Character Analysis: Importance of Emilia in Othello

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Why does Emilia play such a prominent role in the last acts?  What does she provide? Emilia resembles a typical Renaissance women till the 3rd act of the play. However, her characteristics shift significantly in the last two acts. She has a different opinion toward men than Desdemona. To her opinion men does not need a valid cause to be jealous as she say: "It is a monster/ Begot upon itself, born on itself" (3.4.162-163). Her understanding of men seems to be different compared to traditional women in that era. She believes in equal rights between men and women . She believes that if men allow themselves to cheat on their wives then they should expect their wives to be hostile towards them and seek revenge (4.3.93-103). The transformation in Emilia's character is even more pronounced when she clearly sees jealousy in Othello's attitude. She shows her loyalty to her mistress by speaking up in front of Othello when he was accusing Desdemona to adultery with Cassio. she finds herself guilty in being obedient to Iago when she realized Iago's wicked plan on using the handkerchief to show Desdemona a chaste. Emilia plays a crucial role in the last act because she is the only person who can prove Desdemona as innocent. Emilia sacrifices her life to defy Iago who arranged Desdemona's death as she embraces death by breaking her silence in telling Othello the truth about the handkerchief. she states that killing her would not do any good to Iago when he was trying to silence her by threatening her to death(5.2.195-196). Her role as being the outspoken character shapes the last few scenes of the play. Her opposition to silence and chastity challenges the social norms during the Renaissance. Her assertive tone in the last two acts of the play, certainly presents her as a strong-minded individual which reveals truth in defiance of social norms.
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