Emilia Othello Essay Assignment

According to a most reliable text, The Practical Writer, the Introduction of an essay should include the following:

  1. A motivator, or hook, to interest the reader (This is the quotation)
  2. The thesis statement and a blueprint for the essay (The thesis is a general statement that connects to the quote you have chosen and three main points that you will use to prove this general statement.)

Put your thesis statement last in this introductory paragraph. So, switch sentences, having this sentence last:

Othello by William Shakespeare was a play filled with tension between knowledge, ignorance, and lies.

Your 3 points in the thesis statement--that the play is filled with tension from knowledge, close-mindedness, and lies--will generate the topic sentences for the body paragraphs of the essay.

Re:  knowledge - Iago is the character who is the most knowledgeable of what is taking place since he generates much of the action.
Re: ignorance - Othello, Roderigo, Cassio, and Desmonda are all ignorant of much of what occurs around them. Only Iago seems to be in control of information, information that he manufactures in order to manipulate others.
Re: lies - Iago is the only main character who is aware of everything. He exploits the others such as Cassio, who he gets drunk and sends off to fight Roderigo. 

Upon further examination of your question, perhaps the "it" that you have written at the end of these lines does not just refer to the introductory paragraph ( which is the antecedent of it), but, rather to the entire essay.

(By the way, you may want to correct the thesis statement by changing was to is and between to among since the word between is only used with two elements or people)

Here, then, are some ideas and passages you can use for support:

From the beginning Iago, Shakespeare's greatest villain, preys upon the ignorance of the other characters in his frequently motiveless duplicity. Deception, of course, is based upon the ignorance of others. Here are some examples:

  • Iago's duplicity keeps the other's from knowing who is truly is; in fact, he admits to generating their ignorance of him in Act I: "I am not what I am" (1.1.65) Later he remarks about Othello, "

The Moor is of a free and open anture
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so (1.3.379-380)

  • Iago convinces Othello of Desmonda's infidelity by deceiving him about the handkerchief.
  • Iago tells Roderigo if he gives him money--"Put money in thy purse"(1.3.333)--he (Iago) will see to it that Desdemonda is won over to Roderigo. Instead, he preys upon Roderigo's ignorance and simply steals from him.
  • Iago manipulates his wife Emilia into stealing the handkerchief given to Desdemonda in the deceptive hope that Iago encourages. For, Emilia believes that Iago will appreciate her act. "I nothing but to please his fantasy," she says as she steals the handkerchief (3.3.343).

The Character of Emilia in Othello

  • Length: 627 words (1.8 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
The Character of Emilia in Othello  

The definition of Renaissance women is fundamentally important in William Shakespeare's play Othello. One of the major causes of Othello's tragedy is his belief that Desdemona is not chaste. According to the men of the Renaissance, chastity, silence, and obedience are three attributes that define Renaissance women. Although Othello takes place during the Renaissance, the women in the play, Bianca, Desdemona and Emilia, defy traditional norms by lacking at least one of the major attributes defining women; Bianca's lack of chastity is clearly displayed when she unlawfully sleeps with Cassio; Desdemona's lack of silence is clearly displayed when she constantly urges Othello to give Cassio's position back. However, in the last two acts, Emilia displays the strongest challenge to the definition of Renaissance women as silent, chaste, and obedient, mainly to defend Desdemona.

First, in order to defend Desdemona's chastity, Emilia challenges the societal norm of silence. Recall the incident when Othello calls Desdemona a "whore" for cheating. In response, Emilia protests loudly against Othello and attempts to disprove his belief that Desdemona is not chaste: "A halter pardon him [Othello]! And hell gnaw his bones! / Why should he call her [Desdemona] whore? (4.2. 143,144). Instead of Emilia conforming to the attribute of Renaissance women as silent, she condemns Othello for his false accusations against her mistress, Desdemona. Later in the play, after finding Desdemona killed, Emilia challenges silence again: "As ignorant as dirt! Thou hast done a deed-... / The Moor hath killed my mistress!" (5.2. 171,174). Although Othello tells Emilia that it would be "best" for her to remain silent, she ignores his request and ridicules him for killing "sweet" Desdemona (5.2. 169).

Secondly, Emilia mentally challenges the social norm of chastity by condoning women that deceive their husbands. Although Emilia does not explicitly state whether she has ever cheated, she does say that she would not cheat for small, material wealth, but any woman would cheat in order to make her husband king: "Who would not make her husband a cuckold to make him a monarch? (4.3. 77). Furthermore, Emilia explains that the reason women cheat is because their husbands "slack their duties" and "break out into peevish jealousies (4.3. 87, 89). In essence, Emilia accepts the "abuse" of men by women because she feels that it is the husband's flaws that evoke the women to cheat.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Character of Emilia in Othello." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Mar 2018

LengthColor Rating 
Free Othello Essays: The Character of Emilia - The Character of Emilia in Othello   Emilia is one of the few straightforward people in the Shakespeare's Othello.  Emilia is taciturn.  When we first meet her in Cyprus, after his throwaway condescending remark about suffering her tongue, and Desdemona's rejoinder that "she has no speech", Iago has to admit that "she puts her tongue a little in her heart and chides with thinking". In the scene of light hearted banter that follows Emilia manages to utter two words.  She really only finds her voice when fired by indignation as when Iago confirms that Desdemona has been called a whore, and even then much of her utterances or short phrases.  Even when she really gets going, lambasting Othel...   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]778 words
(2.2 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Emilia, A Heroine of Shakespeare's Othello Essay - Emilia, A Heroine of Shakespeare's Othello    Shakespeare, in his tragedy Othello, presents a minor character who does great things in the final act. Her character is deserving of analysis. Kenneth Muir, in the Introduction to William Shakespeare: Othello,  explains the motivation of Emilia through most of the play: Emilia’s character, too, is determined by the plot. In the source, the villain’s wife is privy to the nefarious designs. Shakespeare wisely makes her, like the other characters, ignorant of Iago’s character....   [tags: Othello essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1289 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
The Importance of Emilia in Shakespeare's Othello Essay - The Importance of Emilia in Shakespeare's Othello In Othello the Moor, Shakespeare combines destiny with a fatal character flaw and that flaw is jealousy.  Shakespeare's tragedy allows one character to hold the key to the entire web he has spun and that character is Emilia. Emilia is the lone character who garners the knowledge to all circumstances of the events surrounding the characters in Othello the Moor.  Although other characters in the play are privy to certain details of the unfolding events, Emilia is the character that uses this knowledge to the benefit of the play.  Emilia's character is minor yet necessary.  Without her character the play would have no means of unraveling the c...   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]
:: 1 Works Cited
1963 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Othello: Emilia’s Metamorphosis Essay - Othello: Emilia’s Metamorphosis        In his tragic play Othello, Shakespeare endows the minor character Emilia with some important functions. Her character, which changes dramatically in several ways toward the finale of the play, is the topic of this essay.   A.C. Bradley, in his book of literary criticism, Shakespearean Tragedy, defines the character of the ancient’s wife:   Few of Shakespeare’s minor characters are more distinct than Emilia, and towards few do our feelings change so much within the course of the play....   [tags: Othello essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1193 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
The Character Desdemona and the Role of Women Depicted in Shakespeare's Othello - The society in which Othello takes place is a patriarchal one, where men had complete control over women. They were seen as possessions rather than being just as equally human and capable of duties performed by men. All women of the Elizabethan were to obey all men, fathers, brothers, husbands, etc. Which leads me to the most reliable and trustworthy character of Desdemona, whom goes through many trials just to satisfy her love. Shakespeare brings the thought of Desdemona into the play by Barbantio, her father, “It is too true an evil....   [tags: othello]815 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
The Evil Character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay - Iago is a complex character that takes evil to a whole new level in the 1600’s and plays a key role in this tale. Iago’s main goal is to get Othello and Cassio out of the army, but in the end fails to ruin Cassio’s life, only Othello’s. He uses many characters to his advantage, realizing how trustworthy and oblivious these people are. Iago cannot be relied on and has many masks, behind which he hides. He has many disguises and secrets that he hides from everyone and his acting skills come in handy when he works to destroy the happiness that many people have in this story....   [tags: othello]619 words
(1.8 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
Loyalty and Ignorance of Emilia In Shakespeare's Othello Essay - Emilia is a minor but necessary character in Shakespeare’s Othello. She battles playing the role of a loyal wife and caretaker, while possessing inner strength to rebel against society and man’s invisible reign on woman. Emilia is a wife to Iago, a caretaker to Desdemona but most importantly she is a lady of potency and character. Through these qualities Emilia unwillingly follows her wifely obligations to Iago, but additionally develops a strong relationship with Desdemona. This connection between the two women, allows Emilia to hold Shakespeare’s key to the entire tragic plot....   [tags: essays research papers]1427 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
The Role of the Female Characters in Shakespeare’s Othello Essay - In Shakespeare’s Othello, we the audience are introduced to several characters throughout the course of the play, three of which are female. These characters are Desdemona, wife to Othello, Emilia, wife to Iago and Bianca, Casio’s lover. Shakespeare has chosen to present the reader with only three female characters for specific reasons, as we are able to compare and contrast and see the differences in females in a male dominated society. It also helps us the audience to see how different woman, in different social classes would behave in 16th century Venetian time....   [tags: Shakespeare, Othello]1612 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Othello: Emilia the Grander one Essay - “Othello,” the tragic play written by William Shakespeare in 1601 has given a new outlook to women’s right during the time period when they had no voice to call their own. A tragic play about a jealous and manipulative man named Iago who does everything in his power to pursue and destroy the life of the protagonist, Othello. In the belief that Othello had wrongfully promoted someone else to the position that he claims to be rightfully his. In this play, unsure if this was the intention of Shakespeare, but Shakespeare’s two main female characters each embodies a completely different bias about women and feminism during the Elizabethan time period....   [tags: English literature, Shakespeare]
:: 3 Works Cited
1418 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Role of Women in Othello Essay - Role of Women in Othello         In William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello, the wife of the protagonist, Desdemona, is the main female character. Secondly, there is the ancient’s wife, Emilia, who is morally ambivalent. Thirdly, there is the girlfriend of Michael Cassio, Bianca, who makes her appearance later in the drama. This essay will analyze the roles of these three women.   At the outset of the play Iago persuades the rejected suitor of Desdemona, Roderigo, to accompany him to the home of Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, in the middle of the night....   [tags: Othello essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1748 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Emilia         Othello         Play Othello         Desdemona         Bianca         Cassio         Accusations         Norm         Pardon         Moor        

Finally, Emilia challenges obedience when she disobeys Iago in order to defend Desdemona. After Desdemona is killed, Othello speaks of Desdemona's unfaithfulness and of the symbolic handkerchief that she supposedly gave to Cassio: "With that recognizance and pledge of love / which I first gave her. I saw it in his hand (5.2. 221,222). Emilia responds by saying:

O thou dull Moor! That handkerchief thou speak'st of

I found by fortune and did give my husband;

For often, with a solemn earnestness,

More than indeed belonged to such a trifle,

He begged of me to steal 't. (5.2. 232-236)

Against Iago's wishes, Emilia tells Othello that Iago asked her to steal the handkerchief. As a result of disobeying Iago in order to defend Desdemona, Emilia is killed.

Although Emilia lacks the attributes that define Renaissance women, she clearly displays the characteristics of a strong-minded individual. Instead of conforming with social norms, Emilia follows her beliefs that Desdemona is chaste and that some women are not chaste because their husbands cause them to "fall." Emilia may not have been considered a woman during the Renaissance; however, today, many people admire a woman that exemplifies the strength and courage of Emilia.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. 1153-1255.

0 thoughts on “Emilia Othello Essay Assignment”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *