Emilia's Loyalty In Othello

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In a typical sense, a hero/heroine is known to show extreme loyalty to any cause that they take up. Their commitment to this cause determines their future actions, most commonly for the greater good. In Shakespeare’s Othello, the character of Emilia redefines this thought. She is loyal to both her husband, Iago, and her mistress, Desdamona, but shows this through her lack of loyalty to the other. She is not consistent in this, though, as her loyalty to Desdamona ultimately leads to her husband’s demise.
At the beginning of the play, it seems as though Emilia is influenced completely by her husband, showing her loyalty through submission to his demands. Instantly, the reader understands that Iago merely thinks of Emilia as a tool that can be used for his own gain. While Emilia has strong opinions, she complies with any request he makes. An example of this can be seen when she steals Desdamona’s handkerchief. She states:
My wayward husband hath a hundred times
Wooed me to steal it, but she so loves the token-
For he conjured her she should ever keep it-
That she reserves it evermore about her
To kiss and talk to. (3.3.295-300)
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While she continues to silently remain submissive to Iago’s demands, she begins to voice her opinions to Desdamona and starts to build a closer relationship with the character. This is important, as it naturally causes Emilia to increase her loyalty to Desdamona and stray from her husband. After Emilia witnesses Othello’s temper towards his wife, she states “[Men,] They are all but stomachs, and we all but food. / They eat us hungrily, and when they are full, / They belch us” (3.4.100-102). It is obvious that Emilia distrusts men, and she warns Desdamona to be just as skeptical. This foreshadows her loss of loyalty as she goes on to explain that she believes women should be as loyal to their husbands as their husbands are to them, which is not much. She

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