The English Department faculty lecture this year will be Mother-Daughter Relationships in Shakespeare, on Oct 9th at 4 pm in University Center Room A presented by Dr. Annalisa Castaldo. While there are hundreds of topics to lecture on based themes and ideas in Shakespeare’s works, Dr. Castaldo informed me in a short interview that she happened across this one by accident while looking over Much Ado About Nothing, realizing the absence of the Hero’s Mother. After her original discovery, she branched out and took a look at the canon, only to find “a total of six instances where mothers and daughters are on stage at the same time.”

While the representations of mother-daughter relationships throughout Shakespeare’s works vary and have been discussed in brief, Dr. Castaldo hopes to explain why it is “Shakespeare seems hesitant to frame a relationship that is about to be broken because most of the daughters in Shakespeare’s works are around marrying age.” Dr. Castaldo will review such works as Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, Romeo & Juliet, Winter’s Tale, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Pericles, and All’s Well that Ends Well and discuss the representations of mother-daughter relationships within these different works. “It is more common to find fathers and daughters and mothers and sons, but mothers specifically seem to be missing in very different ways..” Some mothers are never mentioned, some are ghosts, others give birth, die, and come back to life, and there are also instances of stage directions for a mother’s entrance, but no mother.

Dr. Castaldo’s Shakespearean expertise and interest in gender studies are sure to provide not only an interesting perspective, but a thorough analysis of this particular relationship. So please come and join the English Club, faculty, students, and friends on October 9th at 4pm in University Center Room A for Dr. Annalisa Castaldo’s lecture on Mother-Daugther Relationships in Shakespeare.
For more information, please feel free to check out the sources below:

Rose, Mary Beth. “Where are the Mothers in Shakespeare?: Options for Gender Representation in the English Renaissance” Shakespeare Quarterly 42(3), 1991, 291-314.

Shin, Hiewon. “Father Violence, Motherly Absence, Servants’ Resistance in Shakespeare in his Time.” Renaissance Studies 25(5), 2012, 666-683.

Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe, edited by Margaret Ferguson, Maureen Quilligan and Nancy Vickers (U of Chicago Press, 1986).

Performing Maternity in Early Modern England, edited by Kathryn McPherson and Kathryn Moncrief (Ashgate, 2007).

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