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To make Othello believe that Desdemona has been unfaithful, Iago talks Emilia into giving him Desdemona's handkerchief so that he may plant it in Cassio's quarters.Emilia is loyal to Desdemona, but she is loyal to Iago.Once Emilia hands over the handkerchief to Iago, the plot against Othello accelerates.
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Try it risk-free Although she is not the play's heroine, Emilia stands out as a significant female figure in 'Othello'.
"But I do think it is their husbands' faults If wives do fall: say that they slack their duties, And pour our treasures into foreign laps, Or else break out in peevish jealousies, 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. It is so too: and have not we affections, Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
Let husbands know Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell And have their palates both for sweet and sour, As husbands have. Then let them use us well: else let them know, The ills we do, their ills instruct us so" (Act 5 Scene 1).
Emilia judges jealous Othello’s behavior harshly and warns Desdemona off him; “I would you had never seen him” (Act 4 Scene 2, Line 17).
This demonstrates her loyalty and that she judges men based on her own experience.In a fit of jealousy, because she believes that this handkerchief is evidence that Cassio has another lover, Bianca makes a scene in front of Cassio, Othello, and others to proclaim that she will not copy 'some minx's token' (Act 4, Scene 1).Othello recognizes the handkerchief as Desdemona's, which solidifies his suspicions that Desdemona and Cassio are having an affair.She discovers Othello as Desdemona’s murderer and uncovers her husband’s plot which she exposes; “I will not charm my tongue. This leads to Iago’s eventual downfall and sadly her own murder as her husband kills her.She demonstrates her strength and honesty by exposing her husband and challenging Othello for his behavior.She is, however, concerned about Desdemona, who she claims will 'run mad' when she realizes the handkerchief is missing (Act 3, Scene 3).Although she is a dutiful wife, Emilia questions her husband, which goes against the grain of the conventional Elizabethan woman.Her sharp wit and non-traditional views on men and marriage make Emilia one of Shakespeare's most intriguing ladies.There are only three female characters in Othello, and each plays a critical role in Shakespeare's artfully crafted plot of jealousy and retribution.She is caught between her conscience and her responsibilities as both a wife and Desdemona's attendant.This divided duty reveals the complexity of being a woman in Elizabethan England.