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Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage$
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Jane Hwang Degenhardt

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640843

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640843.001.0001

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Dangerous Fellowship: Universal Faith and its Bodily Limits in The Comedy of Errors and Othello

Dangerous Fellowship: Universal Faith and its Bodily Limits in The Comedy of Errors and Othello

Chapter:
(p.32) Chapter 1 Dangerous Fellowship: Universal Faith and its Bodily Limits in The Comedy of Errors and Othello
Source:
Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage
Author(s):

Jane Hwang Degenhardt

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640843.003.0002

This chapter discusses how William Shakespeare's Othello and Comedy of Errors present a prehistory for the tensions between bodily distinction and spiritual faith. It argues that these tensions are presented in later plays by the clear threat of Islamic conversion. It observes that these two plays are set in eastern Mediterranean territories, which eventually became important commercial centres and sites for the imperial contest between Muslims and Christians. This chapter also examines how the plays explore the Pauline ideal of a universal fellowship of faith, but also fall back on the concrete materiality of physical differences in order to stabilize identity against conversion.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, tensions, bodily distinction, spiritual faith, Islamic conversion, imperial contest, Pauline ideal, fellowship of faith, Comedy of Errors, Othello

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