Posted by janna (220.127.116.11) on 17:21:05 10/04/07
Question need help to answer.
In "A Room of One's Own," why does Virginia Woolf think it would have been impossible for a woman of Shakespeare's time to have written plays of the level of Shakespeare's plays?
Posted by Laura (board editor) on 13:10:58 26/04/07
You've turned to the wrong 'room' Janna, as this room has a view and is Forster's... :) But I can give you a bit of a (late) answer nevertheless. There are two things that come to mind immediately: women in those days did not have the access to (higher) education that wealthy men or men hobnobbing with the wealthy had. Women were not at all viewed as rational creatures and so the level of education that clearly shows in Shakespeare's plays, both in form and content, would have been hard to get by for women, barring perhaps a few that had the privilige of having both access and leisure to develop themselves intellectually. Of course women had the same intellectual possibilities - there were just less opportunities. Even hundreds of years later it was still held that women who developed their intellectual faculties would be less fertile...
Another aspect would have been that a female playwright would have been received, however good she might be, not with praise but with scorn and ridicule. Thus it would have been very hard to have this profession in those years. Even when, in the days of the Enlightenment, female writers were more prolific than their male counterparts, those women had to almost apologise for seeking the spotlight with their writings: a woman had to be modest or she was in the danger of being completely ostracized.
Hope this helps, Best wishes Laura