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Rhetorical Analysis: Shakespeare's Sister

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Rhetorical Analysis: Shakespeare's Sister

Novelist Virginia Woolf wrote, “Shakespeare's Sister,” to explore and demonstrate the misogynistic attitudes toward women in the Renaissance era. During this time women were rejected in society, it was believed that men were superior and women were of no value exceeding childbearing or taking care of the household. Her objective for this essay was not to offend anyone but to have the reader reflect on this social issue.

The lack of gender equality has emerged in every aspect of our society, mainly when concerning status, educational opportunities, and freedom. Universally, women have been restrained by domestic responsibilities while men have the ability to relish in their freedom. Women of the Renaissance era had no voice and their restraints were tighter than they are in today's world. Woolf explains how many women had to hide their talents, becoming hindered when it came to expressing their leisure. The result of inferior training had lead to them experiencing more difficulties when trying to get into the marketplace, even though these women were just as talented, or more so, when it comes to their artistic skills. Society has given women a negative self-image eliminating their available opportunities. If women received more support from their families and remarkable opportunities in the educational system, they could attain far greater. Though this still occurs today women, including some men, protest against the tyranny from these oppressors, refusing to allow there to be an undermined gender.

Woolf appeals to both logos and ethos in the way that she gives her evidence their deserved credibility. Mentioning other historians, writers, and poets help to strengthen her views because it becomes about their arguments, not just her own opinions. By giving them their credibility and jurisdiction, Woolf can use them to make the point she is trying to opine.

Additionally, Woolf appeals to pathos throughout the entirety of her essay by her use of emotion. To express the reality of how badly women were treated, Woolf compares women to objects, their financial standing to mens’, and argues, “it would be better to give up seeking for the truth and receiving on one’s head an avalanche of opinion hot as lava” (692). Strictly speaking on how women could not stand up for them self without consequential beatings and abuse. By creating this fictional character of Shakespeare's sister, Woolf can further elaborate on the idea of her being an extraordinary writer with her talents locked away in this male-dominated world. The future of this imaginary girl does not go far, being forced into an arranged marriage that she was against, she kills herself. Sadly she was one of the many women who were not strong enough to fight the chains that oppressed her freedom and failed to overcome the insanity that comes with being a female.




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