Steven C. Caton

in Lawrence of Arabia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780520210820
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520919891 | DOI:

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This chapter examines the war hero of Lawrence of Arabia and his questionable status, which has something to do with sexuality and masculinity. It determines that it is Peter O'Toole's performance that proves to be crucial in understanding the treatment of these themes. It then explains the complexity of gender in this film, which is partly due to the cultural climate of the late 1950s and early 1960s, where the dominant modes of masculinity were being questioned. This chapter also argues that O'Toole's androgynous performance, along with his introspective and sensitive characterization, allowed an identification of him as a woman. It shows that this film is powerful precisely in the way it talks about homosexuality ambiguously and obliquely.

Keywords: sexuality; masculinity; gender; cultural climate; modes of masculinity; androgynous performance; homosexuality

Chapter.  15450 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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