Murdering Mothers? Representations of Mothers Who Kill Their Children in Theatre and Law
Ames, Kaley Malka
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This interdisciplinary thesis examines the representation of women who kill their children in theatre and law using a feminist maternal theoretical lens. Focalizing this examination is in the use of scholarship from Canadian criminal law and legal history from the discipline of Law, feminist maternal theory from the discipline of Gender and Womens Studies, and classical tragedy from the discipline of Classical Studies. The primary goal of this thesis is to show how the oppression of and attitudes towards mothers who kill their children have remained yet taken different forms within the patriarchal structure of society over time. For case studies this thesis uses Kate Mulvany and Ann-Louise Sarks 2012 adaptation of Euripides Medea and the 2011 Ontario court case R v. L.B.. This thesis concludes that the invisible father and the overvaluation of childhood innocence are the patriarchal parenting components that continue to oppress mothers. This thesis recommends that change would be brought about through public policy and feminist advocacy on the issues of meaningful and equal access to childcare, closing the gendered wage gap, and the encouragement and normalization of fathers taking parental leave.