Shakespeare's Sister Virgina Woolf Analysis

543 Words3 Pages
Unsex Me Here In her essay Shakespeare’s Sister, Virginia Woolf analyzes the reasons behind the lack of female authors in Elizabethan England despite it being such a prominent time for literature. She discovers that, according to the history books, women at the time had very little rights and were tragically mistreated members of society. On the contrary, the women pictured in the works of art at the time were smart and cunning, or at the very least had strong, influential personalities. One of these women being Lady Macbeth from The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Woolf interprets the contrast between the women in fiction and the real women of the period as evidence that the famous characters are nothing but impossibilities imagined upon by men. She argues that only a female writer could have created characters endowed with women’s hindered possibilities. But perhaps the women portrayed in Elizabethan fiction weren’t just men being conveniently portrayed as women like Woolf claims. Perhaps Shakespeare and other authors created these strong characters as symbols of what women could’ve been, barring the legal and social injustices they faced. Lady Macbeth is undoubtedly Shakespeare’s most vicious and cunning female character. Throughout the play, she proves to be much more ambitious and certainly more ruthless than Macbeth. From the beginning, she is plotting her plan to power and by the end of the final act, she’s killed more than a few innocent people. One could argue that Lady Macbeth is nothing more than a completely masculine individual embodied as a woman for the convenience of the story. In every way she exemplifies the archetype of a man rather than that of a woman. She doesn't want to be a mother and even seems to have an intrinsic hatred of children, stating she would "bash the brain of the babe that sucks her breast”. She
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