This study deals with the complex history of silence, which provides an important framework for rethinking gender in Early Modern England and for challenging critical approaches to it. Silence was an unstable and contested site of meaning for early modern men and women alike. Masculine silence frequently imitated feminine self-containment, whilst feminine silence was an unstable element in a triad of virtues (chastity, silence and obedience). Luckyj 's research explores these fluid and multiple meanings of early modern silence and relates them to the literature of the age. The book offers new interpretations of critical moments in some of Shakespeare 's best-known plays - including King Lear , Hamlet , and Coriolanus. The book devotes an entire chapter to works by early modern women writers, who are increasingly prominent in undergraduate curricula.