Monday, 27 February 2017

Shakespeare’s Marriage

On 27th November, 1582, William Shakespeare, 18, and Anne Hathaway, 26, pay a 40-pound bond for their marriage license in Stratford-upon-Avon. In his marriage document, William Shakespeare’s name was spelled ‘William Shagspere’.

In his interesting book Shakespeare: The World as Stage, Bill Bryson writes: “The marriage license itself is lost, but a separate document, the marriage bond, survives. On it Anne Hathaway is correctly identified. Shakespeare’s name is rendered as “Shagspere”—the first of many arrestingly variable renderings.”

Bryson speculates that Anne became pregnant prior to their marriage and there was a major scandal. The Shakespeare and Hathaway families were furious and a hasty marriage had to be arranged. Till 1604 the age of consent in Britain was twelve for a girl, fourteen for a boy.

“We know also that she had three children with William Shakespeare—Susanna in May 1583 and the twins, Judith and Hamnet, in early February 1585—but all the rest is darkness. We know nothing about the couple’s relationship—whether they bickered constantly or were eternally doting.” ~ Bill Bryson in Shakespeare: The World as Stage.

No comments: