Is Emilia somewhat responsible for the tragic ending of the play? I'm trying to build this as an argument. I've got the bit about Emilia taking the handkerchief and then later when witnessing the...

Is Emilia somewhat responsible for the tragic ending of the play?

I'm trying to build this as an argument.

I've got the bit about Emilia taking the handkerchief and then later when witnessing the argument between Desdemona and Othello over the handkerchief, where she does not confess to having it. I also have a couple of critic responses and a point about how Emilia may have thought she hadn't done anything wrong ("I do think it is their husbands' faults, If wives do fall"). 

Has anyone got any ideas or any way of helping? I got my first draft back and it was quite bad, so I need all the help I can get :P Thank you :)

1 Answer | Add Yours

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You seem to have sufficiently covered Emilia's responsibilities for the murder of Desdemona. However, you might consider discussing how she could have been responsible for Othello's subsequent suicide. She is not terribly eloquent until after she discovers that Othello has killed Desdemona. Then she becomes voluble and eloquent in defending her dead mistress, proving her innocence, reminding Othello of his love for her and hers for him, saying everything possible to remind him of his guilt, his gullibility, and his irretrievable loss. This tirade begins with the following dialogue in Act 5, Scene 2:

OTHELLO

She's like a liar gone to burning hell!

'Twas I that killed her.

EMILIA

O, the more angel she,

And you the blacker devil!

OTHELLO

She turned to folly, and she was a whore.

EMILIA

Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil.

OTHELLO

She was false as water.

EMILIA

Thou art rash as fire to say

That she was false. O, she was heavenly true!

Othello felt bad enough even before he killed his wife. He feels much worse afterward. Then Emilia relentlessly abuses him verbally, even when he threatens to kill her if she won't shut up. Then she exposes Iago's villainy to give the final proof that Othello killed a wife who was totally pure and innocent.

Emilia plays an essential part in the last scene of the play. It is in her dialogue with Othello after he has murdered Desdemona that Emilia contributes the most to the tragic ending. After all, this is not Desdemona's tragedy but Othello's, since the play is about Othello, the Moor of Venice. You could strengthen the conclusion of your paper by quoting Emilia verbatim and explaining how her words are torturing Othello and possibly helping to motivate him to commit suicide.

Emilia was an innocent victim of Iago. It would be much harder to show her as being responsible for Desdemona's death than to show her responsibility for Othello's suicide.

 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,912 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question