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How did Emilia finally stand up to Iago in Othello?Please provide a quote with an...

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readingismylife | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:09 AM via web

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How did Emilia finally stand up to Iago in Othello?

Please provide a quote with an explanation in your answer.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 8, 2012 at 1:40 AM (Answer #1)

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In the final scene (Act V, scene ii), after Othello kills Desdemona, Emilia begins putting together the pieces of Iago's evil plan throughout the play. She foreshadows what she has been putting together and is about to reveal in these words starting at line 223: 

Villainy, villainy, villainy! 
I think upon't, I think, I smell't, O villainy! 
I thought so then. I'll kill myself for grief:
O villainy, villainy!

This reveals that she knows he's been up to no good. But then, she tells everyone she is about to reveal the evil that he has been committing. She breaks her wedding promises of faithfulness in sacrifice for the greater good in line 255:

'Twill out, 'twill. I peace!
No, I will speak as liberal as the north.

She is going to tell the truth about what she knows starting in line 261:

O thou dull Moor! That handkerchief thou speak'st of 
I found by fortune and did give my husband; 
For often with a solemn earnestness, 
More than indeed belong'd to such a trifle,
He begg'd of me to steal it.

Othello believes her and runs at Iago to attack him. Unfortunately for Emilia, he gets away and actually kills her. Although she did the right thing morally, it certainly ended up hurting her in the end. 

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