Sexuality in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

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“...So long as men can breathe or eyes can see/So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” So ends the famous Sonnet 18, possibly Shakespeare’s best-loved sonnet of all. Shakespeare’s fame today comes almost exclusively for his writing that deals with feelings of love. Sonnet 18. Romeo and Juliet. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Hamlet and Ophelia and Antipholus and Luciana and Beatrice and Benedick and Antony and Cleopatra. All these examples of the guy falling in love with the girl and skipping off into the sunset with her. However, new evidence shows that he wrote almost half of his sonnets to a man, including that oft-quoted “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” sonnet. As we look closer and closer at his cross-dressing, male-centric, “fabulous” plays, Shakespeare scholars argue that it’s very possible he swung the other way, or at least been an ally for those who did. Fast forward about four hundred years and we live in a thoroughly(though not yet quite totally) accepting society, with multiple organizations dedicated only to making LGBT kids feel safe in their own community, universally legal gay marriage undoubtedly coming up on the horizon, and non-gender-binary people winning major beauty-centric competitions. The very reason that so much research has been done on Shakespeare’s sexuality is that we accept so many in today’s modern, free spoken society. The majority of today’s society opens and accepts all, and I like to believe that the bard himself strove for a world like this. There are still a few people who still believe that their love-thy-neighbor religion does not apply to those who do not fit within the societal construct of a book written thousands of years ago, but people who have grown to love far overpowe...

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...rfectly able to do anything a man can. In addition to that, the serving-woman Maria proves herself perfectly capable of tricking Malvolio, enough so to make everyone in town to think he has gone completely mad. Both of these women are headstrong and sure of themselves and just itching to prove to the men in the play that none of them are better than the women.

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