© 2002

The Female Tragic Hero in English Renaissance Drama

  • Editors
  • Naomi Conn Liebler

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Naomi Conn Liebler
    Pages 1-31
  3. Robert S. Miola
    Pages 33-50
  4. Judith Weil
    Pages 51-69
  5. Mimi Still Dixon
    Pages 71-91
  6. Linda Woodbridge
    Pages 161-184
  7. Laura Denker, Laurie Maguire
    Pages 185-198
  8. Jeanne Addison Roberts
    Pages 199-215
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 217-242

About this book


This book constitutes a new direction for feminist studies in English Renaissance drama. While feminist scholars have long celebrated heroic females in comedies, many have overlooked female tragic heroism, reading it instead as evidence of pervasive misogyny on the part of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Displacing prevailing arguments of "victim feminism," the contributors to this volume engage a wide range of feminist theories, and argue that female protagonists in tragedies - Jocasta, Juliet, Cleopatra, Mariam, Webster's Duchess and White Devil, among others - are heroic in precisely the same ways as their more notorious masculine counterparts.


Euripides misogyny Renaissance women

About the authors

Naomi Conn Liebler is Professor of English and Distinguished Scholar at Montclair State University. She is author of Shakespeare’s Festive Tragedy: The Ritual Foundations of Genre.

Bibliographic information


"I welcome this exhilarating collection which restores the female tragic protagonist to her rightful place as hero. By asserting resemblances as well as differences between women and men, desire and virtue, private and public, authors and audiences, victims and heroes, the volume compellingly challenges longstanding assumptions. The strong voices of the wonderful introduction and the individual essays collectively reframe our understanding of Renaissance tragedy by drawing on old and new contexts in startling ways: Greek tragedy, visual arts, Neoplatonic humanism, Attic and near eastern mythology, medieval morality plays, Morris dancing. The book is essential reading for scholars, students, and playgoers." - - Carol Thomas Neely, Professor of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"If, as Naomi Conn Liebler says, tragedy tells the tale of a culture in crisis , this book retells some of the most compelling tales of early modern culture from a feminine perspective. In this set of diverse, scholarly, and vigorously political essays, Renaissance tragic drama is explored as a site of gendered struggle, resistance, and challenge. The Female Tragic Hero in English Renaissance Drama powerfully demonstrates how attending to female agency can revise our understandings of cultures and their crises." - - Kate Chedgzoy, Professor of Renaissance Literature, University of Newcastle