What is being said in the following quotes from act 4, scene 3 in Othello, and why is it significant?

Why the wrong is but a wrong i' the world: andhaving the world for your labour, tis a wrong in yourown world, and you might quickly make it right.

DESDEMONA

I do not think there is any such woman.

EMILIA

Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage as wouldstore the world they played for.But I do think it is their husbands' faultsIf wives do fall: say that they slack their duties,And pour our 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 knowTheir wives have sense like them: they see and smellAnd have their palates both for sweet and sour,As husbands have. What is it that they doWhen they change us for others? Is it sport?I think it is: and doth affection breed it?I think it doth: is't frailty that thus errs?It is so too: and have not we affections,Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?Then let them use us well: else let them know,The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

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Emilia and Desdemona are cast as foils to each other in this play, with Emilia the wise woman of the world and Desdemona her naive protege, in a way, although Emilia is Desdemona's servant. In this passage, Emilia is responding to Desdemona's assertion that surely no woman could betray her husband. Emilia tells Desdemona that plenty of women do, but that there is a very good reason for this—it is simply "a wrong i' the world," or the way things are. When women betray their husbands, Emilia says, it is the fault of the husband himself—if women "fall," it is surely because their husbands "strike" them or are filled with "peevish jealousies." More importantly, she describes the behavior of men in committing adultery as being a "sport" for them based on the same frailties that women have.

What Emilia is recommending here, then, is that a woman should always try to make her husband recognize that she is just as much of a person as he is. If a husband does not "use" his wife "well," it is perfectly valid for her to let him know that she will not stand for it. Any "ills" she might commit are born out of the ills he himself has committed.

This is an important passage for several reasons. First, it foreshadows what will later happen to Desdemona—when she "falls," it is entirely because of what her husband has done to her, his jealousies unfounded in that case. But moreover, it also explains how and why Emilia is able to reveal Iago's machinations at the end of the play. She is loyal to him, but only to a point. She also has respect for herself. It is because Iago has himself committed these terrible deeds that Emilia unmasks him: she "betrays" him, but she seeks to right the world around her, knowing that Iago's own "ills" have given her cause to sin against him in that way, by telling a truth about him.

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In Othello, Desdemona has seen a dramatic change in Othello which she cannot understand. Othello has been so influenced by Iago who he thinks is a "man of honesty and trust"(I.iii.284), as to doubt Desdemona's fidelity. Desdemona, in her innocence, even wonders if there are women who would "do such a deed for all the world."(Iv.iii.63) Emilia stresses that, if her actions could make her husband "a monarch," then even she would consider it. Emilia explains to Desdemona that there are, indeed, women who would be unfaithful but that, she believes "it is their husbands' faults"(84) as they become jealous or place unreasonable boundaries on their wives who, in turn, will have "some revenge."(91) Emilia continues to explain that men act as if it is a "sport" to treat their wives poorly and that it reveals their weakness. Women also have the same desires and "frailty" and they may behave inappropriately because their husbands' "ills instruct us so."(101)

The significance of the discussion between Desdemona and Emilia reveals that even Emilia is being usurped by Iago. Desdemona's innocence is intensified and the audience can understand the influence of Iago over everyone and how they all remain fooled by his appearance of loyalty even though he has admitted that "I am not what I am."(I.i.66) Ultimately, the women will suffer at the hands of their husbands and the element of truth makes the outcome even more tragic. 

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