Othello

by: William Shakespeare

Five Key Questions

Summary Five Key Questions

2) How does Emilia help Iago?

Emilia gives Desdemona’s handkerchief to Iago, explaining that after Desdemona dropped it, she “being here, took’t up” (3.3.). Because Emilia steals the handkerchief, Desdemona is unable to produce it when Othello asks her to show it to him, leading him to become even more convinced that she is guilty of adultery. Because this belief, and his resulting jealous rage, lead him to kill Desdemona, Emilia does have some connection to the murder. However, Emilia is clearly horrified and distraught when she learns that her mistress is dead, lamenting “thou hast killed the sweetest innocent / That ere did lift up eye” (5.2.). She also insists on uncovering the story of what really happened and demonstrating Iago’s guilt, even when this endangers her, explaining that “Let heaven and men and devils, let them all / All, all cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak” (5.2.).