There are various characters in William Shakespeare’s Othello that have risen to prominence in the world of theater and literature, such as Othello, Desdemona, and Iago. Emilia, on the other hand, adds depth to the entire story and its issues.
Emilia is Iago’s wife who comes to Cyprus as ordered by Hamlet and serves as Desdemona’s servant in the story. Emilia becomes friends with Desdemona and continues to stay with her after Othello begins to condemn her actions. The connection between Desdemona and Emilia is very complicated, owing to their mutual trust and differing views of the world.
In the fourth and final act, Desdemona and Emilia demonstrate a trustworthy bond. The maid doesn’t doubt Desdemona’s devotion and actively shields her in front of others.
Emilia, Iago’s wife, is not the play’s main character. She does, however, have an important role in the story’s conclusion. Emilia never intended to hurt Desdemona since she was a kind maid. She betrays her by stealing Desdemona’s handkerchief. Emilia had no other choice since she obeyed Iago as a devoted servant. “How can this soothe your soul?” she asks as she passes him the tissue.
What will you do with ‘t, that you have been
To have me filch it?
(Act 3, Scene 3)
Emilia is a force for evil who helps to execute the Moor’s nefarious scheme by duping him and increasing his jealousy. Emilia isn’t aware of the plan. This little piece of tissue becomes a signal for Othello’s fears.
In act 4, the lady has already had worries about Iago’s malevolent aim of dividing couples. She is not, however, brave enough to reveal her spouse’s plan. Emilia is certain that Desdemona’s devotion and honesty are genuine, and she makes many tries to persuade Othello:
I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other,
Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom.
If any wretch have put this in your head,
Let heaven requite it with the serpent’s curse!
(Act 4, Scene 2)
Many differences may be observed between Desdemona and Emilia in William Shakespeare’s Othello, act 4, scene 3. In a conversation with Ferdinand, Emilia makes a personal confession. If she could get the whole world in return, she says that she would be willing to be an unfaithful wife:
In troth, I think I should; and undo’t when I had
done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a
joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for
gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty
exhibition; but for the whole world,–why, who would
not make her husband a cuckold to make him a
(Act 4, Scene 3)
However, Desdemona believes that no woman can do this. Desdemona’s integrity is emphasized by the contrast in their views on marriage and loyalty. Emilia, on the other hand, cannot be viewed as a malevolent character. In the end, Emilia’s dedication to Desdemona causes her to betray Iago. As a result, their relationship serves as an excellent example of unbreakable love and fidelity.
In his 1604 play ‘Othello,’ William Shakespeare criticizes the harmful effects of patriarchy during the Jacobean era by focusing on Desdemona and Emilia’s relationship. The male characters’ misogyny and the restrictive gender roles imposed on women are at the heart of ‘Othello,’ resulting in Kastan’s idea of “uncompensated suffering.”
Shakespeare emphasizes the dangers of the old patriarchal order by employing Desdemona and Emilia, two women who represent all women in society, to illustrate how outdated social customs are corrupting people. It is prejudice against these individuals that drives the story towards tragedy.
In Othello, Shakespeare depicts the connection between Desdemona and Emilia as the only genuine love relationship in the play, and it is toxic masculinity that allows it to endure until the end. “Desdemona is Shakes’ word for love,” Kernan adds, while Bradley claims that Emilia does not exhibit any indication of having a “bad heart.”