07 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: The Role Emilia Character Played in The Play Othello by William Shakespaeare

The role that Emilia played in Othello as created by William Shakespeare is that of the wife of Lago that plotted to sow discord between husband and wife Othello and Desdemona. The main part of her participation was to steal the handkerchief of Desdemona in order to use as a convincing proof of her false infidelity against her husband Othello. The complicated part of the story is that Emilia was completely innocent at first as the motives of her husband that ordered her to steal the handkerchief in the first place. It was only her husband that had evil schemes inĀ  place for Desdemona and her husband. Lago made use of Cassio to make Othello suspect that his wife had been unfaithful to him. It was quite easy for lago to make Othello believe his lies as the character of Othello is highly sensitive to attacks on his pride and dignity. All it took to make Othello believe was the handkerchief that Lago’s wife stole from her mistress. This role of Emilia made the perfect position to be able to implant malicious suggestions between the noble Othello and his wife Desdemona.

Emilia was the one that aided the villain Lago despite her lack of knowledge that is why the whole story became a tragedy later. The effect of Emilia’s role was to provide the stark contrast that is obvious between her materialistic character and that of the innocence of Desdemona.

The whole play able to progress realistically because of the snide and cynical remarks of Emilia.

It was the role of Emilia that provided the realistic backdrop of the whole play from start to the end of the story. The plot started with the dissatisfaction of Lago for the promotion of Cassio into a higher rank than him since the latter was a lower servant to Othello. Naturally, Lago plotted to get rid of Cassio by all kinds of means in order to get his revenge and finally elevate himself into a better position in life. He started destroying the regards of Othello for Cassio by intentionally enticing Cassio into a drinking bout one time. When Othello found out about this, he immediately demoted Cassio and promoted Lago into the position that Cassio originally occupied. The rest of the story proceeds in the way that the villain character Lago has planned for his victims except the very last part. The role of Emilia no matter how small can be seen as pivotal in the over-all build-up of the story. The reason why the plans of Lago succeeded in the first place is because of Emilia’s effort to steal her lady’s handkerchief. Despite her innocence at the motives of her husband, it was her act that made the plan of Lago successful. It was also instrumental for the story and Lago to have the trust of Desdemona on her maid Emilia completely. Emilia was thinking about the kind of possibilities that no one else had because she has a worldly character and experienced in the ways of the underworld at her age. Although she never had an inkling as to what would be the effect of stealing her lady’s handkerchief she was malicious enough to do it just because of her husband.

If we are to remove Emilia from the story, then there would be no other means for Lago to have easy access to his lady Desdemona without arousing suspicion on his intention.

The rest of the story is indeed the makings of her husband villain Lago but the deceptive facade that Lago has wrought would have been exposed earlier if not for Emilia’s effort. The contribution of Emilia is to provide the kind of access that Lago could never get for himself. Her role also made the story interesting because they are providing Desdemona ideas and insights into what kind of other women exist in the world. Her worldly nature makes a very sharp contrast to the character of Desdemona because she is the one that gives her lady advices and prompts on matters that might require a little daring and courage for Desdemona to do alone. The over-all story is also shaded by the dark nature of Emilia’s outlook in the world since it is she that is willing to commit adultery given the proper reasons according to one of her lines.

Despite the relatively small portion of her character’s part in the story, it provided the negative suggestions as well as the channel by which Shakespeare can try to influence the minds of audience of the play or the readers of the script. It makes the insertion of cynical and malicious ideas and comments on the events of the story easier to project by the use of Emilia’s character. If other characters were to be used, it would make a conflicting and somewhat confusing perception since the characters of the play are clearly defined as to how they behave according to their values. Since the character of Emilia is base and that of a materialistic person, it gives the author of the play an instrument that can provide insinuations and negative suggestions so as to captivate the audience.

Because of Emilia’s character it makes the play portray the different sides of the human emotions as well as the different angles that the audience of the play can try to analyze the whole story. If the role of Emilia were not present, it would have been very bland for the whole story to continue without any kind of intrigue and malicious angles from which the audience can derive varying opinions. It is the character of Emilia that also provides the much needed realism that the play is calling for. Since the nature of Emilia is somewhat base, it also creates a realistic feel for the kind of scenario that the playwright was trying to create. The noble characters of Desdemona and her husband would not be interesting enough because there would no one to provide the conflict and the intrigue that comes with the kind of comments that only Emilia can make. The role of being the maid of Desdemona also makes Emilia able to let the audience glimpse the kind of life that her lady is leading. This provides the kind of portrayal that the author of the play intended all along. The kind of angles and emotional atmosphere that the author might want to incorporate are all easily injected with a comment or two from Emilia. The informative and suggestive lines that Emilia has in the play give the audience the idea as to what kind of characters and emotions that the play is trying to project. The contrasting lines as well as the believable opinion of Emilia make the story more realistic. Since the character of Emilia is very common in real life, it also gives the audience a feel of the kind of setting in the everyday lives of the characters portrayed. The kind of capacity that she also has in getting inside information about lady Desdemona could not have been possible if she were not the personal servant of Desdemona. It gives the whole play an angle by which the author can make use of the personal weaknesses of the characters. For example, since it is a given that Othello’s character is easily angered without use of extensive analytical reasoning, it makes the deception of Lago easier to accomplish.

The role of Emilia comes in as important for the whole play since they are all incapable of getting the trust of Lady Desdemona when it comes to her private chambers and items. The very simple act of using a handkerchief by Lago to manipulate Othello into a rage makes the role of Emilia all the more important. It also shows another custom of those days wherein the lady has her own personal servant. The betrayal that came with the position of Emilia no matter how unintended also gives the play an exciting twist since the audience is aware of the malicious motives of Lago and yet at the same time, nobody else is aware of the nefarious plans that Lago has in mind. The whole story is also made more enticing for the viewers as it now incorporates betrayal and insidiousness on the part of its characters. The views and angles of the play is filled with variety since the incorporation of Emilia’s character provides the twists and contrast that are necessary to make an interesting story. Despite the small part that the role of Emilia played in the story, nevertheless it was necessary to make the kind of base character that she played because the story could not have been realistically portrayed if all of the other characters were as noble and innocent as the husband and wife Desdemona and Othello.

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