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Crossdressing in Shakespearean Times

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Brenda Xu

on 13 May 2013

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Transcript of Crossdressing in Shakespearean Times

As Seen in Shakespeare Cross-dressing Women during the Renaissance:
Subordinate of men
Obedient, Coy
Could not act in theatres
Young boys played female roles
Cross-Dressing was prohibited by the Bible
Punished public cross-dressers Cross-dressing in the
Theatre and Public Cross-dressing during the Renaissance Young boys assumed female roles
Not punishable
Criticized early on for encouraging homoerotic behavior
Costumes regulated
Attempt to prevent people from going outside their social class or gender
Colors, accessories, etc.
Clothing was part of social order
Cross-dressing men was more acceptable compared to cross-dressing women Effects of Having no Actresses Gender confusion
Boys acting as cross-dressing women
Hard to keep genders apart
Further limited women
Women extremely limited
Cross-dressing seen as threat, punishments grew worse Problems from Cross-Dressing Homoeroticism
Posed problem to church
Male actors would display affection to other male actors
Female characters cross-dressing Cross-dressing in Shakespeare's Plays Commonly used cross-dressing
Female characters dressed up as men
Did not realistically show Renaissance ideals of women
Female characters were bold, dynamic, and independent
Dressed as men to achieve goals and gain freedom
Characters enjoyed on stage
Heroines socially unacceptable, but audience accepted them
Men did not want women with heroine-traits in their own homes
At the time, some women did cross-dress
Allowed them to gain the rights of men
Punished As You Like It Rosalind disguised as Ganymede
Gains freedoms of men
Remains feminine
Makes gender blatant
Male actor plays a girl disguised as a man that loves another male actor Twelfth Night Viola cross-dresses after being shipwrecked
Safer for men to travel alone
Remains feminine
Complicated homoerotic love triangle Works Consulted Boys to Women The Merchant of Venice http://www.phil.muni.cz/angl/thepes/thepes_02_09.pdf
http://www.nekozuki.org/lit/crossdressing.html Impact on the Characters Only males acted
Cross-dressing threatened society
Hard to differentiate genders
Actors constantly reminded audience of their gender Brenda Xu Portia and Nerissa cross-dress
Receives extra rights as men to save Portia's husband
Jessica briefly cross-dresses
Defies her father Empowers women
Sense of equality between genders
Cross-dressers' genders never questioned
Gender define by clothes
Full transcript