Roles of Mothers in Tragic Plays
Strict societal expectations are placed on women in tragic plays. For example, it is assumed that women are to marry according to societal norms and expectations. When Oedipus kills King Laius and saves the city of Thebes from plague, Jocasta is expected to marry the person that saved her kingdom. However, women in tragic plays are given a choice when it comes to marriage, but societal expectations are likely to dictate this choice. For example, Gertrude chose to marry her deceased husband’s brother, Claudius. Even though she likely had a choice in the matter, Gertrude probably married Claudius because she thought she was protecting the crown for her son, Hamlet. Women in tragic plays, especially women in power, are expected to marry a man that is regarded by their kingdom as capable and strong. Because of this, marriage in tragic plays is a societal expectation for women in power.