In efforts to pay homage to the establishment of nationalities, there is precedence in creating a binary opposition of “us” and “them” in some narrative contexts. This discursive construction within the narrative starts with the labeling of social elements, then proceeds to generalize the negative attributions, and then culminates elaborately in justifying the exclusion of many and the inclusion of some. Discourse Historical Analysis is a critical attempt to study power relations as reflected in the language of a (literary) text. The Book of Esther in the Old Testament recounts the story of the exiled Jews in Persia and the ill-fated conspiracy of the Persian prince to exterminate them. The most common opinion about the time and date of its composition is that it was composed among the Jewish diaspora in Persia during the reign of Xerxes I. The consolidation of their own Jewish nationality was indispensable while living an exiled life in Persia. As such, they cling to the idea of positive Jew and negative Persian representation in their recounts of the story of Esther in the Persian court. The interest in this biblical story has been maintained in numerous literary works. The focus of the present study is on the six late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American plays that speak to this phenomenon. In light of Ruth Wodak’s DHA (2003), the present article studies the power relations between the Persian regal host and the expatriate Jews in these dramatic texts. Essentially concerned with the study of conflicting ideologies in the social and political spheres, the discursive function of language in the construction of a diasporic nationality is highlighted herein.

You do not currently have access to this content.