Essay on Emilia and Desdemona in Othell

1082 Words Oct 14th, 1999 5 Pages
Othello - English Essay

The contrasting characters; Desdemona and Emilia, form an interesting and important relationship in the play Othello. Desdemona is very ‘sheltered’ from the ways of the world and Emilia is very ‘down to earth’ and ‘experienced’. From this difference we see a fascinating relationship between the two of them. In the given passage, we see that Desdemona takes a very honest, romantic and loyal stance towards Othello, (this is also true of her relationship with him), where as Emilia speaks more ‘sense’... more ‘realistically’. Desdemona is melancholy but hopeful, and her defenses of true love against Emilia’s more cynical view of the world
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Then in Act 3 scene 3 Emilia has an opportunity to foil Iago’s designs, but instead she stands mute as Othello berates and abuses Desdemona for the loss of the handkerchief--a handkerchief whose location Emilia knows all too well. She could be a savior to her mistress, but instead is only the voice of ironic humor, asking; “is he not jealous?” and receiving firm denials Desdemona, only to watch Othello display fierce jealousy. Emilia then asks dryly, “Is not this man jealous?” to which poor Desdemona can only say, “I ne’er saw him like this before” Later in the play, the audience’s view of Emilia changes, we no see her as the voice of moral outrage... her spirited defense of her mistress ends her time as Iago’s accomplice, and locates her firmly on the side of the forces of right. Indeed, hers is the first voice defending Desdemona that Othello has heard since Iago began his work in act 3, scene 3, and it is a relief for the audience to hear someone speaking truth to the unfortunate Moor. Othello is too far gone for her sensible words to work, of course--Emilia’ s common sense only leads him to call his wife a “subtle whore” a ridiculous epithet for a young woman who is neither subtle nor

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