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Shakespeare Quotes: Neither here nor there

Shakespeare Quotes: Neither here nor there

from Othello

Neither here nor there Introduction

I'm Emilia. I'm Desdemona's maid and friend, but I'm not as young and naïve as she is. I only trust people as far as I can throw 'em. And you know what I think?

DESDEMONA
So, get thee gone; good night Ate eyes do itch;
Doth that bode weeping?

EMILIA
'Tis neither here nor there.

DESDEMONA
I have heard it said so. O, these men, these men!
Dost thou in conscience think,--tell me, Emilia,--
That there be women do abuse their husbands
In such gross kind?

EMILIA
There be some such, no question. (4.3.55-60)

Who Said It and Where

Though she's older and more cynical than Desdemona, Emilia develops a close relationship with Othello's wife. Emilia and Desdemona bond over husband trouble. What else?

Sure, Emilia's bitter take on her married life with Iago contrasts with Desdemona's idealistic views on her marriage to Othello. But by the end of the play, a lot of things threaten that marriage, and it's starting to look like Emilia's more than a little right.

During this scene, Emilia and Desdemona have one of the most important discussions in the entire play. Desdemona asks her maid if itchy eyes means she'll be crying soon. Emilia tries to brush off her question, telling her it doesn't matter at all.

But soon her obvious bitterness at Othello boils over and she says that husbands are usually to blame when their wives cheat on them. After all, men cheat on women all the time—why shouldn't women have an equal right to infidelity? Considering that this was written in the early 1600s, Emilia's monologue is about as close as we will get to a feminist manifesto at this time.

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