The Ignorant Emilia in Othello

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For a long time, I have felt that Emilia could not possibly have been unaware that the handkerchief which was dropped by Desdemona and picked up by her (Emilia) was the same handkerchief the loss of which was the occasion of Othello's wrath and Desdemona's distress. The excerpts below will explain why (I have capitalized "handkerchief" because in this context we are talking, not about a handkerchief, but about The Handkerchief). Why would Shakespeare have given us so much indication that Emilia knew very well, and all the time, that the handkerchief she "found by fortune" was the same one that occasioned Othello's abuse of Desdemona? Can he really have expected his audience to believe that the connection dawned on her only when Othello, after the murder, again referred to the "pledge of love which I first gave her", the Handkerchief? I guess that the answer to that question is that he did and they do. Are there any dissenting opinions? How Emilia came into possession of the Handkerchief. Act III, Scene 3, Desdemona, Emilia, and Othello present: Oth. I have a pain upon my forehead here. Des. ....Let me but bind it hard, within this hour It will be well. Oth. Your napkin is too little; (He puts the Handkerchief from him, and she drops it.) ... ... middle of paper ... ...ed because of its "loss" I try to imagine what Desdemona said to Emilia, when they met in Heaven, and what Emilia replied. Might it have been Des. I told you, Emilia, how unhappy I was over the loss of the Handkerchief and you were there when Othello went at me with The Handkerchief, The Handkerchief, over and over again and again. Why didn't you tell him, or me, where it was? Emil. I was dumb, Mistress, I was dumb.
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