Transvestism, Transformation, and Text: Cross-dressing and Gender Roles in <i>Double Falsehood</i>/<i>The History of Cardenio</i>

Lori Leigh

in The Quest for Cardenio

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641819
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191749025 | DOI:
Transvestism, Transformation, and Text: Cross-dressing and Gender Roles in Double Falsehood/The History of Cardenio

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This chapter examines the cross-dressing role for the female character Violante in Double Falsehood, based on episodes in Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote, and asks whether this heroine’s theatrical transvestism may tie the early eighteenth-century version to its Jacobean source, the lost Shakespeare and Fletcher play Cardenio. The chapter examines the efficacy of Violante’s male disguise in both Shakespeare and Fletcher’s work and Theobald’s — efficacy with regards to successful deception, but also as a protective tool. Enveloping these questions is the broader question of gender and its relation to power. The question of Violante’s rape (or seduction) and subsequent attempted rape is central: in particular, the fascinating sequence in which Violante as a transvestite confronts her rapist and accuses him of ‘bobbing’ her, not as a woman — but as a boy.

Keywords: Double Falsehood; Cardenio; rape; Lewis Theobald; cross-dressing; gender; Shakespeare; Fletcher; transvestite

Chapter.  5195 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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