Junior Award Winner
Literary Explorations III
William Shakespeare’s Othello describes the deterioration of the jealous Moorish general Othello’s marriage with Venetian noblewoman Desdemona. This domestic crisis, ignited by conniving manservant Iago’s careful manipulations, hinges upon one handkerchief, its significance within Othello’s and Desdemona’s courtship, and its engineered discovery in the bedchambers of Michael Cassio. Just as this small handkerchief assumes an integral role, the actions of Emilia, Iago’s wife, enable the fruition of his plots but ultimately result in his exposure and downfall; thus, Othello documents the decline of not one, but two marriages. The largest contrast between these two relationships is division of power, for while Desdemona assumes a very passive role, Emilia desires more independence and equality in her marriage. Despite her similarities with and sense of duty towards Iago, Emilia’s strong personality makes her incompatible with her husband.
Liu, Gina '14, "Marital Power Plays" (2012). 2012 Fall Semester. 7.