Why were woman not allowed to act during Shakespeare's time?  

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Technically, it's not the case that women were not allowed to act during Shakespeare's time. There was no law about it, and women did act in private performances throughout the English Renaissance. It was simply not considered appropriate for a woman to be a paid actress, because acting was considered a low class profession, even an immoral one by some people. Actors are paid to be looked at, and a woman putting herself forth to be looked at for money would be comparable to prostitution, as the previous answer says. So it was considered socially unacceptable, and therefore, women did not act on the public stage. It is an oversimplification and inaccurate, however, to say that women were not "allowed" to act in Shakespeare's time.

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I assume that you are asking this question in reference to a Shakespearean play such as Romeo and Juliet.  In Shakespeare's time, acting was considered a low profession, not far above prostitution.  For a woman to be an actress was asking for her reputation to be wrecked by society's standards.  Therefore, women were not allowed to act as they would voluntarily be lowering the standards for all women of the time. In their place, young boys with high voices played the parts of women.  Also, acting in this time period was not for the faint of heart.  If the audience did not feel entertained, they threw things like rotten tomatoes or small rocks to express their displeasure.  It would not be considered seemly or proper for women to have things thrown at them as part of the cast of a play. 

 

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