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Emilia is an important character in the tragedy. Othello by William Shakespeare. She plays a vital role in the development of the plot of the tragedy. She is one of those ordinary people whom Shakespeare was fond of introducing. Emilia is the wife of lago and companion to Desdemona. She obviously serves as a foil character to Desdemona. She is a worldly woman having adequate knowledge of human beings and their nature. She is perfectly realistic. Her analysis of the jealous mind is realistic too. She says jealous is self-generated and without any external origin.


Emilia has enough knowledge of the world and enough common sense to understand that some rogue has been at work against Desdemona. She does not have insight enough to perceive, or even to suspect, that her own husband is the culprit. She gave him the handkerchief but it could not have occurred to her what evil use he would make of it. Nor is it possible for her to believe that her husband it was who slandered Desdemona. When told about it by Othello, she is amazed and stunned.

Emilia nowhere shows any sign of having a bad heart; but she is common, sometimes vulgar in minor matters almost unscrupulous, blunt in perception and feeling, and quite devoid of imagination. There is a certain coarseness about her which is seen not only in her repeating Othello's words "whore" and "strumpet" without any hesitation but also in her conversation with Desdemona about the infidelity of wives. Nor should we forget that lago suspects her of having slept with both Othello and Cassio. 

There is no doubt that Emilia is a loyal and devoted to Desdemona. If she had the least notion of her husband's intentions, she would never have given him the handkerchief. As far as she is concerned, she gives him the handkerchief just to satisfy his fancy. She knows that Desdemona loves the token intensely, but the desire to please lago's fancy is at the moment uppermost in her mind. She feels very uneasy when Othello speaks to Desdemona in a taunting manner about the loss of the handkerchief. She feels really distressed when Othello uses such terms as "whore" and "strumpet" for Desdemona.

ln estimation, we may add that the role of Emilia is dramatic functional. She tells to Othello what was most needed to be told. She tells him a devil in killing Desdemona. He is never worthy of her. He is a gull and as ignorant as dirt in the matter of his divine Desdemona's innocence. Thus Emilia is a vital character in the tragedy, Othello. Her role is undoubtedly remarkable. She helps to develop the plot of the tragedy.

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