Critical readings of Othello as a case study in jealousy are fairly common, as are feminist interpretations of the play, and examinations of the text as a story of corrupted love. A Marxist reading of the play may be less familiar, but an exploration of the text through this critical lens can give a new perspective on Shakespeare’s tragedy and also act as a useful introduction to the whole school of Marxist literary criticism.
An important distinction needs to be made between the political philosophy of Marxism and Marxist literary criticism. Marxism is a system of political and economic thought deriving from the work of Karl Marx (1818–83) and Friedrich Engels (1820–95). Focusing on the history of class struggle, as revealed through the economic relationships between different groups within society, Marxism was one of the most significant political belief systems of the twentieth century, and became the official ideolog y of the Soviet Union and China.
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