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Family, Gender and Power in Shakespeare

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Dr Emma Whipday (University of Newcastle) analyses the dynamics between family, gender and power in Shakespeare’s plays, focusing on Early Modern understandings of women and the family. We start with a look at beliefs about family dynamics during Shakespeare’s lifetime, focusing on Henry VIII of England and his complicated family. In the second module, we turn to the relationship between fathers and daughters, looking at their depictions in Romeo and Juliet and Othello. In the third, we look at how Measure for Measure understands the role of single women. In the fourth, we explore the relationship between husbands and wives, focusing on The Taming of the Shrew. Finally, in the fifth module, we examine the relationship between mothers and sons through Gertrude and Hamlet’s relationship in Hamlet.

About the Lecturer

Dr Emma Whipday is Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at Newcastle University. Her research focuses on gender, family, power, and performance in early modern culture. Her most recent publications include Shakespeare’s Domestic Tragedies (2020), which was the co-winner of Shakespeare’s Globe Book Award 2020 and (as co-editor) Playing and Playgoing in Early Modern England (2022).