This article is concerned with the intellectual and cultural constructions of homosexuality in nineteenth-century scientific writing about sexuality as a precursor to criticism about homosexuality in Shakespeare's works. It argues that queer early modern criticism of Shakespeare has illuminated the valences of homoerotic desire in plays and poems, and has paid tribute to theories that influenced it in the second half of the twentieth century, but it has remained unreflective on the discursive and critical heritage of the nineteenth century. Thus the article explores the influence of nineteenth-century German sex science on the development of the psychology of sexuality and psychoanalysis in England in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. Queer theory has in common with nineteenth-century sex science and theories of homosexuality a focus on character and its interiority. The article examines the development of the critical ideas about homosexuality in Shakespeare, especially in the sonnets, as well as major figures who discussed homosexuality in their writing.
Homosexuality in the plays by William Shakespeare
Was Shakespeare Gay?
This is a really big question that people have written a great deal about, so this episode acts as a sort of summary of some of the arguments for and against Shakespeare being gay. To answer this question, we have to think about the nature of friendships and sexuality and self identification of those things in Shakespeare time, as well as looking at evidence from this text, in particular the sonnets. So was Shakespeare gay? Well, we only know that he was married once, to a woman named Anne , and that they stayed married for the rest of their lives. Some of the known facts are that some of his sonnets , which are definitely love poems, are written to a man because they have a male pronoun in them.
Sexuality of William Shakespeare
The first urge the fair youth to have children to pass along his beauty to another generation. The sonnets become progressively broody, lonely, and almost bitter that the man prefers another poet. This is still occasionally done in modern schools. Thankfully, most editions of the sonnets work from the original rather than the bastardized version.
It is almost impossible to determine whether Shakespeare was gay because only scant documentary evidence has survived about his personal life. Yet, the question is constantly asked: was Shakespeare homosexual? Before we can answer this question, we first need to establish the context of his romantic relationships. One fact is certain: Shakespeare was in a heterosexual marriage. At the age of 18, William married Anne Hathaway in a shotgun ceremony probably because their child was conceived out of wedlock.