We know that women made up a significant part of Renaissance theater audiences but how might they have read the plays presented there? This book uses the writings of sixteenth and seventeenth century women to construct a feminist perspective on drama by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson, Middleton, Ford, and their contemporaries. Chapters are arranged thematically on key issues or genres. Women's religious compositions open up readings of plays like "Doctor Faustus" and "Measure for Measure" as interrogations of conventional beliefs which underpinned relations between men and women.Chapter 2 considers drama from across the period, including "The Spanish Tragedy", "The Revenger's Tragedy" and "The Maid's Tragedy", to show how revenge tragedy taps into deep fears and desires about women's agency and maternal power. Comedy, the female romantic quest, and the city as a site of female pleasure, are examined in diverse texts such as "All's Well That Ends Well", "The Duchess of Malfi", "The Roaring Girl" and "Epicoene".
Chapter 4 focuses on the household space as a specifically female form of imprisonment, analyzing "Romeo and Juliet", "Arden of Faversham", "The Tragedy of Mariam" and "The Changeling" and other domestic tragedies in the light of Renaissance women's experiences. The final chapter discusses queenship, subjects and women's interventions into masculine history.