A Room of One’s Own

by: Virginia Woolf

Important Quotations Explained

4
It would have been impossible, completely and entirely, for any woman to have written the plays of Shakespeare in the age of Shakespeare.

This passage in Chapter Three is one of the most significant conclusions of A Room of One’s Own. While the more common argument is that the lack of important, impressive literary works by women proves that they are less capable than men, the narrator takes the opposite approach. She chooses to examine her historical period and question the context in which women are judged. What she realizes is that the playing field is incredibly unequal. Given the circumstances of the treatment of women of her time, there is no way they could have rivaled men in literary achievements. The narrator invents the figure of Judith Shakespeare to illustrate this point. She tells a story of a fictional twin sister of Shakespeare, who is just as talented as her famous brother but, because she is a woman, her talent leads to a very different end.