Emilia is Iago’s wife. As Desdemona intends to follow Othello to the war, the latter requests that Emilia become his wife’s attendant.
Worldly-wise and mistreated by her husband, who suspects her of infidelity and regularly humiliates her in public, she is not the happiest of women. Hopeful of her husband’s favor, she picks up Desdemona’s handkerchief when the latter lets it fall, and gives it to Iago, who has been pestering her to take it. She defends Desdemona’s honor to the hilt, even to Othello’s face, and is convinced that someone has been poisoning his mind. She speaks loudly and passionately, not using the most demure language when she is angry. She does not believe that men see women as genuine human beings, and blames husbands for most sins a woman commits, though she looks down on courtesans. When she finds Desdemona murdered by Othello, she refuses to hold her tongue, screaming for help. She is desperate for her husband to deny what Othello claims he has done, but when Iago does not, she refuses to obey him, and willingly risks death to speak the truth. She is murdered by her husband.