An Outspoken Wife as the Penalty for Dishonesty in Othello
In William Shakespeare's Othello, the loyalty of a woman to a man includes being silent and obedient. Emilia clearly follows these guidelines of silence and obedience until her epiphany in which she learns of Iago's dishonesty. Shakespeare implies that the penalty for a man’s dishonesty is an outspoken, disobedient wife.
Emilia literally causes Iago's downfall, which is brought on due to Iago's overestimation of Emilia's loyalty.
"'Tis proper I obey him, but not now" (5.2.203).
Because Emilia remains loyal to Iago throughout the play, Iago relies totally on the belief that Emilia will remain obedient to him. Emilia proves her loyalty to Iago by stealing the handkerchief that Othello gave Desdemona:
My wayward husband hath a hundred times
Wooed me to steal it, but she so loves the token--
I'll have the work ta'en out,
And give 't Iago
I nothing but to please his fancy. (3.3.308-309, 312-313, 315)
In taking the ch...