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Examination Questions on Othello

Question: Illustrate by the roles of Roderigo and Emilia the importance to his plays of Shakespeare's secondary characters.

Answer: The roles of Roderigo and Emilia illustrate well the importance of the secondary characters in Shakespeare's plays. They are not superfluities, but necessities, as without the rough iron chisel the sculptor could not mould the delicate and beautiful statue. Much of lago's villainy is exercised upon Roderigo. Emilia serves as a strong contrast to Desdemona, and serves to draw out her innate purity by contrast with her own low, base character. So Roderigo's dulness makes lago's intellectual capacity seem more powerful.

They each have a lesson to teach, too. Roderigo's example teaches the insignificance of money when compared with intellect; Emilia's, the punishment following the infringement of truth and honesty.

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How to cite this article:
Ragland, Fanny. Shakespeare Examinations. Ed. William Taylor Thom, M. A. Boston: Ginn and Co., 1888. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

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