illustrated portrait of English playwright and poet William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

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Why were women banned from the stage during Shakespeare's era?

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In Shakespeare's time ACTING WAS NOT CONSIDERED APPROPRIATE FOR WOMEN.

"England was the last of the European countries to accept women on the stage. In the year 1629 a visiting company of French players gave performances at Blackfriars, with actresses."

Women were considered to be the property of men, first their fathers, then their husbands.  It was not appropriate for a respectable woman to be alone with men without a chaperone from her family.  Women did not work outside the home, unless they were very poor and cleaned or worked in the kitchen for another family.  Many respectable women did not even attend the performances of plays because the environment was so rough and vulgar.  Actors were considered vagabonds and could not be trusted. 

"English writer of the time called these women "monsters"; and the audience would have none of them. They were hissed and "pippin-pelted" from the stage. Boy actors were immensely popular, and the schools were actually the training ground for many well known comedians and tragedians."

For women, acting was on the same scale as prostitution in the 17th century.  Audiences would not have approved of seeing women on the stage, particularly in any love scenes. The whole company of actors would be rejected by audiences because the society would not be accepting of women on the stage.

"The stigma of dishonor rested, however, upon the whole profession, playwrights, players, and on the theater itself."  

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During Shakespeare's time, acting was considered to be a respectable profession, hince it wasnt really fit for women.  In a sense, acting was a bit too "tawdry" for women. For this reason, the roles of women in the plays were often played by boys who could portray a woman more adequately because their voices had nod changed yet, and they obviously weren't as masculine as mature men.

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

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

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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