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Thread: Shakespeare must have hated Anne Hathaway

  1. #1

    Shakespeare must have hated Anne Hathaway

    I have just finishd reading a copy of Shakespeare's last will and testament. Please allow me to be angry.

    What fine words did the 'Bard' devote to his cherished beloved?

    "I give unto my wife my second best bed with the furniture"

    That's it? Not even the decency to mention her name! If that wasn't enough of an insult, he used one sentence: a lousy twelve words after all those years of her caring for his brats, while in London, night after night, he poured sack down his miserly throat, and no doubt ended up with Syphallis.

    What kind of person must he have been? Was that the same man who wrote the Sonnets? "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?". How could someone so into beatiful words be so insentitive to his woman?

    What a prat. Why on earth people place flowers on his grave is beyond me. Better putting them on the bare, hardly noticed grave next to his: that of his little, inconsequential property, his 'wife', Anne Hathaway.

    Why do people love such 'orrible little creeps?

    disgusting.

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  3. #3
    Probably one of the worst posts I've read on here.

    1. You know nothing of his wife.
    2. You know nothing of their marriage.
    3. You know nothing about Shakespeare.
    4. His personality has nothing to do with his immense talent, his reputation as an artist, his influence on art and so on.
    5. Who cares about his will?
    6. People aren't perfect. Nor are artists.
    7. Who gives a **** about his will?
    8. The reason people leave flowers on his grave is that he still has the ability to move people 400 years after his death. His relationship with his wife has nothing to do with that.
    Vladimir: (sententious.) To every man his little cross. (He sighs.) Till he dies. (Afterthought.) And is forgotten.

  4. #4
    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    From wikipedia:

    Much has been read into the bequest that Shakespeare famously made in his will, leaving Anne only the "second-best bed". A few explanations have been offered: first, it has been claimed that, according to law, Hathaway was entitled to receive one third of her husband's estate, regardless of his will; secondly, it has been speculated that Hathaway was to be supported by her children; and, more recently, Greer has come up with a new explanation based on research into other wills and marriage settlements of the time and place. She disputes the claim that widows were automatically entitled to a third of the estate and suggests that a condition of the marriage of Shakespeare's eldest daughter Susanna to a financially sound husband was probably that Susanna (and thus her husband) inherited the bulk of Shakespeare's estate. This would also explain other examples of Shakespeare's will being apparently ungenerous, as in its treatment of his younger daughter Judith.

    Greer also discusses some indications which tend to support speculation that Hathaway may have been financially secure in her own right. The National Archives states that "beds and other pieces of household furniture were often the sole bequest to a wife" and that, customarily, the children would receive the best items and the widow the second-best. In Shakespeare's time, the beds of prosperous citizens were expensive affairs, sometimes equivalent in value to a small house. The bequest was thus not as minor as it might seem by modern standards. In Elizabethan custom the best bed in the house was reserved for guests. If true, then the bed that Shakespeare bequeathed to Anne could have been their marital bed, and thus not intended to insult her.
    As you can see, the matter is by no means clear cut. I rather prefer to see the romantic implications of Shakespeare bequeathing their marital bed. There's a rather nice poem by Carol Ann Duffy on the subject, which you can read here.

    But even if it does show that Shakespeare was not on good terms with his wife, then so what? Plenty of people have poor marriages, commit infidelities, do horrible things to their spouses - it has no bearing on their calibre as an artist. In the same way that we should not expect our artists to be paragons of perfection, so too must we avoid sanctifying somebody they wronged. That's just life.
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

  5. #5
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike thomas View Post
    I have just finishd reading a copy of Shakespeare's last will and testament. Please allow me to be angry.

    What fine words did the 'Bard' devote to his cherished beloved?

    "I give unto my wife my second best bed with the furniture"

    That's it? Not even the decency to mention her name! If that wasn't enough of an insult, he used one sentence: a lousy twelve words after all those years of her caring for his brats, while in London, night after night, he poured sack down his miserly throat, and no doubt ended up with Syphallis.

    What kind of person must he have been? Was that the same man who wrote the Sonnets? "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?". How could someone so into beatiful words be so insentitive to his woman?

    What a prat. Why on earth people place flowers on his grave is beyond me. Better putting them on the bare, hardly noticed grave next to his: that of his little, inconsequential property, his 'wife', Anne Hathaway.

    Why do people love such 'orrible little creeps?

    disgusting.
    Well let's see.
    One: He married her. That is more then the many actually do.
    Some promise but don't and others do but marry the many mistresses.

    Two:He wrote a will. It is more then enough considering others never do nor even consider doing such a thing and called her by her title 'wife'. He could have mentioned as the other half or given her a crude nickname.

    Three:He gave her Furniture is not to be sniffed out. It costs money.

    Now taking all these three accounts what more do you want?
    This is as good as it gest considering the period.
    He could have done a runner and left her with nothing.
    Now THAT is disgusting.
    it may never try
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  6. #6
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Perhaps he had two "best" beds?

  7. #7

    uh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre Menard View Post
    Probably one of the worst posts I've read on here.

    1. You know nothing of his wife.
    2. You know nothing of their marriage.
    3. You know nothing about Shakespeare.
    4. His personality has nothing to do with his immense talent, his reputation as an artist, his influence on art and so on.
    5. Who cares about his will?
    6. People aren't perfect. Nor are artists.
    7. Who gives a **** about his will?
    8. The reason people leave flowers on his grave is that he still has the ability to move people 400 years after his death. His relationship with his wife has nothing to do with that.
    You know **** all about me

    Your reply says agreat deal about you though: defending that kind of selfish swine.

  8. #8

    romantic implications???

    Quote Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
    From wikipedia:


    As you can see, the matter is by no means clear cut. I rather prefer to see the romantic implications of Shakespeare bequeathing their marital bed. There's a rather nice poem by Carol Ann Duffy on the subject, which you can read here.

    But even if it does show that Shakespeare was not on good terms with his wife, then so what? Plenty of people have poor marriages, commit infidelities, do horrible things to their spouses - it has no bearing on their calibre as an artist. In the same way that we should not expect our artists to be paragons of perfection, so too must we avoid sanctifying somebody they wronged. That's just life.
    "the romantic implications of Shakespeare bequeathing their marital bed."

    First of all, there's not a shred of evidence to suggest Anne Hathwey was entitled to anything. It angers me when scholars guess and gloss. Second, Greer talks mostly garbage. Her motoviation was never truth but her bank account - rather like WS really.
    Third: you really need to get your facts in order: Where does it say Shakespeare bequeathed "their marital bed"? where does it mention a marital bed? Indeed, where does it say Shakespeare bequeathed any bed (or anything for that matter) to his wife?

    I don't "expect our artists to be paragons of perfection" nether was I sanctifying Hathwey. I simply brought up something about the "great Bard" which seems rather unsavoury. If he treated his wife like crap, and cared little about his brats, how are we to deal with his "works"? If he beat his wife every week, do we still regard his "genius" with the same respect? What if he was a child-molester? Is there any behavour which invalidates hero-worship?

    " There's a rather nice poem. . .": There's lots of nice poems, but why try to soften the truth? Why not confront what the man was really like? On his deathbead (or so it is said by some) he mentions his wife one time: "my weif" that's your lot Anne, so b****x to you. Everyone seems quite happy to read the rape and cutting off of his character's limbs and tongue, but get very upset when the stone is moved, to show reality: his treatment of his women is so tardy. The guy must have been a dumprement.

  9. #9
    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike thomas
    "the romantic implications of Shakespeare bequeathing their marital bed."

    First of all, there's not a shred of evidence to suggest Anne Hathwey was entitled to anything. It angers me when scholars guess and gloss. Second, Greer talks mostly garbage. Her motoviation was never truth but her bank account - rather like WS really.
    Third: you really need to get your facts in order: Where does it say Shakespeare bequeathed "their marital bed"? where does it mention a marital bed? Indeed, where does it say Shakespeare bequeathed any bed (or anything for that matter) to his wife?

    I don't "expect our artists to be paragons of perfection" nether was I sanctifying Hathwey. I simply brought up something about the "great Bard" which seems rather unsavoury. If he treated his wife like crap, and cared little about his brats, how are we to deal with his "works"? If he beat his wife every week, do we still regard his "genius" with the same respect? What if he was a child-molester? Is there any behavour which invalidates hero-worship?

    " There's a rather nice poem. . .": There's lots of nice poems, but why try to soften the truth? Why not confront what the man was really like? On his deathbead (or so it is said by some) he mentions his wife one time: "my weif" that's your lot Anne, so b****x to you. Everyone seems quite happy to read the rape and cutting off of his character's limbs and tongue, but get very upset when the stone is moved, to show reality: his treatment of his women is so tardy. The guy must have been a dumprement.
    First of all, an apology: when I posted the above message, I had forgotten that you were the same person who posted all that nonsense about the 'Ram in T' that was apparently supposed to convince us of... something... Anyway, I now realise that it was foolish to make overtures towards a meaningful, insightful and constructive conversation concerning the implications of Shakespeare's domestic life. And for that, I am sorry. Your reply perfectly illustrates the futility of even trying.
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

  10. #10

    defending the indefencible

    Quote Originally Posted by cacian View Post
    Well let's see.
    One: He married her. That is more then the many actually do.
    Some promise but don't and others do but marry the many mistresses.

    Two:He wrote a will. It is more then enough considering others never do nor even consider doing such a thing and called her by her title 'wife'. He could have mentioned as the other half or given her a crude nickname.

    Three:He gave her Furniture is not to be sniffed out. It costs money.

    Now taking all these three accounts what more do you want?
    This is as good as it gest considering the period.
    He could have done a runner and left her with nothing.
    Now THAT is disgusting.
    I could broaden this to bring up the fact that he was just about the marry another at the same time. As for his writing a will: in fact he never wrote any such thing. That he used the title of 'wife' in no way can defend this once only mention that there was anyone else in his miserable world apart from him and his boozy pals. Where do we read anything on Hamnet? Ben Jonson wrote of his son - Shakespeare? not likely: too busy getting poxed up. As for the furniture: what exactly does that mean? He left her his 'second best bed WITH the furniture', and considering that a bed is in fact furniture already, he couldn't even get those twelve miserable words right. True, I grant it was not to be sniffed at, but come on: Anne had looked after his property, cared for the sick children that he never bothered with, and ends up without even a house to live in.

    No doubt he swung both ways, not letting the poor woman know what he'd been bedding. The guy was an out and out prat.

  11. #11

    someone with sense at last

    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    Perhaps he had two "best" beds?
    Now there's an idea! It always puzzled me that phrase "second best bed": I mean, why 'second'? was there a third best bed as well? who (or what) slept in the last best bed?

    The term implies a first best bed, but I never read anyone bring the suubject up. Of course the works are the important things in all of this, but when someone devotes such a sparse and seemingly mean sentence, an in a last will, it strikes me that there is something more to it all than the eye sees.

    I would love to see another example of a best bed being left in a will.

  12. #12
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Pierre Menard:

    1. You know nothing of his wife.
    2. You know nothing of their marriage.
    3. You know nothing about Shakespeare.
    4. His personality has nothing to do with his immense talent, his reputation as an artist, his influence on art and so on.
    5. Who cares about his will?
    6. People aren't perfect. Nor are artists.
    7. Who gives a **** about his will?
    8. The reason people leave flowers on his grave is that he still has the ability to move people 400 years after his death. His relationship with his wife has nothing to do with that.


    Mike Thomas:

    You know **** all about me

    Your reply says agreat deal about you though: defending that kind of selfish swine.


    I would believe that PM is suggesting that you are drawing assumptions about Shakespeare, his wife, and his marriage based upon the slimmest of knowledge... for the simple reason that we have very little as far as biographical records to go on. Even if you were the most well-informed of Shakespearean scholars, you would not have much to go on in terms of an in-depth knowledge of the biography and the marriage of Shakespeare or Anne Hathaway.

    I do agree with PM that the artist's biography is ultimately wholly irrelevant to his or her artistic achievements. Many of the greatest artists in every genre were less than ideal, upstanding individuals. Artist's are human beings... not gods. All that matters is the art itself, and Shakespeare's plays are brilliant regardless of whether he was the biggest a-hole that ever existed.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    If he treated his wife like crap, and cared little about his brats, how are we to deal with his "works"?

    No differently than if he were the most upstanding ideal parent that ever existed.

    If he beat his wife every week, do we still regard his "genius" with the same respect?

    Absolutely. Carlo Gesualdo stands as one of the most brilliant and innovative composers of the Renaissance. His "bending" of traditional tonality will barely be equaled until Wagner... and yet:

    In 1586 Gesualdo married his first cousin, Donna Maria d'Avalos, the daughter of the Marquis of Pescara. Two years later she began a love affair with Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria. Evidently, she was able to keep it secret from her husband for almost two years, even though the existence of the affair was well-known elsewhere. Finally, on October 16, 1590, at the Palazzo San Severo in Naples, when Gesualdo had allegedly gone away on a hunting trip, the two lovers took insufficient precaution at last (Gesualdo had arranged with his servants to have keys to the locks of his palace copied in wood so that he could gain entrance if it were locked). Gesualdo returned to the palace, caught them in flagrante delicto and murdered them both in their bed. Afterward, he left their mutilated bodies in front of the palace for all to see. Being a nobleman he was immune to prosecution, but not to revenge, so he fled to his castle at Venosa where he would be safe from any of the relatives of either his wife or her lover.

    Details on the murders are not lacking, as the depositions of witnesses to the magistrates have survived in full. While they disagree on some details, they agree on the principal points, and it is apparent that Gesualdo had help from his servants, who may have done most of the killing; however, Gesualdo certainly stabbed Maria multiple times, shouting as he did, "she's not dead yet!" The Duke of Andria was found slaughtered by numerous deep sword wounds, as well as by a shot through the head. When he was found, he was dressed in women's clothing (specifically, Maria's night dress). His own clothing was found piled up by the bedside, unbloodied.

    The murders were widely publicized, including in verse by poets such as Tasso and an entire flock of Neapolitan poets, eager to capitalize on the sensation. The salacious details of the murders were broadcast in print, but nothing was done to apprehend the Prince of Venosa. The police report from the scene makes for shocking reading even after more than four hundred years.

    Accounts on events after the murders differ. According to some sources, Gesualdo also murdered his second son by Maria, who was an infant, after looking into his eyes and doubting his paternity (according to a 19th century source he "swung the infant around in his cradle until the breath left his body"); another source indicates that he murdered his father-in-law as well, after the man had come seeking revenge. Gesualdo had employed a company of men-at-arms to ward off just such an event. However, contemporary documentation from official sources for either of these alleged murders is lacking.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_Gesualdo

    What if he was a child-molester? Is there any behavour which invalidates hero-worship?

    You should recognize that there is a difference between the artist and the art work. It is not Shakespeare who is so revered, but rather his writings. We know next to nothing of the actual man.

    Child molesters? Well... we do have Caravaggio who pandered images of young "pretty boys" to high-ranking clergy with a penchant for young boys... this before his involvement in an endless number of illegalities including murder...

    And yet he was unquestionably one of the greatest painters who ever lived, and his finest paintings are some of the greatest masterpieces ever produced:

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  14. #14
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    I hate when spammers get into the Shakespeare threads. It's like rats in your pantry....never a good time.

    Also, the above seems to have ripped off wikipedia: talent.
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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    If I may quote a section of George Orwell's famous essay on Charles Dickens:

    Taking ‘middle-class’ to mean what Krupskaya might be expected to mean by it, this was probably a truer judgement than those of Chesterton and Jackson. But it is worth noticing that the dislike of Dickens implied in this remark is something unusual. Plenty of people have found him unreadable, but very few seem to have felt any hostility towards the general spirit of his work. Some years later Mr. Bechhofer Roberts published a full-length attack on Dickens in the form of a novel (This Side Idolatry), but it was a merely personal attack, concerned for the most part with Dickens’s treatment of his wife. It dealt with incidents which not one in a thousand of Dickens’s readers would ever hear about, and which no more invalidates his work than the second-best bed invalidates Hamlet. All that the book really demonstrated was that a writer’s literary personality has little or nothing to do with his private character. It is quite possible that in private life Dickens was just the kind of insensitive egoist that Mr. Bechhofer Roberts makes him appear. But in his published work there is implied a personality quite different from this, a personality which has won him far more friends than enemies. It might well have been otherwise, for even if Dickens was a bourgeois, he was certainly a subversive writer, a radical, one might truthfully say a rebel.


    Wow, a reference to Shakespeare in an essay written by Orwell about Dickens! I must get treble points for that.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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