The relationship between Faustus and Mephastophilis creates a dynamic that is rejected by society at this time. Although Faustus is well educated, he still lacks the one thing he truly desires: someone to control him, especially in a sexual manner. When Faustus decides to give Mephastophilis his soul for servitude, Faustus proclaims: “Lo, Mephastophilis, for love of thee, / I cut my arm, and with my proper blood, / Assure my soul to be great Lucifer’s,” (I.V.53-54). The declaration of love for Mephastophilis suggests that Faustus realized that, by giving Mephastophilis his soul, he will be able to gain his desire for control through Mephastophilis acting as his servant and granting him his wishes. Faustus does not realize until the last line of the play, however, that Mephastophilis is the one who is able to control him the way he desires, rather than a wife,. Upon his death, Faustus exclaims, “I’ll burn my books- ah Mephastophilis,” indicating to readers that it was Mephastophilis himself who ended up fulfilling Faustus’s desires (I.XIII.114).
This transition from Faustus’s desire to be controlled in a heterosexual relationship to being controlled in a homosexual relationship shows the emotional control Mephastophilis had over Faustus. Mephastophilis preys on Faustus’s desire to be controlled, denouncing marriage to Faustus shortly after his request for a wife. By saying to Faustus, “Tut, Faustus, Marriage is buy a ceremonial toy; / If thou lovest me, think no more of it,” Mephastophilis is not only calling into question Faustus’s love for him, showing the emotional manipulation he is capable of, but is suggesting to Faustus that what he thinks he desires might not be what he truly desires (I.V.148-149). He continues with this...
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...a dynamic like this in the play, Shakespeare openly questions the heterosexuality required by society. Olivia, while married to Sebastian, fell in love with Viola acting as Cesario. She would never be able to marry Viola because of their genders, but being related through marriage is allowed. The actors, however, are both male actors portraying female characters. While throughout the entire play Olivia remains female, the actor playing Viola shifts between female and male when playing Cesario. This then allows the audience to question the sexuality of the actors, considering the play has both characters married to male counterparts, but they themselves are male and are taking part in a homosexual relationship onstage. Viola and Olivia’s relationship, both as characters and for the actors that play them, have the ability to arouse questions regarding their sexuality.
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