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Renaissance Drama & homoeroticism

            To what extent do you think the boundaries between homosocial and homerotic desire are undermined by Renaissance drama?.
             An examination of this kind requires one first to examine the prevailing beliefs, customs and practises that existed in Renaissance society so that one can understand the relationship between homosocial and homoerotic desire as it was actually played out. This understanding of the boundaries that existed in Renaissance culture must be explored before we can apply contemporary texts and productions and ask of them whether they conform, oppose or are ambivalent towards the structures and practises that they comment upon. .
             We may first examine the terms 'homosocial' and 'homoerotic' themselves and ask the pertinent question of whether our modern day understanding of the terms is the same as the understanding held in the Renaissance period. The OED defines 'homosocial' as being of or relating to social interaction between members of the same sex, typically men and for our purposes we shall consider this term in relation to it's manifestation in friendship to which we will return later. The OED also defines 'homoerotic' as that concerning or arousing sexual desire centred on a person of the same sex or that which we in the 21st century would call a homosexual desire. Reference to the OED stems from the need to demonstrate the conceptual differences that exist between present day and Renaissance understanding of homosexuality. Foucald states that it was only in the nineteenth century that a 'homosexual became a personage, a past, a case history and a childhood' (Foucalt, 1978, p.43) so it is apparent that prior to this a taste for male/male sexual intercourse did not define one's identity. So demonstrating and experiencing homoerotic impulses did not then qualify one as a homosexual in the way that it might today or as Alan Bray puts it 'to talk of an individual in this period as being or not being "a homosexual" is an anachronism and ruinously misleading' (Bray, 1982, p.

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