This book focuses on female tragic heroes in England from c.1610 to c.1645. Their sudden appearance can be linked to changing ideas about the relationships between bodies and souls; men's bodies and women's; marriage and mothering; the law; and religion. Though the vast majority of these characters are closer to villainesses than heroines, these plays, by showing how misogyny affected the lives of their central characters, did not merely reflect their culture, but also changed it.

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