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In Othello, why did Emilia give the handkerchief?

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vannahdunn1 | Student, Grade 11

Posted October 30, 2008 at 4:50 AM via web

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In Othello, why did Emilia give the handkerchief?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 1, 2008 at 12:29 AM (Answer #2)

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Emilia gave the handkerchief to Iago for the simplest of reasons: she didn't realize how important it was going to be, and he was her husband (and she wanted to please him). However, this little piece of cloth became very important. Othello had originally given the handkerchief to Desdemona. Iago convinces Othello that Cassio gave it to Bianca, which convinces him that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. When the handkerchief's role in things is revealed in the final act, Emilia realizes all the manipulation Iago's done, and what a monster she's married to.

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shah119 | Student, Grade 11

Posted December 31, 2009 at 7:56 AM (Answer #1)

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Many people would assume that it was only because Emilia was ignorant of its significance, but it is very possible that she realised what she was doing. Subconciously, she must have resented Desdemona's relationship with Othello becasue of how perfect it was. Her relationship with her husband is far from loving and her many strained years as a wife has made her cynical. She resents Desdemoan for her naive perception of marriage and love, thus she may have given the handkerchief to her husband to see Desdemona suffer and understand the true nature of men, which she does, ironically.

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