Literary Analysis Of Shakespeare's Sister By Virginia Woolf

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Do you know that Shakespeare is not the only gifted writer in his family? This mysterious member exists in Virginia Woolf’s imagination. In her famous essay “Shakespeare’s Sister,” Woolf uses the hypothetical anecdote of Judith Shakespeare as her main evidence to support her argument. During the time when Judith is created, women are considered to be naturally inferior to men in terms of writing and are expected to be passive and domestic. Regarding her potential audience, educated men, as “conservative,” Woolf attempts to persuade them that it is nurture, not nature, that is responsible for the absence of female writers as great as Shakespeare without irritating them by proposing “radical” arguments. By using casual diction, short syntax, and well-known allusions, Woolf is able to shift the audience’s attention from the gender of the author and Judith to logic and the evidence itself. In order to prevent her readers from feeling offended for her directness and Judith’s strong mind, Woolf uses casual and “uncertain” diction to lead in her argument and evidence. When she sets up the stage for Judith’s story, Woolf “randomly” points to a time period: “…say in the time of Elizabeth” (693). The word “say” adds casualty to the sentence, as if Woolf is talking about the weather, as if the time is not carefully picked but is chosen based on mood. Although seeming unintentional, Woolf chooses this time period on purpose –– Elizabethan England was the time of Shakespeare. The casual

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