Womb Rhetoric: The Martial Maternity of Volumnia, Tamora, and Elizabeth I

  • Lauren J. Rogener
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


Coriolanus and Titus Andronicus are arguably two of Shakespeare’s most violent plays, and although Volumnia and Tamora are neither protagonists nor title characters, they stand out as especially bloodthirsty and politically astute. Volumnia and Tamora exercise considerable political and military power which they derive from their status as mothers. The martial-maternal rhetoric they employ sets them apart from their male counterparts and, more importantly, represents a language of power that is uniquely female. Similarly, Queen Elizabeth I, as both a monarch and a literary subject, has been represented and has represented herself as both a ruthless warrior and a devoted mother. This chapter works to uncover an intertextual relationship in the shared martial-maternal rhetoric of Coriolanus’ Volumnia, Titus Andronicus’ Tamora, and early modern England’s Queen Elizabeth I.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren J. Rogener
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North TexasDentonUSA

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