How accurate is Emila's claim of what she thinks has happened in Shakespeare's Othello?

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While Emilia is quite accurate in figuring out what is happening, she does not have all of the pieces of the puzzle in place. More experienced than Desdemona, Emilia suspects that Othello’s mind has been brainwashed, yet she is not able to prevent the tragic results.

In act 3, scene 4, she understands that Othello is acting like a jealous man when he questions Desdemona and demands the handkerchief. Although she does not know why he behaves this way, Emilia recognizes the signs of jealousy. She tells her innocent friend that men are “But jealous for they’re jealous. It is a monster/ Begot upon itself, born on itself.” She warns that jealousy is a natural state ,and once it begins, it feeds itself so that it grows uncontrollably.

Emilia notices a drastic change in Othello in act 4, scene 2, when he speaks harshly to his wife. Emilia tells Iago, “my lord hath so bewhored her” to call her by such horrible words. Emilia seems to understand what is happening, although she does not know that her own husband is to blame. She predicts, “I will be hanged if some eternal villain ... to get some office,/ Have not devised this slander.”

It is true that Iago has devised this elaborate, demonic scheme because he is angry at being overlooked for a promotion. When Othello chose Cassio as his lieutenant, Iago started a chain of events that led to this point—Desdemona’s pure name is slandered by her own husband. Othello truly believes that his wife is unfaithful, all because of the villain Iago. Emilia’s words could not be truer.

When Iago denies that Emilia’s suspicions are correct, she further predicts, “The Moor’s abused by some most villainous knave.” Little does she know that the knave is her own manipulative husband who cares only about his own revenge and nothing about the lives he is destroying. Sadly, Emilia is blinded to that fact, so the tragic chain of events unfolds.

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