Towards the ends of Othello both Emilia and Desdemona are confirmed as tragic heroines. Throughout the play, Emilia is beaten down by Iago, as a result of the gender inequality of the time and her low status as a woman. In the last scene though, she finally breaks through this and finds her voice and stands up to patriarchal domination, which leads her to her death, confirming her to be a tragic heroine. Differently, Desdemona starts off as being independent; standing up against her father by marrying Othello against his will. But throughout the play she becomes innocently complicit and naïve to Iago’s scheming and in addition, her marriage encourages her to behave as a woman of the time should and be submissive to Othello. Therefore, despite her innocence at the end of the play, she succumbs in tragic obedience.
The character Emilia’s perepeteia during Othello is in giving the handkerchief to Iago during the middle of act three. During this scene she shows herself as the typical Venetian woman when she says ‘what will you give me now for that same handkerchief? Highlighting, that her loyalties to her husband come before her loyalties to Desdemona. Furthermore later on in the scene when telling the character Iago of the handkerchief ‘that which so often you bid me to steal’ this is the audience’s first hint of Iago letting someone in on his plan. Which is also the audiences’ first hint that Iago has Emilia fooled, as similar to the character Roderigo he’s managed to fool her into following his plan, with no clue of what he is intending to do/cause which later when Roderigo is killed my Iago foreshadows Emilia’s impending doom. This is reinforced by ‘if it be not for some purpose of import, give’t me again. Poor lady, she’ll run mad when she lack it’. As she begins to question Iago’s intentions it foreshadows to the audience that Emilia will stand up to Iago by the end of the play. And realises the pain this will cause Desdemona she regrets what she has...
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