Queen Goneril

By (author): Erin Shields

Set seven years before King Lear, Queen Goneril centres the struggles of Lear’s daughters as they negotiate patriarchal systems built to keep them relegated to the sidelines. In Goneril, we find a natural-born leader. In Regan, a boundary pusher. And in Cordelia, a reluctant peacekeeper. As the three work to dismantle their individual constraints, a storm of inner reckoning begins to brew that reflects their deepest yearnings and mirrors our contemporary world.

Whip smart and wide awake, Queen Goneril is another deliciously disruptive adaptation from Erin Shields. In her signature revisionist style, Shields investigates some of our most urgent feminist issues by reimagining the roles of women in classic texts—shifting them from subjects, objects, or witnesses to central figures of both their own lives and the story’s narrative. Queen Goneril lays bare the challenges of maintaining authenticity while achieving authority—how we retain a strong sense of self while twisting around systems meant to make us play small. A compelling story about complicated characters struggling—the way we all struggle—to find their place in this world.


Erin Shields

Erin Shields is a Canadian playwright based in Toronto. Much of her work highlights the negation or misrepresentation of women in classical texts by adapting these stories through a feminist lens for a contemporary audience. Erin has won numerous awards for her work including the Governor General’s Literary Award for If We Were Birds and the Quebec Writers Federation Prize for Paradise Lost and The Millennial Malcontent. Other plays include Jane Eyre (Citadel Theatre), Piaf/Dietrich (Mirvish Productions/Segal Centre), Beautiful Man (Factory Theatre), The Lady from the Sea (Shaw Festival), and Instant (Geordie Theatre/YPT).


“Shields’ script imbues the sisters with complex and sympathetic human motivations—love, empathy, fear, jealousy, shame, rage—which are constricted by the suffocating cellophane of social mores, race, class and gender. These are characters striving to be their best, while society and circumstance reduce them to clawing holes and gasping for air.”

Queen Goneril stays credible and remains compelling to its conclusion—and, thankfully, has its own enjoyable in-between dramatic voice; nothing too mock-Shakespearean, but unafraid to sample and remix his words.”

“… a post-modern wink to let us know that the crimes and micro-aggressions against women in the past still exist.”


There are no awards found for this book.
Excerpts & Samples ×
There are no other resources for this book.

Reader Reviews

Accessibility Detail

Table of contents navigation
Short alternative textual descriptions
Accessibility summary
Print-equivalent page numbering



152 Pages
8.45in * 5.45in * .50in


September 12, 2023



Book Subjects:

DRAMA / Women Authors



No author posts found.

Related Blog Posts

There are no posts with this book.

Other books by Erin Shields