2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

Queering Olivia and Cesario: Homoeroticism in Twelfth Night
Mara E. Stewart
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In Twelfth Night the lady Viola disguises herself as the male page Cesario and unwillingly attracts the attention of the lady Olivia. In doing so, Viola, as Cesario, sparks a homoerotic passion in Olivia. This paper will illuminate the ways in which the ambiguities of gender identity in the play challenge heterosexual constructs. Traditionally, the character of Viola was played by a young boy tasked with the challenge of not only portraying a woman but also a woman portraying a man. The denaturalization of gender due to young boys playing the roles of women in Shakespearean productions, perhaps made eroticism something less to fear. I will explore how Viola's disguise and cross-dressing as Cesario further complicate sexual and gender identity.

Keywords: Twelfth Night, Homoeroticism, Shakespeare


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 404-1
Location: VH 1328
Time: 2:30

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