Within William Shakespeare’s great body of work, the role of mothers comes as a great surprise. It is tempting to utilise a structuralist’s solution. On Shakespeare’s stage there were no females. To portray a young woman the solution was simple; to have a boy costumed as a girl. For a man to play an adult woman would be a more difficult dilemma. In a comedy with many adult female characters, such as The Merry Wives of Windsor, this would not prove an obstacle. If the costume effect failed, it could simply further the comedic effect. In a tragedy, however, it was more complex. Despite the legal limitations Shakespeare was burdened with, what is of interest is the solution that he chose. We cannot speculate upon the nature of his creative process or the effect his life experience had on his writing. We can, however, examine our reaction to his portrayals of mothers in the resulting artistic creations.