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I've heard that Shakespeare borrowed ideas from the events and other literary works from the time. He uses cross-dressing as major plot devices in several plays. Where did this come from?

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    Note that in Shakespeare's own productions of his plays, all the actors were male. So you had men (or boys) pretending to be women pretending to be men. – mikado Mar 8 at 8:50
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    Related: When did men dressed as women stop being the norm in English theatre? As mikado says, cross-dressing was much more common in real life in Shakespeare's day - at least in theatre - than it is today. – Rand al'Thor Mar 8 at 10:37
  • Thanks for these comments. That can explain why there men played the roles of women. But tales like As You Like It and The Twelfth Night have cross-dressing in the core of the story itself. – flatulence Mar 8 at 11:10
  • I think Mikado's comment serves as the answer to this question. Here Shakespeare was exploiting a fact of the contemporary theatre, not borrowing from another literary work. – llywrch Mar 9 at 15:47

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