Essays in Honor of Matthew D. Stroud
Ovid, Gender, and the Potential for Tragedy in Don Gil de las calzas verdes
CHRISTOPHER WEIMER Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
Ovid’s Metamorphoses may well be the classical palimpsest most persistently visible to students of Early Modern Spanish theater. Not only are textual references to its myths a constant, the comedia as a genre would scarcely exist without a plethora of characters that conceal, reveal, discover, and recover their own true identities and those of others. The Metamorphoses likewise overflows with tales of identities lost and (re)gained, discarded and stolen, embraced and imposed; the categories which constitute identity repeatedly prove fluid and porous rather than fixed. Still more significantly, sexual desire serves as a frequent catalyst throughout Ovid’s encyclopedic catalogue of changes. Sexuality and even gender are unstable and often exert a destabilizing force. Similarly, Matthew Stroud notes regarding Early Modern Spanish theater with its innumerable erotic intrigues and masquerades, “The comedia raises the fears of sexual fluidity, of transgression, of perversion, of women usurping the power of men, of the traps of sexual expectation, of desire out of control” (Plot 83).
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