The Suffocation of Motherhood in Three Shakespearean Plays: The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear


  • Muhammad Akbar Department of English Literature, University of Balochistan, Quetta Pakistan
  • Najia Asrar Zaidi Department of English Literature, University of Balochistan, Quetta Pakistan



Motherhood, Feminism, Patriarchy, Gender Inequality, Suffocation


This study investigates the suffocation of motherhood in the three major Plays of William Shakespeare which are The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, and King Lear by using the feminist theories of Janet Adelman, Luce Irigaray, and Merry Rose Beth. The absence of motherhood in many of William Shakespeare’s plays has been controversial and a point of attraction in criticism for feminist critics who are actively engaged in highlighting the patriarchal aspects of William Shakespeare’s plays. According to the critics, the suffocation and absence of motherhood in the three Shakespearean plays: The Tempest, Romeo & Juliet, and King Lear was portrayed on purpose to give dominance to patriarchy. This Thesis will analyze motherhood and the absence of motherhood in the three Shakespearean plays through the works of feminist critics: Janet Adelman (1992), Mary Beth Rose (2017) and Luce Irigaray (2004), who have highlighted the patriarchal factors and elements which are directly or indirectly responsible for the suffocation of motherhood in the three Shakespearean plays. Moreover, in many of his plays, William Shakespeare gives preference to daughters over mothers, regardless of the phallocentric view which associates females with motherhood and places them through maternity. An evaluation of William Shakespeare’s plays marks it obvious, that it is not only the mother-son relationship or bond which is entirely suffocated, the daughters are no exception and they are also left motherless in most of William Shakespeare’s plays. Thus, William Shakespeare’s preference for making influential and dominant male characters while ignoring particularly mothers and generally womanly questions is not merely misogyny or just an image of historical representativeness.


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DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7376224
Published: 2022-11-29

How to Cite

Muhammad Akbar, & Najia Asrar Zaidi. (2022). The Suffocation of Motherhood in Three Shakespearean Plays: The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. Pakistan’s Multidisciplinary Journal for Arts & Science, 3(03), 24 –.