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Sex, love, and Shakespeare [slideshow]

Whether he fills his scenes with raunchy innuendos, or boldly writes erotic poetry, or frequently reverses the gender norms of the time period, Shakespeare addresses the multifaceted ways in which sex, love, marriage, relationships, gender, and sexuality play an integral part of human life. Sixteenth century England was preoccupied with marriage prohibitions (avoid members of your immediate family), marriage feasts (what to wear), maternity wear (emphasizing the baby bump and fertility), treating syphilis (a sweating tub?), misogynist pamphlets (and feminist responses), sexual fact (The Hundred Years War), and sexual fiction (Greek mythology). Take a look at the slideshow below to see some of Shakespeare’s literary, historical, and mythological influences, social norms of the Elizabethan era, and works related to sex and gender by other writers in his time period.

Featured Image: “Troilus and Cressida, Act V, Scene II” engraving by Luigi Schiavonetti after a painting by Angelica Kauffmann. Library of Congress. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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