A Transgendered Marriage in an Early Modern Play
|I apologize for turning this web blog into Simplicius blogs about random things he finds in Renaissance drama, but this one is too good not to pass along.|
In the anonymous play, The Tragedy of Nero (London, 1624; rpt. in 1633), there is the following report of a marriage; it might be the most unusual one I've come across in an early modern play. Nero is wooing Poppea, promising her his crown, new constellations to rise in her honor, treasures from the Earth and the Sea, etc. (Emperors are full of such lines--we've all been there), when she comes back with this zinger:
Poppea.Melichus then enters with news of Piso and the conspirators, and the topic is dropped.
But, wow. So Nero married a "cut-boy" named Sporus, his "new made woman." This one was new to me, and I can't imagine there are many other marriages in early modern drama involving transgendered adolescents. If anyone knows of any, though, feel free to share them in the comments.
(For the record, I'm not working on this topic, or any of the other random things I've blogged about this summer. These are just moments in plays that I happened upon and happened to find interesting.)
Update: Here's a link to the passage that describes Nero's marriage to Sporus in Suetonius's "Life of Nero" (28), part of his The Lives of the Twelve Caesars.