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This book offers up an in-depth scholarly analysis of all of the mother figures in Shakespeare's early works-both those who appear in the play and those whose absence gives us cause to pause.
Ademan points out, and makes much hay of the fact, that Shakespeare began writing his great tragedies simultaneously with the introduction of the first fully imagined mother- character.
Personally, I find it difficult to make the intuitive leaps that Adelman has made in drawing conslusions about Shakespeare's "troubled meditation on infantile helplessness." I find that Shakespeare's work is just so amazingly complex, and the body of work is so large, that an enterprising scholar can read just about anything into it.
People have written extensively on Shakespeare and how he anticipated Freud's theories, feminism, major issues within catholicism, even communism and capitalism. It's hard for me to become overly sympathetic with any of these views, and Adelman's book, while well-written (if a bit abstruse), is no exception.
Shakespeare has written about life, grounding it in realism and also elevating it to an entity of great meaning. Anyone who so finely articulates the human condition can and will be open to a variety of specialized interpretations, as well as the opposite interpretations.
I think that books like this one are valuable, in that they identify a viewpoint that can be expressed and studied within the context of Shakespeare's work. But the final word on Shakespeare has to be much broader in scope, and I would urge all but the most serious scholars to beware the tunnel vision that this type of undertaking can inadvertently create.
Did Shakespeare have strong views on motherhood, and can we extrapolate to speculate on his own relationship with his mother? Perhaps. But we won't ever really know for sure, and that might be a good thing.