The Oppression of Women in A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf

1749 Words Feb 17th, 2018 7 Pages
Though she was from a privileged background and was well educated, Woolf still felt she was faced with the oppression that women have been treated with for as far as history goes back. Her education allowed her to explore the works of the most celebrated authors, but one who she had a long and complicated relationship with was the Bard of Avon himself, William Shakespeare. As one of the most highly regarded and well studied authors of all time, Shakespeare has been elevated from mere playwright to a pillar of the British Empire, instrumental to the institutions that boasted British superiority. It is evident throughout Woolf’s writing that Shakespeare’s works were highly influential. Her novels frequently allude to his plays, most notably Orlando, Mrs. Dalloway, and also in her famous essay, A Room of One’s Own. Though Woolf admires Shakespeare’s androgyny (specifically in A Room of One’s Own), she also makes the case that his treatment of female characters does not allow for the women to be three-dimensional, therefore leaving them flat and lacking in depth. Even though for the most part Woolf’s assertion is correct, there are several examples in Shakespeare’s plays that suggest otherwise, namely in the play Othello. Additionally, in a similar vain, one could explore Shakespeare’s treatment of other minority groups in his works, such as Jews and anyone who is not English. Though it is easy to…
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