Her husband, Iago, kills her because she was about to reveal the plans set in motion by him. Venice had a reputation for its courtesans. In Act IV, scene ii there are two occasions where Emilia curses the person that has tricked Othello into believing Desdemona has been unfaithful. Emilia appears in few scenes within Othello, mainly as an adjunct to another (Desdemona or Iago). He is the ultimate villain in this play as opposed to Iago, the high ranking soldier. Is Othello a Victim or Villain? Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Emilia, in the play Othello, is not a typical example of a female character during the time of William Shakespeare. [1] The least involved woman in Othello is Bianca[2]. Unbeknownst to Emilia, it is her husband that is to blame but the audience is aware and therefore it is ironic that she should say to Othello; “ If any wretch have put this in your head, Let heaven requite it with the serpent’s curse,” (IV. Desdemona, Bianca, and Emilia are all victims of this society throughout Shakespeare’s Othello. Emilia even bravely challenges Othello when she discovers he has murdered Desdemona: “O the more angel she, and you the blacker devil!” (Act 5 Scene 2, Line 140). Desdemona is not introduced to the audience by name until she is present on stage, which is the first indication of the subservient female status. He previously served as a theater studies lecturer at Stratford-upon Avon College in the United Kingdom. and shortly thereafter Emilia facilitates a meeting between Desdemona and Cassio, and encourages her mistress to advocate on behalf of Cassio. Emilia was tricked into helping Iago get revenge on Othello, she did not take part willingly. Emilia once called Bianca a ‘strumpet’ inact V, scene 1, to which Bianca replies as “I’m not strumpet but of life as honest as you that thus abuse me” (5.1.122). Emilia As A Female Character In Shakespeare's Othello 1363 Words | 6 Pages. Emilia helped Iago persuade Othello of Desdemona’s guilt, and while she cannot undo Desdemona’s death, she can at least bear witness to the truth of what really happened. However, unlike Desdemona, who dies claiming she herself is responsible for her own death and wishing to be commended to her 'kind lord', Emilia unleashes a tirade of rebukes on the 'dull Moor' who has been so gulled and also on her husband, delivering a blow to male authority when she denounces him. 15-16). Her insistence on speaking out costs her her life when Iago stabs her in desperation. Othello. She shows only a small amount of suspicion as to what Iago plans to do with it, and accepts his refusal to tell her. From her first introduction, Emilia in Shakespeare's Othello is ridiculed and chided by her husband Iago: “Sir, would she give you so much of her lips/As of her tongue she oft bestows on me,/You would have enough” (Iago, Act 2, Scene 1). Throughout the play, Othello’s wife, Desdemona, is a victim of many false statements that lead to her ultimate death. Desdemona, an obedient, loyal, and pure young woman, is ultimately a victim to Othello’s over-powering strength and jealousy. She demonstrates her strength and honesty by exposing her husband and challenging Othello for his behavior. 4 Educator answers. “But I do think it is their husband’s faults If wives do fall.” This speaks volumes for her relationship with Iago and does insinuate that she would not be averse to the idea of an affair; which corroborates the rumors about her and Othello, although she denies them. Emilia at first appears to be one of her husband Iago’s puppets. These actions suggest that Emilia, at least initially, is at best passive, and at worst complicit in Iago’s schemes. Latest answer posted April 23, 2010 at 5:57:43 AM In Act III, scene iv, she says Insults go specifically towards Othello: And at the end of Act IV, scene iii, she gives a lengthy discourse about the virtues of infidelity. Emilia dies hoping that her final bravery will redeem her previous silence and obedience: “So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true” (5.2. Guidebooks were available, which gave the names, addresses and fees of Venice’s most prominent prostitutes. She denies her being a prostitute on many occasions, so it is not clear whether she is a prostitute or not. Emilia also shows courage and self-assurance in chastising Othello for doubting his wife’s virtue, scolding him “If you think other / Remove your thought” (4.2.). Emilia’s one deceptive act towards Desdemona—taking her special handkerchief ends up with wrecking results. Most often, the protagonist (tragic hero) is a member of high society who is faced with an oppositional force, be it internal or external. Bianca is brave enough to show her sexual prowess and her love for Cassio. The second victim of a murder in Othello is Emilia, Desdemona’s lady in waiting. In Renaissance Venice there were two classes of courtesan: the cortigiana onesta (the intellectual courtesan) and the cortigiana di lume (lower-class prostitute who lived and practised her trade near the Rialto Bridge). As she realizes the role her husband has played in bringing about Desdemona’s death, Emilia insists on outing Iago’s plot, stating in front of everyone that “your reports have set the murder on” (5.2.184). Emilia is cynical and bawdy, and she gives Desdemona every possible opportunity to bad-mouth Othello. Emilia’s role in Othello is key, her part in taking the handkerchief leads to Othello falling for Iago’s lies more fully. The loss of the handkerchief is the thing that persuades Othello that Desdemona is blameworthy of unfaithfulness, and Emilia’s little theft winds up causing her companion’s death. In order to please him, Emilia gives Iago Desdemona’s handkerchief, which leads to her best friend’s condemnation, but this is not done out of spite but to garner a little praise or love from her husband Iago, who rewards her with the line; “O good wench give it to me” (Act 3 Scene 3, Line 319). Also, her loyalty to Desdemona may belie this rumor too. Antonio Muñoz Degrain / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain. Unfortunately, she does not identify her own husband as the perpetrator until it is too late: “You told a lie, an odious, damned lie” (Act 5 Scene 2, Line 187). Desdemona’s devotion for Othello is unquestionable and betraying his trust for her is like betraying God. Desdemona thinks she can prove her fidelity to her husband, but Emilia is more cynical and believes that now that Othello has become suspicious, he will never be able to fully trust his wife again. Even though she is in a highly dangerous situation, alone with a man who has just proven himself capable of murder and might well kill her in order to conceal his crime, Emilia fearlessly insists on bringing him to justice, explaining “I’ll make thee known / Though I lost twenty lives” (5.2.). Roderigo has extremely poor judgement and his actions are generally despicable. Compare and contrast Desdemona and Emilia in Othello by Shakespeare. suggesting he doesn’t respect her intelligence. Like Emilia, Desdemona is also a tragic victim of the men in ‘Othello’. I am bound to speak” (Act 5 Scene 2, Line 191). Emilia becomes a parallel to Desdemona, as another woman killed by her husband for insisting on a truth that he did not want to hear. This is a play about Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army. In “Othello” the three women, Desdemona, Emilia and Bianca are subjected to equal amounts of abuse, although Bianca is the only one to survive in the play. Pious Desdemona is a senator's daughter and lover of a noble Venetian captain while Emilia is wife to Othello's ensign. Emilia is perceptive and cynical, maybe as a result of her relationship with Iago. This leads to Iago’s eventual downfall and sadly her own murder as her husband kills her. This could also strengthen the validity of the characters, especially Emilia, for not all marriages were as blissfully happy as Desdemona and Othello’s, and so portrays the other side to society. In a conversation with Desdemona, Emilia does not condemn a woman for having an affair: Emilia blames the man in the relationship for driving her to it. ), but her death also shows that within the world of the play, there is no promise of a happy fate for a woman. Their roles vary and it would be an exaggeration to categorize them all as victims. However, if Desdemona is a strong female character who becomes weaker, whose voice becomes repressed, Emilia starts as a wife who is oppressed but becomes stronger and whose voice carries the drama at its end. Later, when Desdemona accidentally drops her handkerchief, Emilia seizes the opportunity to pick it up, noting that “my wayward husband hath a hundred times / Wooed me to steal it” (3.3.). She remains loyal to her mistress throughout and even asks to join her on her deathbed as she herself dies. A victim is a person who experiences injustice. However, this kind of total submission can also turn her into a victim which happens by the end of the drama. Emilia helped Iago persuade Othello of Desdemona’s guilt, and while she cannot undo Desdemona’s death, she can at least bear witness to the truth of what really happened. Although jealousy was the reason why everything turned bad. Emilia could also be seen as a tragic victim of the manipulation of women by men into being suppressed and silenced Fate In 3.3, the fate of Desdemona and Cassio was sealed through Othello’s fragmented broken speech as he loses control, saying “death and damnation”, and uses violent, animalistic language of how he’ll “tear her all to pieces” At the end, she has sacrificed her life, accepting the circumstances as the outcome of her devotion and loyalty. Tragic Victim. He often speaks sharply or rudely to her, as when he quips “It is a common thing… to have a foolish wife” (3.3.) Emilia Analysis . Not only Othello, but Cassio, Roderigo, and Emilia were affected by trusting Iago, this shows how important trust is in the play. Here, Emilia and Desdemona argue about whether Othello will ever be satisfied about Desdemona’s innocence. The loss of the handkerchief is what convinces Othello that Desdemona is guilty of infidelity, and Emilia's little theft ends up causing her friend's death (at least in part). This particular line is prophetic in that Emilia’s testimony at the end of the play, relating to how Cassio came by the handkerchief, leads directly to Iago’s downfall. In making all three women victims, ... Of the three female characters in Othello, Emilia is the most unconventional. When one contrasts the time of the Renaissance to the modern day, one must determine the context of … She is the first to suggest that somebody is telling Othello untruths about Desdemona; “The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave./Some base, notorious knave” (Act 4 Scene 2, Line 143-5).​. Emilia is another victim of love and another victim of the abuse of women by men. and later explains to her mistress that “I do think it is their husbands’ faults / If wives do fall” (4.3.). Emilia is a character in the tragedy Othello by William Shakespeare.The character's origin is traced to the 1565 tale, "Un capitano Moro" from Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio's Gli Hecatommithi.There, the character is described as young and virtuous, is referred to simply as the ensign's wife, and becomes Desdemona's companion in Cyprus. Bianca, in Othello, is the character who is facing all this social pressure and is an example of the fear of men towards women’s empowerment. She tells Desdemona that “they eat us hungerly, and when they are full / They belch us” (3.4.) Most would agree as a matter of … However, there are similarities between the three women. Her death is therefore her punishment, furthermore making Emilia a tragic victim as she has died through no fault of her own. Few would initially consider the characters of Emilia and Desdemona of Shakespeare's "Othello" to be similar. She is certainly loyal to Iago when she gives him Desdemona’s handkerchief, despite her instinct to return it to Desdemona instead. When Iago wants to set up the appearance of inappropriate behavior between Cassio and Desdemona, he decides that “my wife must move for Cassio to her mistress” (2.3.) However, while Desdemona’s death reflects the murder of an innocent victim, Emilia dies seeking atonement for her participation in Iago’s crimes. Lee Jamieson, M.A., is a theater scholar and educator. Keywords: othello victim or villain, othello villain. In the beginning, Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, believes that Desdemona is a victim under a spell of the Moor Othello. On the day of her death, Othello orders Desdemona to await him in bed where she talks with Emilia of her love for him, and death. Emilia and Desdemona have imbibed some racist ideas, and they are victims of misogyny. As a disappointed suitor Roderigo represents the ‘curled darlings’ (I.2.68) that Desdemona rejected, providing us with a point of comparison with noble Othello. Having said this, it may well have been better if Desdemona had never set eyes on Othello, given the outcome. The victims are everybody but Iago, although the most victimized people from the play were Desdemona, Othello and Cassio. Unfortunately, these two strong, perceptive, loyal women are killed off but, at the same time, they could be considered the heroes of the piece. One is the wife of the play's tragic hero; the other is betrothed to one of the greatest villains of all time. The handkerchief is one of the main things that leads to the death of Othello. Iago repeatedly threatens her and tells her to be quiet, but Emilia insists that “I will speak as liberal as the north” (5.2.). Although Emilia was previously accused of having an affair with Othello, her actions throughout the play portray a loyal and honest woman. Is it the actions of Othello or is it the color of his skin that upsets Emilia. When she realizes Othello has killed Desdemona, Emilia immediately lashes out at him, stating “Thou dost belie her and thou art a devil” (5.2.). Essay about Othello as Victim of Hamartia 2057 Words | 9 Pages. In fact the only non-victim in the play is Iago, who is evil minded and full of scheming ideas against others. However, as the action progresses, Emilia reveals a sharp-eyed and self-aware perspective on how women are often vulnerable to abuse at the hands of their husbands. Emilia's one dishonest act towards Desdemona—stealing her special handkerchief—turns out to have devastating consequences. Desdemona in Act 4 Scene 3, sings the “Song of Willow”, a song which laments a lady’s lost love, and Desdemona and Emilia discuss about their opinions in marraige. She discovers Othello as Desdemona’s murderer and uncovers her husband’s plot which she exposes; “I will not charm my tongue. Emilia did not give the handkerchief to Iago, he took it from her. 131)” Is the color of Othello’s skin the reason he is the devil? ii. Her murder, like Emilia’s, is through no fault of her own is a result of Othello’s jealousy and Iago’s interference. She is a sharp contrast to the soft and complacent Desdemona. However, while Desdemona’s death reflects the murder of an innocent victim, Emilia dies seeking atonement for her participation in Iago’s crimes. “O, the more angel she, / And you the blacker devil (Emilia to. Which option … Othello is a play that only contains three female characters. In The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, many characters are unjustly victimized. Iago’s plans to bring down Othello involves making him so jealous of Desdemona“to abuse Othello’s ear/That he is … She is the first to suggest that somebody is telling Othello untruths about Desdemona; “The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave./Some base, notorious knave” (Act 4 Scene 2, Line 143-5). [...] comment on Shakespeare’s dramatic methods. This demonstrates her loyalty and that she judges men based on her own experience. Emilia was to reveal in public that it was Iago, and not Cassio, who had Desdemona’s handkerchief hence dispelling the rumor that her lady had cheated on Othello. The senes including Desdemona and Emilia one can see the terrible effect of Othello's brutality. An audience would not judge Emilia too harshly for her views, knowing Iago’s true nature. Characters Roderigo Roderigo: victim or villain? While she is a completely innocent character she is victimized and is killed by the end of the play by her husband. There is a sense of attachment between both ladies that doesn’t seem to exist in the relationship with their husbands as they have both … The marriage between Iago and Emilia is clearly not as close and loving as Othello and Desdemona’s was, and so could explain the lack of information about Iago’s motives that she received. Key context. Othello bids goodnight and asks for Desdemona to wait in bed for him, and Desdemona talks with her maid, Emilia about her love for Othello, as well as different attitudes to marriage and fidelity. Othello – Victim or Villain? She, in fact, fell victim to Iago’s vengeful plan. And to this day, there are still many people being victimized and others who are the victims. ‘Othello’ – William Shakespeare ‘Ultimately it is hard to see Emilia as anything other than a tragic victim of male power and malice.’ To what extent do you agree with this view? Othello as Victim of Hamartia By definition, a tragedy is a story that details the downfall of a protagonist. Emilia is perceptive and cynical, maybe as a result of her relationship with Iago. Othello IV.i. Character Analysis of Shakespeare's Othello, Iago Character Analysis From Shakespeare's 'Othello', 3 Prominent Themes Found in William Shakespeare's 'Othello', Portia - Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice', Cordelia From King Lear: Character Profile, The Roles of Women in Shakespeare's Plays, M.A., Theater Studies, Warwick University, B.A., Drama and English, DeMontfort University. Desdemona can be regarded as a tragic victim. Emilia judges jealous Othello’s behavior harshly and warns Desdemona off him; “I would you had never seen him” (Act 4 Scene 2, Line 17). Roderigo Roderigo: victim or villain also a tragic victim as she has died no. Of Venice, many characters are unjustly victimized and down arrows to review and enter to select it... Submission can also turn her into a victim to Othello 's ensign 's one dishonest act towards her... Others who are the victims are everybody but Iago, kills her because she was to. 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