Desdemona and Emilia: Opposites of the Spectrum

Decent Essays
In the Shakespearian play, Othello, the Moor of Venice, Desdemona is the daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio and is married to the heroic Othello. Her father believes that Othello has used witchcraft to captivate Desdemona, but she explains that her love for him is genuine. Emilia is Desdemona's attendant and married to Iago. She cherishes Desdemona deeply, but is constantly suspicious of her husband. Although Desdemona and Emilia both desire to please their husbands and gain acceptance, their opinions on love and faithfulness in marriage are strikingly different. The most important similarity between Desdemona and Emilia is their constant pursuit to please their husbands. Even though Emilia believes it is wrong to steal from Desdemona, she takes her handkerchief because Iago has continually asked her to do so. By doing this, "she unknowingly helps Iago's plans by securing Desdemona's handkerchief" (Bloom 27). To prove her desire to please Iago, she says "I nothing know, but for his fantasy" (3. 3. 300). If Emilia had not followed Iago's commands to steal the handkerchief, then there would be no evidence to accuse Desdemona of sleeping with Cassio and Othello would not have pursued the accusation. Her loyalty for Iago outweighs her friendship to Desdemona. In order to please Othello, Desdemona constantly reassures him about the false claims surrounding her adultery. She consistently repeats her innocence throughout the entire play to him, sometimes, to the extent
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