Abstract

The figure of the hermaphrodite was a complex symbol in the early modern era. Drawing on the myth of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream uses erotic images of sexual entwinement, images that specifically invoke the mythical creation of the Ovidian man-woman, to suggest a range of sexual identifications. The hermaphroditic images in Shakespeare's play not only point to a cultural fear of powerful females who, like Salmacis, have the capacity to overpower men but also indicate male sovereignty in the spiritual joining of the male/female body in marriage.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 95-108
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-20
Open Access
No
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