Foils Of Desdemona And Iago In Shakespeare's Othello

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In Shakespeare’s Othello, Emilia serves as a foil for both Desdemona and Iago. Her meekness in these close relationships allows Iago to play her to gain access to Desdemona. Accordingly, Emilia steals the handkerchief to gratify Iago which fuels the tragic turning point of the play.
Emilia is Desdemona’s foil. Her worldly perceptiveness, experience and dark cynicism contrast Desdemona’s innocence and purity. When Desdemona asks, “Dost thou in conscience think, tell me, Emilia, / That there be women do abuse their husbands / In such gross kind?”(4.3.62-63), Emilia responds, “There be some such, no question”(4.3.64) and proceeds to add, “I might do’t as well I’ th’ dark.”(4.3.68), “The world’s a huge thing; it is a great price for a small vice”(4.3.70),
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Her naivety contrasts his cunningness. Iago frequently abuses Emilia. and calls her “a foolish wife”(3.3.302), “wench”(3.3.312), “Villianous whore!”(5.2.226), and “Filth”(5.2.228). She suggests to Desdemona, “or say the strike us”(4.3.93). His withholding of praise has driven her so desperate to please him “I nothing but to please his fantasy."(3.3.297) that she unwittingly “What he will do with it, Heaven knows, not I;”(3.3.296-297) incites the tragic downfall by stealing the handkerchief. She hopes offering him the gift he so clearly desires will ease his tirades against her “Do not you chide; I have a thing for you.”(3.3.298)
Emilia’s flaw is her blind unquestioning obedience to her husband. “But I do think it is their husbands’ faults / If wives do fall.”(4.3.89-90) Because Emilia is unwilling to challenge Iago’s authority, he infiltrates her with his toxin by proxy “The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.” (4.3.106) Her own voice is stifled, so she becomes his pawn. She does not share her husband’s treacherous intentions and defends Desdemona to Othello, “wager she is honest, Lay down my soul at stake:“(4.2) Nonetheless, Emilia concedes to Iago and allows him to use her as a tool throughout the rising action of the
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“Music”(5.2.245) alludes to “Willow, Willow”(4.3.50) sung by Desdemona lamenting the loss of a lover, ”I called my love a false love;”(4.3.56) and foretelling tragedy, “that bode weeping”(4.3.59). Emilia’s refusal to continue to comply with the oppressive established dynamic of their marriage, “I will not charm my tongue I am bound to speak: / My mistress here lies murdered in her bed.” (5.2.181-182) breaks the bond of Iago and Emilia’s co-dependency. Iago forsakes Emilia for her defiant betrayal, “ ‘Tis proper I obey him, but not now. / Perchance, Iago, I will ne’er go home”(5.2.192-193) and kills her. Her death is heroic and serves as her redemption, since it immortalizes her bravery and triumphs over her meek shameful complicity “cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak.”(5.2.218) In Othello, nothing is as it seems; Desdemona is truly honorable, but she appears guilty due to the trickster weasel words of “honest Iago”(1.3.289), who professes, “I am not what I am”(1.1.62). “So speaking as I am, alas, I die”(5.2.248) Emilia’s tragic death at Iago’s hands fulfills his belief that the brazen embrace of pure truth is incompatible with the ability to survive in a corrupt world, “For when my outward action doth demonstrate / The native act and figure of my heart / In

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