Othello Essay

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Andrews Henningfeld is a professor of English at Adrian College who writes widely on literature for educational publishers. In this essay, Andrews Henningfeld argues that the main characters belong to differing linguistic and discursive communities and are thus tragically unable to understand each other.

In Othello, Shakespeare offers several distinctive linguistic and discursive communities, including the patriarchal hegemony of the Venetian merchant class and the military hegemony of the soldiers on the field and in Cyprus. A linguistic community is one that shares a common language, while a discursive community is one that shares common forms of discourse such as ideas about law, business, or women. Further, "hegemony," according to Ross Murfin and Supryia M. Ray in The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, is a term often used by literary and cultural critics to refer to "the pervasive system of assumptions, meaning, and values . . . that shapes...

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This section contains 1,822 words
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Buy the Othello Study Guide
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Othello from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.