The Importance of Emilia in Shakespeare's Othello

Powerful Essays
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 hu...

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... got to be assumed as a fateful event. As Shakespeare said, ""It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."

Works Cited and Consulted

Bayley, John. Shakespeare and Tragedy. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1981.

Bradley, A. C.. Shakespearean Tragedy. New York: Penguin, 1991.

Campbell, Lily B. Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes. New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1970.

Di Yanni, Robert. “Emilia's Character Revealed Through Dialogue.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Literature. N. p.: Random House, 1986.

Kermode, Frank. “Othello, the Moor of Venice.” The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.

Mack, Maynard. Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.
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