Shakespeare’s Mother(s)

  • Hugh Macrae Richmond


Shakespeare’s mother was Mary Arden, about whom sufficient is known to help elucidate some of his characterization of powerful mothers in his plays—Emilia, Constance, Countess Rousillon, Gertrude, Volumnia, Hermione, perhaps even Lady Macbeth. The recurrence of a pattern of maternal resurrection, in the years following the death of Mary Arden Shakespeare, suggests the playwright’s thoughts about such an option for mothers like his own, to become revered figures comparable to his stage characters. At least the awareness of the possibility of the transcendence of mortality perceived by most commentators in his last plays is most vividly incarnated in their maternal figures. Throughout his career Shakespeare treats the role of mothers with the most profound attention, surely embodied from his own experience of a resilient mother.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugh Macrae Richmond
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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