Thursday, May 26, 2016






Thursday 26 May

A-D  Most productions of Othello omit 3.1.  Though this may make sense onstage, the scene has strange symbolic echoes and implications for the play.  Identify some of these references by naming and analyzing them.


It seems that act one of scene three in The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice is not important; therefore, it could be viewed as a useless scene that bridges main events together. I would argue, however, that the clown in this scene is a foreshadowing of Iago’s character and later actions in the play.
            The scene opens with Cassio bringing in musicians to play as Othello and his bride awaken. The clown enters unannounced and does not hesitate to order the musicians around, telling them to stop playing. Iago, likewise, keeps going to Cassio, Roderigo, and Othello and telling them what to think and what actions to take against each other, usually appearing and disappearing from their sides unannounced. The clown did not enter with the musicians and Cassio; Iago did not enter with any one nor does he state his purpose for showing up outside of Othello’s bedroom door. Both the clown and Iago are intruders that disrupt lives: they stop the music and harmony that exist between the characters.
            Iago and the clown both use specific language in order that those they are manipulating may think that everything they are suggesting is not an evil deed. For instance, the clown states that “the general so likes/your music that he desires you, for love’s sake, to make no more noise with it” (3, 1, 11-12); he is saying that the general loves the music, but orders them to stop playing. This conversation could be hinting about the one between Iago and Othello later when Iago says that Cassio is an “honest man” (3, 3, 123) and states that he is having relations with his wife at the same time.
            Finally, the other characters do not see Iago or the clown as evil hindrances. The musicians and Cassio view the jester as one in authority, which is proven by the fact that they listen to him and obey his orders. Cassio even goes as far as calling him “mine honest friend” (3, 1, 21). Up until Iago is found out at the end of the play, every character is heard calling Iago “honest”. There is no proof that the clown has been to see Othello and knows what he wishes. There is also no proof that Iago will ever be as “honest” as everyone claims. Instead, they are ones that are not to be taken seriously. Everyone’s downfall comes when they perceive the jesters as honest.



Act three scene one seems a purposeless use of the stage since there isn’t much action taking place especially not a large important part of the story line. The use of the scene in the book is an important symbol of misunderstanding.
            Though the clown on stage would be meant for comedic relief which is not necessary at this point in the play, the clown serves his purpose more as one character being the epitome of all the other character’s misunderstandings of each other. The clown tells the musicians not to play anymore because he thinks it won’t suit the general although Cassio had already told them to play. This is a small equivalent to the plan of Iago to make it seem as if Cassio is wooing Desdemona.
            When the clown is responding to Cassio’s question he says, “No I hear not your honest friend, I hear you” (3.1.22). This word play and joking misunderstanding mocks all the characters in the play as they incorrectly hear each other to be saying and planning good things. This is apparent in Othello’s trust of Iago as well as Roderigo’s trust. Both presume Iago is an honest friend. The repetition of honest friend in the play is ironic as all the friendships consist of lying and deceiving. The clown’s line mocks the friends in the play.
              This scene also has Emilia in it which helps to solidify her relationship with Desdemona. It is important that Emilia is part of the plan early in the play without her knowledge to help show her misunderstanding of Iago’s intent. Although she isn’t yet aware of the intent of Iago it seems she is willing to do his bidding even when it involves her good friend Desdemona, this willing participation compares to Iago’s friendships where he is trusted and loved and plots behind their backs. In the same way Emilia is trusted and loved by Desdemona and Emilia ruins it by involving herself in harmful plots. 
           


E-G  "errs in ignorance and not in cunning" (3.3.53) could serve as a keynote or theme for Othello. How so, specifically?


In the play Othello, we witness Desdemona stating the phrase errs in ignorance and not in cunning (3.3.53).  This comment is made in regards to the discussion of Cassio, who is a friend of Othello.  Iago and Othello discuss Cassios loyalty to him and Desdemona tries to claim that Cassio truly loves Othello, and if he does not, it is from ignorance and not from malicious or devious behavior.  Othello is already weary of his wife and her actions towards potentially having eyes for other men, and therefore he begins to believe his wife and Cassio have a deeper connection than just friends.  During this entire process, Iago is on the sidelines talking into Othellos ears about the possibility of his wife not truly loving him and not honoring him as her husband.  Iago tells Othello he has witnessed Cassio daydreaming of Desdemona, calling her name in his sleep, and using a handkerchief that was given to him by Desdemona.  Othello later on sees Cassio with this same handkerchief that Iago was telling him about, and he then truly believes his wife has not been faithful.  Othello then wishes to seek revenge by planning the death of Cassio as well as his wife for their un-loyal actions.
     This phrase previously spoken by Desdemona can relate to what could occur in the rest of the play for Othello.  Othello can be seen as ignorant for letting certain circumstances lead him to believe that his beloved wife and friend were unfaithful and un-loyal to him, regardless if it happened or not.  He is also extremely ignorant for letting Iago, a villian, help persuade him into causing turmoil and deceit in the act of killing his wife and friend.  I believe this was stated to give viewers and readers a grasp on what is to come further on in the play.  Without reading any further, I believe Othello will find himself in some trouble with his cunning behavior and plan for revenge.
           


In Shakespeare’s Othello, the only character who seems to see beyond himself and into the lives of others is Iago. Unfortunately for the other characters in the play, Iago uses this insight to further himself in his superiors’ eyes while, at the same time, cutting the ground out from underneath them. This line, “errs in ignorance and not in cunning” (3.3.53), could be the theme for every other character that is blindsided by Iago. They are all too ready to assume the best of him and the rest, and soon that is used against them.
            Othello, though Iago hates him the most, isn’t the first to be deceived by him. The first is Roderigo, a simple man who loves Desdemona and believes that Iago is helping him court her. Instead, Iago does absolutely nothing as far as courtship goes and pockets the money, pretending all the while to be Roderigo’s intimate friend. This friendship, too, is only a means to Iago, who uses Roderigo throughout the play like an ignorant minion.
            The first of these moments was to inform Desdemona’s father, Brabanzio, of her marriage to Othello. Iago made it seem as if this action would help Roderigo in his suit of her. Another of these times was when Iago had Roderigo incense the drunken Cassio into chasing him. Then when Montano interceded a fight began, and Othello was awakened to come intervene. As Iago is so honest, he must tell the truth about who started the fight, and in truth it was the drunken Cassio, although the only reason he imbibed was because Iago urged him to have another.
            Despite this, Cassio is still blinded to the troublemaking of Iago, which allows him to spur him one step further into requesting that Desdemona plead for him with Othello. This is the point at which Iago begins to get into Othello’s head, hinting at the possibility of an intimacy between Cassio and Desdemona. Iago’s cunning, as we can see, is only useful to him so long as the others stay ignorant of his true motives.
Othello has no doubt that Iago is completely open and honest with him. He always assumes that what Iago tells him is the truth. This is because Iago has always seemed to be a simple man who is unwaveringly loyal to his master. However, this is a guise that he puts on with everyone that he comes into contact with: pretending to be their close and personal friend, who has no thoughts but for what would benefit them. The whole while he hides from everyone, excepting the audience, a meanness that is actually a hate of everyone but himself, and an extreme desire to better his position in the world by crushing those before him.
The other characters’ blindness to this true Iago, not the honest Iago, is what proves their ignorance. If they were more cunning they would much less likely be duped by Iago’s schemes. As it is, however, they all “err” in that they unknowingly fall into the brilliantly woven web of honest Iago. This is why the line, “errs in ignorance and not in cunning” could serve as a main theme for the play Othello.

                                                                    ♥

Spoken by the character Desdemona to her husband Othello, the line, “errs in ignorance and not in cunning” (3.3.53), serves as a theme for Shakespeare’s play, “The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice,” because it describes much of the actions done by the central characters of the play, excluding the antagonist, Iago. For example, with his dishonest assertions and insinuations Iago is able to manipulate all of the other primary characters—Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo, and Emilia—into straying from their sincere intentions to comply with their expected roles in the world of the play. Furthermore, the dichotomy between the motivations of the non-Iago characters and the consequences of their actions is one born of these characters being deceived and not of any malicious intent on their part (at least on an explicit reading of the text), which Shakespeare illustrates to the audience.
For instance, the main protagonist of the play, Othello, is not only the a highly reputable member of the society presented in the play, he is also shown to be sincerely devoted to his wife, Desdemona. A good example of this devotion can be observed from the third scene of Act III, wherein Othello states to his wife, “I will deny thee nothing,” (3.3.82). Later in the same scene, while talking to Iago, Othello seems to show a lack of respect for men who are jealous: “Think’st thou I’d make a life of jealousy / To follow still the changes of the moon…Exchange me for a goat / When I shall turn the business of my soul / To such exufflicate and blowed surmises” (3.3.175-80). Nevertheless, Iago is still able to put the fabricated idea of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness into Othello’s head by the end of this same conversation.
And, as terrible of a crime it is for Othello to eventually murderer his wife, believing her to be unfaithful, there are indications that he still believes in the morality of his intentions. In the second scene of Act V, Othello stresses the righteousness of his aim in killing his apparently disloyal wife: “An honorable murderer, if you will / For naught I did in hate, but all in honor” (5.2.288-89). The implications of this line, as well as much, of Othello’s speech at the end of the play are problematic, though these lines also clearly correlate with the notion of “errs in ignorance” (3.5.53).

However, a central irony of “The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice” could be found in the suggestion that while Iago certainly sets everyone on paths to destruction, there is evidence to support the characters were headed in that direction regardless. In other words, their errs were possibly of more “cunning” than the audience is explicitly led to believe. Othello’s quickness to accuse Desdemona of disloyalty, Desdemona’s flirtatious jesting with Iago in Act II, or Roderigo’s quickness to resort to violence in order to accomplish his ends could be evidence of this concept. To be fair, this assertion may be a bit of a stretch, though, it came to mind when thinking about what has been said in class about how people do not change. 

H-O  Between "Ha, I like not that" (3.3.38) and "O misery" (201), a mere 163 lines elapse. Though this seems supernaturally rapid, Othello provides various clues in his initial discussions with Iago that he has been uneasy about his new wife all along.  What are they?



In the beginning of scene 1 act 2, the discussion between Othello and Iago gives some insight into what kind of a person Othello, and why it might be the case that he has been worrying about Desdemona all along. Is response to Iago warning Othello that Brabanzio would attempt to make Othello and Desdemona get divorced, Othello replies “Let him do his spite/ My services which I have done the signory/ Shall out-tongue his complaints.” (1.2.18-19). This response does, at surface level, just make it seem as though Othello is not afraid of Brabanzio because he thinks that his threats and attempts to divorce them will prove fruitless due to the status that Othello possesses, however, instead of just being not concerned about the threat, he makes it seem as though he wants this to happen. Othello gives the impression that he would rather have Brabanzio try to break up his marriage than not have to deal with it. This difference in attitude makes it seem like Othello is almost hoping that Brabanzio will be successful and that Othello will have to divorce Desdemona, which gives the impression that Othello is uneasy about his marriage in the first place and it perhaps now not thinking that it was such a good idea. Additionally, he letter goes on to say that he needs Brabanzio to find him (1.2.30), which further makes it seem like he genuinely wants this conflict between him and the father of Desdemona to happen. If he was happy with his decision to be married to Desdemona then it would make more sense that he would not be actively trying to cause tension between them and the father, doing so only makes the marriage harder at best, and destroys it at worst.

♥ 

Othello begins to question the intentions, and if he can trust his closest subordinate Michael Cassio, and his wife Desdemona upon the subtle urgings of his aid Iago. Iago knows that Othello is a dangerously insecure man due to the fact he fully trusts love. Iago takes advantage of this and poisons Othello’s feelings toward Michael Cassio and Desdemona.
            Even though Othello was a man of high military rank, and great honor being a moor, he could not have gone to Desdemona directly with his feelings, we see Iago call into question Michael Cassio’s intentions, “I did not think he had been acquainted with her. Oh, yes, and went between us very oft”. (3.3.97-98) This bit of information is just enough for Iago to twist pure emotions like love, and loyalty into jealousy and suspicion. Due to Othello's naturally untrusting nature, and the urgings of Iago Othello begins to think of each moment between Desdemona and Michael Cassio not as his trusted comrade expressing his feelings of love for him, but rather cruelest betrayal.
            Once this suspicion is rooted in his mind even seemingly innocent exchanges can take on sinister interpretations. Such as the passage where Desdemona pleads on behalf of Michael Cassio to be allowed to return to Othello's presence, “Shall it be shortly? The Shorter, sweet, for you. Shall’t be tonight? No, not tonight”. (3.3.53-55) These lines which simply show a wife's devotion to her husband, and a desire to see his loyal friend restored to his good favor. Yet through the envy and manipulation of Iago these actions meant to bring Othello comfort and return peace to his military camp only serve to sow doubt and mistrust of his innocent wife. These seeds of doubt take root in these moments and grow swiftly so soon Othello is incapable of seeing any action of Desdemona without questioning if it is a deception, or if she is only with him for his exotic nature. These fears poison their entire relationship with each other.


The progression of Othello and Iago's conversation about Desdemona and her supposed infidelity changes rapidly from unknowing to full on doubt in about 160 lines worth of passage. However, Othello does show some of his doubt early on in the passage when him and Iago first come across his wife when Cassio walks away from her. Iago gives a flippant remark, “Ha! I like not that” (3.3.33) and Othello is quick question what he just said. His immediate response implies he heard something Iago was hinting at, which speaks to where his mind went while after glimpsing Cassio.
            After his wife leaves, Othello appears to get agitated with Iago over the things Iago is not freely saying. He calls Iago out with his echoing him as if there was something not right in his perceptions (3.3.105-107). Othello goes on about how he knows Iago is hiding something by how he quotes Iago's previous statements, “I heard thee say even now thou “lik'st not that”/ When Cassio left my wife. What didst not like? / And when I told thee he was of my counsel, / Of my whole course of wooiing thou cried'st “Indeed?”” (3.3.108-111). Of all the things he could have repeated that Iago said, Othello picked the two lines that most implied Desdemona's infidelity, which clearly shows his own insecurities with his marriage. The speed in which Othello grasps onto Iago's tone and how quick he is to consider that his wife is cheating shows he had on some level thought of it before.
            Othello also pushes Iago to just say what his thoughts are, regardless of how bad they may be. Considering how pointed his own echoings are, it is clear Othello does know what Iago implies, which in itself implies that Othello just wants to hear someone else say it. 


The conversation that occurs between Othello and Iago between “Ha, I like not that” (3.3.35) and “O, misery” (184) are intriguing because Iago masterfully inspires suspicion in Othello without so much as a direct word about where the doubt should be placed. In fact, he plants the seeds of suspicion in Othello’s mind by actually denying he thinks anything is amiss or by brushing off his thoughts as bothersome.
            Iago starts with his manipulation as soon as Michael Cassio is gone. He gives the vague exclamation of “Ha, I like not that.” When Othello asks Iago about what he means by his words, Iago waves it away as a passing statement. It seems from the next lines in which Othello asks if the departing man was Cassio, which Iago was trying to draw Othello’s attention to Cassio and Desdemona’s conversation. As soon as Desdemona departs with Emilia, Iago asks Othello about Michael Cassio. Othello replies with curiosity as to why Iago asked, he simply says “But for a satisfaction of my though / No further harm.” (3.3.106-7).
            What Iago is doing, is coaxing out the lurking suspicions that were already lingering in Othello’s mind. He is also stoking the flames while he’s inside Othello’s head. It becomes evident that Othello is beginning to doubt Desdemona when he starts to question Michael Cassio. Iago and Othello go back and forth about Cassio’s honesty, ending up Othello deciding that “Nay, yet there’s more in this” (143). Iago continues to manipulate Othello into believing that all of these thoughts about something going between Cassio and Desdemona are nothing but the results of his own jealous and suspicious way of thinking of people. By giving that excuse, he is setting up Othello to believe that his own suspicions must be true.
            Iago seals the deal when he starts to hint that Othello may be acting upon his own jealousy. He even go do far to say that "The cuckold lives in bliss / Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger / But, oh, what damned minutes tells he o’er / Who dotes, yet doubts – suspects, yet soundly loves!” (178-183). He is basically telling Othello that at least if he were to know that his wife was cheating that he would have an idea of who the other man is and to not befriend him. On the other hand, he presents how unhappy a man who loves his wife dearly would feel if she were unfaithful.

P-R  "I am bound to thee forever" (3.3.249) and "I am your own forever" (546) sound suspiciously analogous, the first line arriving in the virtual mathematical center of the scene and the second providing the same scene's last line. What do you think Shakespeare was doing here? Specific references.


When Othello says “I am bound to thee for ever” (3.3.212), he is speaking to Iago, essentially telling him that he is thankful for his honesty.  As much as Othello doesn’t want to believe that Desdemona would cheat on him with Cassio, he instantly starts to believe Iago and his ‘plan’ to take Cassio’s place as Lieutenant.  I believe that Othello telling Iago that he is bound to him forever is his way of saying ‘now that you put this idea in my head I’m always going to assume my wife is unfaithful.” Othello says, “Avaunt! Be gone! Thou hast set me on the rack (3.3.332).  He’s pretty much telling Iago that he’s being tortured with these thoughts.  Iago’s evil plan is working and Othello believes his ‘honest word’ over his own wife’s.  Othello thinks Iago is an honest and true friend to him when in reality it’s all part of his plan to take Cassio’s place.
            Iago then goes further into his plan by planting the handkerchief that Othello got Desdemona in Cassio’s place so that it looks even more suspicious, and even goes as far as acting like Cassio lead on to the fact that him and Desdemona were secret lovers.  Othello freaks out and says that he wants to kill them both, which Iago wants so that he can take Cassio’s place.  Iago says that he will kill Cassio for Othello and Othello accepts his offer.  Once he kills Cassio, Othello tells him that he is now the Lieutenant, and Iago responds with “I am your own forever” (3.3.473).  I think this is a low blow at Othello’s ignorance.  Iago is almost mimicking Othello.  Othello thought Iago was a great and honest friend when in reality Iago was just a sick person who had one thing in mind, and that was taking Cassio’s place.  Iago is almost laughing at Othello by saying I’m yours forever.  It seems like he’s telling Othello ‘my plan will have forever ruined your life, and made mine better.’

♥ 

When Othello says to Iago, “I am bound to thee forever” (3.3.212) he is showing his gratitude for Iago’s honesty. Shakespeare used this line to demonstrate how easily Iago manipulated Othello and how Othello readily believed Iago’s stories about Desdemona’s infidelity. Othello feels indebted to Iago for bringing the possible infidelity to his attention by warning Othello to “Look to your wife: observe her well with Cassio” (3.3.195). Because Iago warned Othello, Othello feels indebted to Iago for warning him. At the time Othello says these lines he is still not 100% convinced that he should believe Iago but he is still thankful to Iago.
            The last sentence of Act 3 Scene 3, “I am your own forever” (3.3.473) is spoken by Iago to Othello and seems to be a declaration of loyalty but is actually much more sinister. Othello had just stated to Iago, “Now art thou my lieutenant” (3.3.472) meaning that Iago was to hold the lieutenant position that Michael Cassio had held; the same position that had gotten Iago all in a snit in the first place. Shakespeare mimicked the same sentiment that Othello had said to Iago to show the reader how evil Iago was. Othello says the sentence out of gratitude and love for, what he considered, a dear friend; Iago says his sentiment almost as a warning to Othello that Iago will haunt him forever. Another possibility is that Iago says his line as a warning to Othello that what had transpired between them will permanently link the two men for the rest of their lives. Iago has agreed to kill Michael Cassio for Othello based solely on the fabricated information that Iago had provided to Othello. Either way the two sentences show the differences between the two characters. Othello says his line to Iago with sincerity and gratitude and Iago says his line to Othello was sarcasm and foreboding. Shakespeare had these characters say lines so similar to show the differences in the nature of the characters. 

S-Z  Why does Emilia, who knows her husband despises her, provide him with the accidentally-dropped handkerchief?


In Othello Act 3 Scene 3, we see Desdemona, Emilia, and Cassio all talking about how Desdemona will try and talk to Othello about having Cassio back. When Othello and Iago come in Cassio leaves and Othello asks if that was Cassio who was just here. From there Iago tells Othello that Cassio might be trying to get with Desdemona. This upsets Othello and when both Desdemona and Emilia come in to tell him he must leave for dinner. Othello says that his head is hurting and Desdemona tries to put her handkerchief on his forehead. However, he says that it is too small and it falls to the floor. Emilia is happy to see the handkerchief, “I am glad that I have found this napkin.” (3.3.288) Emilia is happy that she finally has the handkerchief so she can give it to Iago because he has asked her hundreds of times to get it and that she was happy that this is happening, now her husband will be happy that Emilia was able to give him what he wanted, “My wayward husband hath a hundred times/Wooed me to steal it…” (3.3.290-291). Even though she doesn’t know what he will do with the handkerchief, “And giv’t Iago. What he will do with it/Heaven knows, not I.” (3.3.295-296). When he comes back in she tells him that she has something for him. “Do not chide: I have a thing for you.” (3.3.299). When she tells Iago that she has the handkerchief, Iago the says “A good wench. Give it me.” (3.3.311).
From this it tells us that she wants to make her husband happy. He had asked her to take that handkerchief from Desdemona hundreds of times and Emilia never could, but the moment came when Emilia was able to take it, when Desdemona dropped it on the floor. Even though Emilia didn’t know what Iago was going to do with it… Or so we think. It seems like Emilia might know what is going on in some way, it also shows that maybe she resents Othello’s and Desdemona’s relationship because of how perfect it seems. The relationship between Iago and Emilia is not a good one and it looks like they don’t even love each other, or at least Iago not loving her. So she might be in on the plan to break up Othello and Desdemona. Emilia might even want to see Desdemona suffer. So even though Emilia says she doesn’t know what her husband will do with the handkerchief, I think that deep down she does know what Iago is doing or might be doing and she is willing to help.
Also another reason as to why Emilia gave Iago the handkerchief could also be that she just wants to make him happy. Maybe Emilia feels like if she doesn’t do this for her husband then their relationship will just get worse. Their relationship is not that great and maybe Emilia is trying to fix it by doing what her husband says in a way. At first she didn’t want to take the handkerchief because it seemed to be a favorite to Desdemona but when it is on the ground that is when Emilia thinks it would be perfect to take it and give it to Iago. Maybe, just maybe from this giving of the handkerchief will help somewhat fix their relationship. That is what also ties in to the paragraph before where Emilia might resent Desdemona and Othello and how perfect their relationship is.

                                                         ♥

In an important scene of Othello, Desdemona drops her handkerchief. Iago’s wife, Emilia, picks up the handkerchief and takes it to her husband. She says as she picks it up, “My wayward husband hath a hundred times/Wooed me to steal it…” (3.3.290-291). This explains to the audience why Emilia picked it up in the first place. There is no point in the play before this where the audience has any clue of Iago’s desire to have the handkerchief, so it is important that this was explained right away.
            However, when Emilia takes the handkerchief, it brings about a question in the audience’s minds. Iago treats Emilia poorly and it almost appears that he despises her. If this is true, why would Emilia want to help him? Before Emilia takes the handkerchief to Iago, she states, “What he will do with it/Heaven knows, not I./I nothing, but to please his fantasy” (3.3.295-297). Here, Emilia is stating that she does not know why he wants the handkerchief so badly, but because she is his submissive wife, she wants only to make Iago happy.
            Emilia had no idea that giving the handkerchief to Iago would eventually have an effect on so many people. She even asks Iago when she takes the handkerchief to him, “What will you do with’t, that you have been so earnst/To have me filch it?” (3.3.313-314). Iago, however, refuses to answer her question. He knows that she would never have given it to him had she known what would come from it.
            Another reason Emilia did not think twice about giving it to her husband was because she had a plan before he saw it. Originally, Emilia said that she was going to make a copy of the handkerchief. This way, Iago would have one like it and her friend, Desdemona, could still have the important token from Othello. But when Emilia finds Iago, she cannot contain her excitement and her desire to please her husband. Therefore, she hands off the only handkerchief to her husband. Although Iago is happy to have the handkerchief, the audience can even see in this scene between Iago and Emilia that he does not treat her lovingly at all. In line 300 of act 3, scene 3, Iago makes an extremely inappropriate joke to his wife and then in line 318, he bids her to leave him. Emilia has just pleased her husband but is left unsatisfied. Although the audience may never know the true meaning behind why Emilia gave Iago the handkerchief, the most obvious reasons would be that she did not know the whole effects and she simply wanted to please her husband.




Shakespeare didn’t offer much screen time to Emilia and when he did she rarely spoke, but every time she did voice her opinion, she made allusions to her marriage. This grants Emilia to become a round character instead of a flat one despite her inability to see from another person’s perspective. At first glance she appears to be innocent. Iago seems to be the devil behind her, orchestrating every action, but is Iago solely to blame for such crimes or is he just the catalyst who tempts the characters into fault and fault finding? Emilia had her own hidden vices, such as and infidelity. She schemes as heavily as Iago does which as much insight.
When Iago and Emilia first married, they seemed to love each other, but farther down the road Iago mistreated her and began sleeping with foreign woman. Emilia alludes to her crumpled up marriage when she questions Desdemona on these subjects
’Tis not a year or two shows us a man.
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food,
They eat us hungrily, and when they are full
They belch us. (3.4.120 -123)
And  “Say that they slack their duties, / And pour our treasures into foreign laps…” (4.3.98-99). Emilia fills empty and unfulfilled as Iago becomes emotionally abuse, calling her names and cheating on her. This emotion erodes her and to put herself back together she devises a plan to ruin Iago or at least put him in his place.
Emilia is granted revenge when she sleeps with Othello whom Iago hated. Iago hated Othello for assigning Cassio to lieutenant position despite Cassio’s lack of experience. Emilia taunts “Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know/ Their wives have sense like them” (4.3.104-105). Emilia is as mischievous in her ways as her husband. He might have ended with his schemes, but Emilia started them out.
Soon Emelia felt guilty after sleeping with him for Othello’s wife Desdemona was true and pure. She also grew partly jealous of Desdemona’s love for Othello. Emilia knew she could never love in such a way as her and seems destressed whenever Desdemona speaks of her love and purity. Desdemona’s kindness put a spell on her. She knew that Iago was planning on ruining Othello so she decided to play along, hoping that Desdemona would fall in love with whoever Iago was setting her up with, in this case was Cassio, so she would no longer be filled with guilt and her mistress Desdemona could be with a man whom her father would approve her marrying.
 This is why Emilia gave Iago the handkerchief, she thought that he would take revenge on Othello by persuading his wife to love someone else. She was wrong, instead Iago just made it appear that Desdemona was an adulteress. Emelia’s plan took a twisted turn when she sees Othello has slain his wife. What could she do but confess to the truth? The truth leads to her death where she is closer to her mistress and furthest from Iago’s cold hands. She is closer to purity than she was before and dies in peace.
Iago and Emilia were two halves of a whole. Iago even mentions Janus, a two faced god. “By Janus, I think no” (1.2.38).  Janus is Iago and Emilia. Iago and Othello’s relationship and Emilia and Desdemona’s relationship sit in parallel. Iago and Emilia are both manipulating Othello and Desdemona, but Desdemona does not fall for Emilia’s trickery, instead Emilia is changed her.

No comments:

Post a Comment