Emalia-Desdemona Relationships In Shakespeare's Othello '

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The Emalia-Desdemona relationship is an interesting and complicated one. At first glance, it might seem that Emalia serves as the jaded foil to Desdemona’s innocent naivety about love. However, a closer, sympathetic look at Emalia shows she has plenty of reasons to be as hardened as she has become. The role of Iago’s wife can’t be an easy one, and he is usually too concerned with revenge to pay much attention to her. He’s arguably one of the cruelest Shakespearean villains, and Emalia is just trying to survive unscathed. Desdemona, a privileged girl from a genteel family, is used to skipping through life without a bump. Consumed with idealistic love and adventure, she does not understand how much danger she is in with the brooding Othello. Emalia and the younger Desdemona form an unlikely friendship. Initially, Emalia is Desdemona’s maid, but they grow closer as they bond over husband woes. Their relationship helps…show more content…
Desdemona is incredulous that anyone would actually cheat on a spouse. Her naivety becomes evident as she timidly avoids more graphic phrases. Emalia explains many people do, to Desdemona’s surprise. The fact that Desdemona is so loving towards Othello makes her death more tragic. She wants to follow his every order. “It was his bidding/Therefore, good Emilia/Give me my nightly wearing, and adieu./We must not now displease him” (4.3.5) Emalia wishes aloud that Desdemona had never met Othello, as it pains her to see her sweet friend mistreated. Desdemona replies “So would not I. My love doth so approve him/That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns.” (4.3.20) While Emalia is willing to be disloyal to Iago (and it is implied she has) Desdemona is unwilling to break holy matrimony. Both women are mistreated by their spouses, but each have a different approach to their
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