This essay analyzes the notion of “passing” in Antonio Mira de Amescua’s play El mártir de Madrid (1610) and how it unveils the effects of concealment and slander in a hegemonic Christian society dealing with religious, ethnic, and gender anxiety in the aftermath of the expulsion of Moriscos from Spain (1609). Drawing upon contemporary studies on the concept of passing, the essay reflects on what happens when pretending to belong to a religious affiliation, an ethnic group, or the opposite sex yields negative consequences for the character trying to pass. Besides examining different instances of passing related to ethnicity, religion, and gender, the essay pays attention to the historical events that inspired Mira de Amescua’s play; that is, the martyrdom of the Spanish Pedro Navarro in North Africa (1580) after having passed as Muslim and returned to Christianity. In addition, the essay identifies several contemporary sources and puts them into dialogue with the play.


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pp. 1-33
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