Old, Bold and Won’t Be Told

Old, Bold and Won’t Be Told

Shakespeare’s Amazing Ageing Ladies

By Yvonne Oram

A lively exploration of ageing women in Shakespeare’s day – onstage and off.

Paperback, 146 Pages


June 2013

£9.99, $18.95

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

Thoroughly researched and accessible, ‘Old, Bold and Won’t Be Told’ considers closely Shakespeare’s development of his older female characters, who defy conventional stereotypes and act with power, influence and creativity. Shakespeare refers to standard characteristics of the ageing woman – her loss of looks, ‘inappropriate’ sexuality, flouting of male governance and inability to hold her tongue – but, unlike his contemporaries, also further develops and celebrates the strength and importance of this figure.

Shakespeare’s most notable older woman is Paulina in ‘The Winter’s Tale’, the only older woman in early modern drama who is still vocal and powerful at the end of a play – a play which owes its conclusion to her directorial creativity. Through her, Shakespeare highlights the importance of the old woman to family and society. The study also explores other rich examples of Shakespeare’s developed older women, including Queen Katherine (‘Henry VIII’), Volumnia (‘Coriolanus’) and Queen Gertrude (‘Hamlet’).


No reviews for this title.

Author Information

Yvonne Oram has worked as a journalist and teacher, with an interest in Elizabethan and Jacobean history and drama. www.yvonneoram.com


No series for this title.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part 1 Early Modern Women Onstage and Off; Old Women Onstage – Not a Pretty Sight?; Old Women Offstage – Out and About; ‘Her Indoors’; Part 2 Dramatic Stereotypes of the Old Woman; Loyal and Loving; Embarrassing and Bawdy; Disobedient and Dangerous; Power-mad and Passionate; Part 3 Shakespeare’s Subversion of the Stereotypes; Wayward Wives; Much-Maligned Mothers; ‘Egypt’s Widow’; Part 4 Paulina’s Power; Conclusion; Bibliography


No Podcasts for this title.
Comodo SSL