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Thread: Shakespeare must have hated Anne Hathaway

  1. #16
    stanley2
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    Some years ago, someone came up with a simple answer. It was, I recall, in response to an article about the authorship question in NATIONAL REVIEW, a letter to the editor. The writer, glancing at such lines as "The imminent death of twenty thousand men / That for a fantasy and trick of fame / Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot / Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause...."(HAMLET, Act 4, scene 4), suggested that his best bed was his grave.

  2. #17
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    This is an old thread but a funny one considering the passions and egos that seem to have been stirred up at the time. The National Review's solution is certainly a poetic one, which is why I don't really buy it. Although we know little of the Bard, we can at least infer from his works that he knew a enough about the world not to express himself abstractly in a legal document much less a will. As a compulsive genealogist, I read many old wills and use them as clues for reconstructing past lives. Based on the admittedly limited information I have about Shakespeare, I would say that there is no great mystery. He stiffed her (somewhat--furniture's furniture) because their lives had long ago gone their separate ways. Boring but there it is. Nice archaeology in turning this one up, though.

  3. #18
    stanley2
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    Professor Greenblatt wrote that when the first draft of the will was written, Shakespeare was "evidently gravely ill." This may have had an effect. Greenblatt also noted that " perhaps Shakespeare or the lawyer who penned the words simply chose to write a relatively cool, impersonal document." Professor Bate wrote: " In the final months of his life, Shakespeare was much more concerned about his younger daughter than his wife." One of Romeo's last lines and Horatio's farewell to prince Hamlet correspond to the grave hypothesis, if I may call it that. Perhaps Shakespeare was like Willie Nelson: "I can't wait to get on the road [to London] again," "and I'm crazy for tryin, crazy for cryin, and I'm crazy for lovin you."

  4. #19
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    There's a romantic notion you sometimes hear that the bed was the one on which they spent their wedding night and/or early years. Sniff sniff, except there's no reason to think the explanation's true (and when you think of it, that could just as easily have been a gesture of contempt as affection). I've seen many old wills (a few Tudor and one even older). They are invariably clear and stark. X gets a gold ring, Y gets a silver ring, Z gets a brass ring. You could always sell the ring, as Anne could and probably did sell the furniture. Money's money.

  5. #20
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I have just taken the book to a charity shop, but I recently finish Hilary Spurling's biography of Anthony Powell, who wrote the Dance to the Music of Time series. Apparently, Anthony Powell worried about a line in one of Shakespeare's plays referring to a "much detested wife". Maybe he suspected it was real life creeping over into fiction, the sort of thing that happened in his books quite often.

    Edit: I think the line must have been: "War is no strife to the dark house and a detested wife." from All's Well that Ends Well.
    Last edited by kev67; 08-22-2019 at 10:24 AM.
    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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