Presenter(s): Lydia Huth
Title: Volumnia and Gertrude as Renaissance ‘New Mothers’
Developed under the guidance of Dr. Eric Dunnum , English
In a tragic canon largely devoid of mother figures, Coriolanus and Hamlet spark debate—why include Volumnia and Gertrude, the titular characters’ tragic mothers? These women fill paradoxical, challenging, imperfect roles, but Shakespeare’s text implies that such tensions are the result of society’s harsh confines and expectations for women, and not the women themselves. I will explore what Shakespeare intends from these mothers by arguing that Volumnia and Gertrude are prime examples of his realistic exploration and subtle praise of the complex Renaissance ‘new mother’ figure.