How does Emilia justify the idea of a woman’s unfaithfulness in a marriage in "Othello"?

Expert Answers
malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 4.3, Desdemona asks Emilia if there are truly women in the world who would abuse their husbands by being unfaithful to them.  Emilia says that there are, and that "for the whole world," she could understand why women chose to do that.  In other words, if it got her husband a crown and a throne of his own, then she would do this awful thing.

Later in this scene, though, Emilia says that it's the fault of the husbands that wives cuckold them:

"But I do think it is their husbands' faults
If wives do fall. Say that they slack their duties
And pour out treasures into foreign laps,
Or else break out in peevish jealousies,
Throwing restraint upon us? Or say they strike us,
Or scant our former having in despite?
Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,
Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know
Their wives have sense like them. They see, and smell,
And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
As husbands have."

She says that husbands are abusive and neglectful of their wives, which leads women into adultery.

Check the links below for more information!  Good luck!