Throughout the tragedy of Othello, Shakespeare does an impressive job of quickly introducing and manipulating his main characters. His talents are no less when it comes to the creation and development of Emilia. Though it appears that Emilia is both a loyal and obedient wife, her actions speak much louder than her words. When Emilia betrays the sisterhood within the play of Othello much is revealed to the reader regarding her character. Through close reading and interpretation the reader may come to the realization that Emilia possessed a dangerously low self-esteem, never honestly loved someone wholeheartedly, and ultimately, acted out of jealousy of Desdemona.
Low self-esteem is a dangerous mental-health disorder. Although one many commonly attribute low self-esteem with awkward high school students, it happens to be an accredited mental illness that is not only difficult to treat, but may also lead to more serious mental health disorders and harmful acts by the suffering individual. According to an article posted by Overcoming | Self-Help and Mental Health, a legitimate mental wellness webpage, they list multiple causes of low self-esteem, many of which can be found in Othello with relation to Emilia. It is common knowledge that Iago treats Emilia very poorly throughout the entirety of the play. At one point in the drama Iago discusses with Desdemona and Cassio how little he thinks of his wife when he says, "Sir, would she give you so much of her lips As of her tongue she oft bestows on me, You would have enough," (II i lines 100-103) while standing directly in front of Emilia. These hurtful words correspond with one of the main triggers of low self-esteem, as published by Overcoming | Self-Help and Mental Health. They acknowledge that one of several causes of low self-esteem happen to be "an absence of praise, warmth, affection, or interest," (Overcoming Low Self-Esteem) which correlates directly to the harsh, unloving words often spoken by Iago towards Emilia.