2002

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2164  Wednesday, 30 October 2002

From:           Alison Symons <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 29 Oct 2002 13:51:09 -0400
Subject:        Emilia's Allegiance to Desdemona

I've been puzzling recently over Emilia's loyalties in "Othello," and
would appreciate some input. It is clear that she loves her mistress,
Desdemona, but in Act 3, Scene 3, her loyalties seem divided. When
Desdemona drops her handkerchief, Emilia chooses not to return it to
her, but to give it to her "wayward husband" Iago. Are Emilia's ties to
Iago simply that of a obedient wife? But why is she obedient to someone
whose treachery she knows about? It has been suggested to me that Emilia
is interested in destroying Othello and Desdemona's marriage, but I find
this unlikely since Emilia loves Desdemona so deeply and cares about her
happiness. I am interested in hearing anyone's thoughts on this subject.

Thanks!

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