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We may never know Shakespeare’s own sexual identity, but it doesn’t matter. Summary In Duke Orsino's palace, one of his pages, Valentine, enters, accompanied by Viola, disguised as a young eunuch, Cesario.
Some of these pairs were both male, some both female, and some partnerships contained a male and a female.
However, Zeus decided to punish humans for their arrogance, splitting the creatures down the middle and detaching ourselves from our literal ‘other halves’.
He asks Cesario to do him a very special, very personal favor.
Cesario is to be the duke's messenger, his proxy, and carry notes of love from Orsino to Olivia.
The Italian play Questions of sexuality in Shakespeare, and indeed questions about Shakespeare’s own sexuality, began scarcely before the ink was dry.
While married to Anne Hathaway, who remained in Stratford-upon-Avon throughout Shakespeare’s career in London, he addressed 126 of his sonnets to a young man.The gulf of social status between the two could be one reason for the language of servile devotion, which also occurs in the exchanges between Olivia and Cesario, and Cesario and Orsino; but if the latter two relationships are noted for their erotic charge, we must also consider the possibility of a romance between Sebastian and Antonio.  Philip Stubbes, The Anatomy of Abuses (London: 1584), p.Productions such as Lyndsey Posner’s for the , a phrase which nods to a freedom of agency in terms of both sexual orientation and gender identity, while also recalling the name of the playwright himself. The prolific pamphleteer Philip Stubbes writes in his our apparell was given as a sign distinctive, to discern betwixt sexe and sexe, and therefore one to wear the apparell of an other sex, is to participate with the same and to adulterate the veritie of his own kind., where Aristophanes describes the origin of love.Originally, he says, humans were conjoined, with each pair making a complete person.However temporary such cross-dressing may be, it serves to remind audiences that masculinity is a matter of appearances.When Viola dresses as Cesario, one of their most poignant lines is, ‘I am all the daughters of my father’s house, / And all the brothers too’ (2.4.120–21).And yet as early as 1640, editors were keen to expunge any whiff of homosexuality from the sonnets, with John Benson publishing an edition of the poems with many of the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘his’ revised to ‘she’ and ‘her’.This dismissal of queerness in canonical works of literature, particularly from this period, is not only disappointing and intellectually dishonest; it is also simply inaccurate: labels such as homosexual or heterosexual ‘did not exist as conceptual categories’ at the time Shakespeare was writing.It could be interpreted as a new lifestyle choice, reflecting a truer version of the person that Viola/Cesario is but has never before had the opportunity to present; or more simply, it could be a plot device and part of the means to an end for the play’s storyline of confused lovers.But, as Valerie Traub notes, ‘it is as object of another woman’s desire that Cesario finds her own erotic voice’.