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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Virginia Woolf convincingly demonstrates that it was impossible—not merely that it would have been impossible—for any woman to write plays like those that William Shakespeare wrote. As she insightfully but humorously presents the numerous obstacles that kept women from writing, Woolf encourages the reader to re-think not only the concept of “genius”—which is so often applied to Shakespeare—but also of the numerous different occupations that the young man had; these included actor and manager as well as writer.

Woolf elaborates the social circumstances in which even upper-class girls lived in sixteenth-century England. She explains that they were expected to stay at home and learn arts and skills appropriate to females and were discouraged from reading (except possibly the Bible) and writing. She points to the double standard that allowed William to marry and leave his wife and children in Stratford while he journeyed to London and...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 6, 2019