Why would it have been impossible for a woman to write Shakespeare's plays according to Virginia Woolf in "A Room of One's Own"?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this section of her brilliant essay, Woolf shows why it would have been impossible for a woman to write Shakespeare's works by imagining that Shakespeare had a very talented sister called Judith. By creating this imaginary sister and comparing the kind of life and opportunities that both she and William would have had, Woolf presents a compelling case at how women were and are impoverished by society. Note some of her arguments:

But she was not sent to school. She had no chance of learning grammar and logic, let alone of reading Horace and Virgil. She picked up a book now and then, one of her brother's perhaps, and read a few pages. But then her parents came in and told her to mend the stockings or mind the stew and not moon about with books and papers.

Although she would have "scribbled" occasionally, she had to hide her writings in case her parents burned them. Then she is forced or blackmailed emotionally into marrying someone who is not her intellectual equal. Even when she flees this situation to pursue her dream of acting, she is not given any opportunity to do so, and is seduced and, finding herself pregnant, kills herself and dies frustrated and unsatisfied. Throughout this section of the essay, the emphasis is on the lack of opportunities that women have compared to men in every sense of the word.

quddoos | Student

This line comes from Chapter One, and its enigmatic and elusive tone regarding the true identity of the narrator is maintained throughout the text. Woolf and the narrator both struggle with the same issues, but they are two distinct entities. The narrator is a fictionalized character—an invention of Virginia Woolf—and she remains vague about her true identity. In this quotation she even instructs the reader to refer to her by different names. This lack of one “true” identity for the narrator gives A Room of One’s Own a sense of being universal: the ideas apply to all women, not just one. The lack of one identity also makes the narrator more convincing. By taking on different identities, the narrator transcends one single voice, and consequently she makes herself a force to be reckoned with. Her blasé attitude about something that is considered fixed and important by most people—identity—makes her all the more intriguing.

quddoos | Student

Reasons as to why Virginia Woolf presents "A Room of One's Own", was because women back then were not allowed to write. This forced them to publish under fake names of men, so as to get their works published. This led to Virginia Woolf presenting her novel, in the idea that women can be creative and have imaginations to write, only if they were given the same resources as men.

quddoos | Student

Virginia Woolf explains in her novel that a room of one's own showed wealth and time. Women needed what men had at the time which was privacy to write what one wishes in his own time and comfort. Women back then were not allowed to write, therefore, they would publish under fake names of men to get their works published. Therefore, it is not that women could not write plays like shakespeare it was the fact they did not have the money to have a room of their own to write in. They were controlled during that time, and Virgina Woolf presents in her novel the idea that women can be creative and have imaginations and write if they were given the same resources as men. I hope I answered your question, read this last year in IB English

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A Room of One's Own

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