William Shakespeare and his Time

These things you might not know about Shakespeare and his times.

The theaters were closed during lent. That gave Shakespeare a forty day break from acting and managing the company of actors.

Shakespeare was married at eighteen to a pregnant Anne Hathaway who was eight years his senior.

Love’s Labors won was written before 1598 and published by 1603, but no copies are known to have survived.

William Kempe specialized in comic roles. He was one of the original players in early dramas by William Shakespeare, and often the comic roles were written specifically for him.

Shakespeare’s play-write contemporaries were a wild bunch. Ben Johnson was arrested for killing a fellow actor named Gabriel Spencer in a duel. Thomas Kyd was arrested and tortured into giving evidence against Christopher Marlowe. Christopher Marlowe murdered in a lodging place in Deptford. It is believed that he was in a meeting with three Government agents, and that they were paid assassins.

Shakespeare did not invent the plots of his plays. Every wonder why so many of his comedies were set in Italy? He took his plots from stories by Italian writers such as Giovanni Boccaccio.

Shakespeare was commanded to write The Merry Wives of Windsor by Queen Elizabeth, who wanted to see “Falstaff in love”. However, this story was first recorded one hundred years later.

One of Shakespeare’s relatives on his mother’s side, William Arden, was arrested for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I, imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.

Although it was illegal to be a Catholic in Shakespeare’s lifetime, the Anglican Archdeacon, Richard Davies of Lichfield, who had known him wrote some time after Shakespeare’s death that he had been a Catholic.

Shakespeare never actually published any of his plays.

Between 1592 and 1594, all the theaters in London were closed because of the plague. Shakespeare used the time to write poetry.

I’ve written a short story called The Theater Conundrum which was published in Tales of Old.

To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net