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Role of Emilia in Othello Literature Book Review Assignmnet (Book Review Sample)


the work discussed the role played by Emilia in the book, Othello. the sample clearly outlines acts of violation against women from vulnerable societies. however, the work illustrates how Emilia advocated for the rights of the voiceless women in her society.

Role of Emilia in Othello
Although she is not the play's protagonist, Emilia is a significant character throughout the play, Othello. She possesses a sharp wit and nontraditional perceptions towards men and marriage. In the play, Emilia is portrayed by Shakespeare as one of the most intriguing personalities who, not only makes the whole play captivating but reflects significant roles of women in the society. Apart from Emilia, Desdemona and Bianca are great ladies who find themselves held up by societal challenges, only to later end up as a real representation of women' experiences in contemporary society (De Smith 293). Desdemona is a central character in the play, and unlike Emilia, she represents a traditional woman of the time and is less respected regarding birth and social status. She possesses different values from Emilia, which represents virtues of a real Elizabethan lady. On the other hand, Bianca performs minor responsibilities throughout the play. Moreover, she has a different personality as compared to Emilia. She is a prostitute and has limited values towards the culture and moral standing of the Elizabethan. Nevertheless, the society sympathizes with her and want her to stand firm and advocate for the rights of voiceless women. Emilia is a feminist who falls at the center of this continuum; she values Desdemona but believes that women should never be regarded as sexual subordinates in marriage.
Women and Marriage
Emilia is a literary figure. She is Desdemona's lady in waiting and works as an attendant. Throughout the day, she is busy doing duties in Desdemona's homestead. Consequently, Emilia has more insight into all actions and personal life of Desdemona. The latter is beneficial to Iago, Emilia's husband, who does all he can to cause havoc and violence in Desdemona's marriage. Therefore, she requests Emilia to place Desdemona's handkerchief into Cassio's quarters. Emilia represents loyal women in society who are entangled into domestic hardships while making right decisions. Iago decides to manipulate his wife to break Desdemona's marriage. However, Emilia's conscience confronts her not to do it. She acknowledges that she has responsibilities, not only as a servant but also as a wife. This aspect defines the position and nature of an Elizabethan woman in England who conducts different duties in her life. Later, the plot to set up Othello succeeds after Iago receives the handkerchief from his wife. After Cassio finds the handkerchief, he instructs Bianca to make a copy of the same. Nevertheless, in 4.1.13, Bianca refutes the instructions, for she believed she had enough evidence to disclose Cassio's love affairs. She refers to the doing as a combination of ‘some minx's token.' It is fascinating that Emilia does no suspect her husband of jealousy and malice (Cheung 236). Rather, she argues that it could be Othello behind the murder of his wife. 'I know thou didst not, and you are not such a villain' (5.2.82).
Commencement of Liberation
Emilia encounters unending drama. Her perception of marriage is interesting because she views the latter as a philosophical phenomenon that ceases to be true in the Elizabethan context. Previously, she was accused of being in a relationship with Othello. Nevertheless, her actions suggest the opposite; she is loyal and honest to her master as well as to Iago. This aspect is evident in an instance when she hands over Desdemona's handkerchief to her husband. An unusual trait of Emilia is her philosophy on marriage. Although she was previously accused of being in an affair with Othello, her characters throughout the play portray a loyal and honest woman. She is certainly loyal to Iago when she gives him Desdemona's handkerchief, despite her instinct to return it to Desdemona. Later on, in the third scene, she becomes suspicious and does not anticipate Iago's decision towards Desdemona. 'What will you do with it, now that you have been so solemn to have me steal it?' (3.3.4). Moreover, she is worried that Desdemona might turn on her after realizing that she has been spying on her. She fears to lose her job and reputation in the society. In 3.3.12, she states that Desdemona would ‘run mad' on the realization that her handkerchief was missing. Contrary to a typical Elizabethan woman, Emilia demands to know the truth from her husband. She represents voiceless women in the Elizabethan context who remain silent under victimization from their spouses and the entire society. Women in this community were viewed as subordinates who only listened but never presented their views and feelings on pressing family matters. Moreover, Emilia expresses her thoughts on marriage and men. She uses her non-traditional understanding to define what is right and wrong. Emilia refers all Elizabethan men in England as ‘stomachs' and women as ‘food,' insinuating that for a long time, women have been represented as prey for their greedy and harsh men (3.4.3). Besides, Emilia expresses a firm conviction on equality; she believes that females are equally important as their male counterparts (Levenson 855). Consequently, she tries to convince Desdemona to be adamant on Othello's jealousy. 'I think it's not a husband's fault if his wife never succeeds, but such men should understand that their wives have similar senses.' (4.3.15).
War against Inferiority Complex
Later in the play, Emilia redeems herself and portrays a virtue of women redemption from vices of inferiority complex and domestic violence. She sacrifices her happiness and marriage for the sake of fellow woman, Desdemona by hijacking Iago's plotting and making it public. Besides, she is ready to sacrifice her life so that at no one moment would Desdemona be referred as a whore and an infidel. She was willing to clear her friend's name from accusations of unfaithfulness. The latter is a symbol of bravery and quest for women liberation. It is through Emilia that women empowerment appear real and takes a new direction in society. Many of the female characters in the play, Othello, are voiceless and fail to express their feelings of dissatisfaction freely. More so, they view themselves as sexual subordinates who only do what is demanded of them, rather than what their conscience drives them to do. Most of the women in our modern-day society are subjected to domestic wrangles and victimization. Emilia describes her relationship with Iago as a ‘marriage made in hell.' She never gets the happiness she always dreamt of while marrying Iago. Things changed so drastically that she never values the life of her husband, but rather does all she can to save a fellow woman from similar experiences. Not only does Iago mock Emilia, but also disrespects her. He never shows love and affection to her, and instead, talks ill about all Elizabethan women. Emilia does everything to impress him. "I want nothing but to please him and his imaginations," she explains (3.3.343).
In 3.1.13, Cassio requests Emilia to give him some advantage that he may get a brief discourse with Desdemona. Nevertheless, Emilia accompanies Desdemona all through; when Desdemona and Cassio are talking and later when Desdemona requests her husband to welcome the lieutenant. Moreover, in 4.2.41, Emilia refuses claims that Desdemona is unfaithful. Later in 4.3.6, she opens up her heart and explains to Desdemona what she has been going through in her marriage. She additionally argues that men are to blame for all mistakes and that she would only commit adultery if it meant good to Iago. Later on in 5.1.6, she is engaged in a confrontation with Bianca who she says, had been involved in Cassio's attack (Derrin 371). In 5.2.23, she discusses Cassio's attempted murder with Othello as well as the death of Roderigo.
Loyalty and Obedience
In Shakespeare's Othello, Emilia is a central character in the execution of loyalty and obedience. She is seen battling it hard to be an honest and loyal wife and also become the best attendant in Desdemona's homestead. Nevertheless, she has internal forces that drive her towards rebellion against the morals and standards of her society. She...
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