Thursday, May 23, 2019

Emilia & Documents Essay

genus Emilia is only a secondary character in the play unless her role is all-important(a) genius. Though she is wife of Iago, she is ignorant of the real nature of his plots and she even aids his designs without any aw areness of their consequences on one side. On the other side, she is coarse-minded, earthy simply devotedly attached to her mistress. So Shakespeare portrays her in a realistic light, attri exactlying to her strengths and weaknesses, combining in her character the qualities of loyalty and service, with a commitment also to the to a greater extent than materialistic side of human nature.Shakespeare also uses her as toll to carry out the malicious motives and evil designs of Iago. She also acts as a foil to Desdemona. Her being a companion to Desdemona enables her to reveal not only her own wide experience of the world but also to highlight Desdemonas innocence and idealism. The commonsensical reality of Emilia provides a refreshing contrast to Desdemonas unprac tical idealism. Emilia is a woman of the world and her understanding of the real nature of men and their affairs is more(prenominal) realistic and mature than that of Desdemona.In this respect she serves as a foil to throw into sharp relief the childlike nature of her mistress. For example, while Desdemona conceives that there are no women in the world who would play false to their husbands, Emilia knows that there are many such Yes a dozen and, as many the reward as would/ store the world they played for. (IV. iii. 82-83) She changes over the course of the play from a passive Elizabethan domestic woman to an active and dynamic character who fully endorses the chastity of her mistress and protests over the unfair and rude behavior of Othello toward her.She remains silent in the first half of the play like a typical Elizabethan woman who solemnly accepts all the pathos and miseries of life afflicted upon her by her husbands. Her very first dialogue in the play indicates the marr ied and domestic strife she was suffering from. Her response to Iagos comments I find it still, when I have list to sleep /Marry, before your ladyship, I grant, /She puts her tongue a little in her heart, /And chides with thinking. (II. i.891-894) She says, You have little cause to say so (II. i. 895). Adamson is of the view that She knows. . . . it is less painful to suffer his scornful abuse than to challenge and learn to change him (247). So her silence and so short a reply is tool to hide herself in her own cocoon and an agonizing acknowledgement of stuntedness in the domestic sphere. Her silence is due to the complexity of the situation in which she is entangled as Iagos wife and Desdemonas intimate.This produces in her paradoxical emotions close one or the other. The female connection between Desdemona and Emilia demonstrates a level of personal intimacy that is free of the professional distinctions in the male relationships, but is complicated by class distinctions and co mpromised by Emilias divided loyalty as Iagos wife and Desdemonas serving lady (Nostbakken 21). So Iago exploits this role of Emilia. In the first place it is she who provides Iago with the handkerchief which he puts to such a terrible use.But she should be blamed for the tragedy as she makes matters more complicated when she professes ignorance as Desdemona asks her whether she knows where she could have dropped her handkerchief. In both these instances, Emilia is culpable, but it may be said in her defense that she is quite unaware of committing anything more than a minor violation of truth. So her silence is not a criminal silence and audience understands it that it is due to her subservience to tender norms that force her to turn out more as Iagos wife than Desdemonas maid.Whenever she becomes more vocal, it is owed to her love for her mistress. Toward the end of the play she emerges as a changed individual who has broken down the shackles of conventionalities, social compulsi on and accepted behaviors. Her emotional attachment to Desdemona overpowers her alter in the play. Emilias stout defense of Desdemona proves futile because Othello decides to regard her as Desdemonas bawd. However, Emilia has other functions in the play.At the death of Desdemona she felt herself very much grief stricken Villainy, villainy, villainy /I think upont I think smellt O villainy /I thought so then I ll kill myself for grief/ O villainy, villainy (V. ii. 191-194) When she once realizes that her husband used the handkerchief to implicate her mistress, she condemns and exposes him without fear although she loses her life in doing so Good gentleman, let me have leave to speak,/Tis proper I obey him, but not now/ Perchance, Iago.I will neer go home. (V. ii. 196-198) M. R. Ridley believes that in all the plays there is nothing more characteristic of Shakespeare than the way in which Desdemonas death kindles in her (Emilia) a bright flame of self-forgetful courage it is not ju st that she faces the threats of both Othello and her husband(Iago), but rather that she neglects them, brushes them aside as irrelevant trivialities. (46)Emilia may be said to represent the ordinary people who commonly figure in Shakespeare, people who are not inordinately virtuous in daily life, but who are gifted with a reasonable perceptiveness and commonsense and are capable of heroism in propagation of crisis. Her complete transformation comes with the resolution to reveal the truth when she says Twill out, twill out I peace /No, I will speak as destitute as the north (V. ii. 3561-62)And her disclosure O thou dull Moorthat handkerchief thou speakst of /I found by fortune and did legislate my husband(V. ii. 3570-71) A. C. Bradley remarks about this transformation Till close to the end she frequently sets ones teeth on edge and at the end one is ready to worship her (p. 205). The only character to perform a complete transformation of character over the course of Othellos act ion, Emilia progresses rapidly from her archeozoic role as coarse and subservient foil) to Iago(as depicted earlier) into a resolute and effective defender of Desdemonas virtue.Works CitedAdamson, Jane. Othello as tragedy some problems of apprehension and feeling. Cambridge Cambridge UP, 1980 Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean tragedy lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. London Macmillan. 1971 Nostbakken, Faith. Understanding Othello, A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, CT Greenwood Press, 2000. Ridley, M. R. Othello. Cambridge Harvard University Press. 1958.

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