Twentieth-Century Feminist Criticism
Shakespeare was used by Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) in her seminal essay, A Room of One’s Own (1929).
I ARGUE THAT WOMEN NEED A TRADITION BEHIND THEM TO WRITE, AS A SENSE OF FAMILY IDENTITY AND INHERITANCE. I AM SIDELINED BY WOOLF, AND MY SISTER, “JUDITH”, IS DISCUSSED. SHE FAILS TO BECOME A PLAYWRIGHT BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN AND ENDS UP COMMITTING SUICIDE.
Woolf’s essay is elegant and effective. There is, however, a tendency for late 20th-century Feminist criticism and productions to emphasize the victimization and exploitation of women in plays.
Accounts of The Taming of the Shrew, for example, ignore the complicit irony of Kate. Indeed, it is in this play that Shakespearean ambiguity or indeterminacy first appears.
AS IF I HADN’T QUITE MADE UP MY OWN MIND ABOUT MY CHARACTERS. AND THEN HE CHARACTERISTICALLY COMPLICATES THE QUESTIONS BY HALF-FRAMING THE PIECE AS A PLAY OR A DREAM.
John Fletcher tried to answer some of the questions in his continuation called The Woman’s Prize, or the Tamer Tamed (1604), in which Petruchio’s second wife locks him out on their wedding night and hence tames him …