Emilia’s Perspective on Betrayal in Relationships in Shakespeare’s Othello

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Emilia’s Perspective on Betrayal in Relationships in Shakespeare’s Othello

In Othello, Act IV, scene ii and iii, Emilia, Iago’s wife, reveals her opinion about relationships to the reader as she attempts to comfort Desdemona. She indefinitely believes that many men, as well as women, are frequently guilty of deception and betrayal of their partner. By this part of the play, Othello’s suspicions of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness have greatly increased, and he begins to accuse her of cheating on him. When Desdemona persistently denies his accusations, Othello becomes enraged. He sarcastically asks for her pardon and claims that he took her to be the “cunning whore of Venice” (Act IV, scene ii, line 88). Desdemona is heartbroken by her
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Emilia responds, “The world’s a huge thing; it is a great price for s small vice” (Act IV, scene iii, lines 70-71). Emilia is clearly annoyed that Othello called Desdemona a whore and fervently believes that she can do better.

Therefore, Emilia strongly expresses a contemporary view about the sexes in her opinion on betrayal. She argues that both men and women are unfaithful because they are in love with another person, they can not resist temptation, and they simply have a desire for entertainment. Emilia proposes the question, “What is it that they do when they change us for others? Is it sport? I think it is” (Act IV, scene iii, lines 99-100). This is how couples behave today as well. Both men and women are unfaithful in relationships. Both men and women leave their partner either because of love with another person, temptation, or a desire for “sport”. As a result of this behavior, there are more and more divorces every year. There are talk shows on television that help couples with their marriage issues and reality shows that consist of unfaithful spouses. Also, there are a variety of shows that portray cheating between couples as acceptable, all proof that disloyalty is a common problem among many couples today.

In Emilia’s last speech to Desdemona in Act IV, she implies that in most cases, both the man and the woman are responsible for marriage trouble. She tells Desdemona that, “Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know their
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