dictionary, 652) to pin the entire plot on.  It is known that Emilia's character becomes crucial to the plot, as she is the most essential character to her husband's crusade to destroy Othello and Desdemona.   

Iago is angered at...

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