Iago's Loyalty In Othello

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At the beginning of William Shakespeare’s Othello, Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant, remains blindly loyal to her husband. Emilia demonstrates her blind loyalty when she steals Desdemona’s handkerchief for Iago, stating that she is “nothing but to please his fancy” (3.3.343). However, by the end of the play, she comes to realize the dark truths about her husband and reveals them. Unlike the other characters in the play, including Iago, Othello, and even Desdemona, Emilia is driven by honesty and logic, rather than passion or jealousy. Her ability to think logically eventually causes her to abandon her loyalty to Iago and pursue of truth and justice. Her loyalties switch from Iago to Desdemona, whom Emilia knows has remained faithful…show more content…
Iago and Desdemona are stark contrasts to one another, acting as opposing forces in Emilia’s life. Iago consistently lies in order to further his own agenda and manipulates many of the characters in the play. Iago’s hatred for Othello motivates him and Othello compares him to the “devil” (5.2.337). On the other hand, Desdemona’s love for Othello motivates her to leave her father, Brabantio, and marry Othello. Desdemona remains honest and faithful to Othello throughout the play and Emilia calls her an “angel” (5.2.161). This contrast is further exemplified by their opposing opinions on women. Iago is misogynistic, describing women as “pictures out of doors...and huswives in your bed” (2.1.122-125). Whereas Desdemona believes all women are pure and cannot fathom that any women would commit adultery: “That there be women do abuse their husbands/In such gross kind?” (4.3.68-69). Emilia, however, believes in the equality of genders, “wives have sense like [men]. They see, and smell” (4.3.105-106), acting as a middle ground between the idyllic views of Desdemona and the misogynistic ones of Iago. The men, including Iago, in the patriarchal society in which she lives in do not reflect her ideals, and thus causes her to speak disparagingly of men: “They are all but stomachs, and we all but food” (3.4.121). While Iago embodies evil and deception, Desdemona represents benevolence and truth. When Emilia begins to reveal the dark truths about Iago, he demands her to be silent. She defies him, demonstrating that she is no longer loyal to him: “I will not charm my tongue. I am bound to speak.” (5.2.220). Additionally, Emilia vehemently defends Desdemona integrity to Othello: “O, she was heavenly true!” (5.2.166). Emilia’s change in allegiance from Iago to Desdemona highlights not only her loyalty to Desdemona but also to goodness and
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