Shakespeare in love facts relationship

Shakespeare in Love | Plot, Cast, Awards, & Facts |

shakespeare in love facts relationship

Marriage. Still from Shakespeare in Love. In the movie, Will gets his muse Quite apart from the fact Viola didn't exist, this upsets Shakespeare. In honor of the th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Culture Trip checks out the top 15 things the Bard taught us about love. 'domesticating' Kate, this relationship pattern pops up throughout Shakespeare's plays and. Shakespeare had fallen in love with Viola, a royalty, but the fact that he was already married and [tags: Romeo and Juliet, love, relationships, shakespeare] .

Really, though, I think I'm hedging my bets, using intellectual content to justify untalented creative writing. Which brings us back to Shakespeare in Love and me, not as would-be writer, but critic. Shakespeare in Love builds on the basic pattern of Shakespeare's love stories. That is, in both his plays and poems, there are no lovers who are simply happy and in love. From Comedy of Errors to The Tempest, all his lovers have to overcome obstacles.


They face barriers of class, race, nationality, mistaken identities, but most often of parental particularly paternal opposition. Then the play breaks through the barrier to its happy or tragic ending. This movie love story runs true to the Shakespearean formula which indeed almost all writers of comedy use.

Beautiful, rich Viola falls for Will Shakespeare, a hand-to-mouth actor and a hack playwright, not quite as good as Christopher Marlowe.

shakespeare in love facts relationship

But, and a very big "but" it is, her father is marrying her off to Lord Wessex, a brutish owner of tobacco plantations in Virginia. Jamestown isn't settled until Wessex is in debt, interested only in her money, and tells her so. Will Shakespeare, too, is penniless, but they love each other. Wessex, moreoever, can offer a distinguished title, while Will is one of a despised class, actors.

That's a "Freudian" reading of Shakespeare and Shakespeare in Love, a hypothesis to try out. The obstacles of class, race, fathers, and so on, provide us a "forbiddenness" that counters our fantasies of an overwhelming passion for someone who utterly and totally satisfies us, a "soul mate," perhaps a Muse, a "perfect" woman or man like Viola de Lesseps for Will or Will Shakespeare for her.

We represent internal inhibition by external force. As I see it, this movie creates and then crosses such barriers, as Romeo and Juliet does, the one comically, the other tragically. As part of this oedipal pattern, I see a second great Shakespearean theme: Will betrays his former partner, Rosaline. He betrays Viola by not telling her he is married. He betrays Marlowe by leading Wessex to believe that it is Marlowe who has been coupling with Viola. Further, the actors and theater owners are constantly betraying one another by stealing one another's plays.

And various of the men are betraying Burbage with Rosaline. In short, there are barriers--sexual oedipalethical, financial, genderal, artistic. Sometimes it is good to break through them; sometimes breaking through is betrayal.

In both the lovers meet at a ball. In both we have paternal interference. In both we have a forbidden lover and a sanctioned lover and enforced marriage Wessex as Paris. Ned Edward Alleyn, Henslowe's leading actor, plays a Mercutio. In both, the ruler Queen or Prince steps in at the end to sort things out. Even Will's earlier fornications correspond to Romeo's infatuation at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet with Rosaline. While the parallels are not exact, I find them amusing and suggestive--penetrating, if you will.

But, like her, we know. This being a s movie, it has added a new barrier to romance besides the usual ones of class and paternal opposition--gender. Playing to today's interest in cross-dressing, Shakespeare in Love takes advantage of the Elizabethan convention that women could not appear on the stage. Will's pursuit of this boy, his kissing him, is--disquieting. At this point, the plot speeds up and entangles itself in complications.

Will meets Viola at a ball in her father's mansion, a prelude to her engagement to Wessex. Like Romeo and Juliet. They fall in love. Romeo, however, we twentieth-century folk know, improvised a charming sonnet with Juliet when he met her. Will, however, is tongue-tied and interrupted here. He can say nothing. Similarly, he cannot climb the balcony as Romeo did. Instead, he climbs up, comes fact to face with nurse, yells, falls, rouses the house, and has to run for it.

Compared to the ideal lover of the stage, this real-life lover comes woefully short. Through Thomas, Will sends love letters to Viola the "summer's day" sonnet. This time, though, he succeeds in climbing her balcony, and they consummate their affair in a night of ecstatic love.

Interestingly, the language of this erotic scene comes from the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, a scene before Romeo and Juliet consummate. Is the film implying the play is chaster, more "poetic" than "real" life?

In the morning, Viola insists as she will throughout that Shakespeare get busy and write, and Will, now inspired, begins writing the "real" Romeo and Juliet.

As he churns out text barely in time for the actors to rehearse it, the film cuts back and forth from love scenes in Viola's bedroom to the action onstage, with the text of Romeo and Juliet notably the balcony scene serving as a sound overlap.

After fights between the two rival companies of actors, Viola learns that Shakespeare is married. She points out that any marriage for them is doubly impossible. He is married, and she must marry Wessex.

We return to the cross-cutting between sex scenes and play rehearsal in a jumble of gendered roles, speeches, and locales. Wessex realizes that Shakespeare is Viola's lover, and now he charges the Rose, sword in hand.

shakespeare in love facts relationship

Will defeats him, but the Master of the Revels closes the Rose for having a woman onstage. The players' drunken sorrows turn to joy, though, when Henslowe gallantly offers the use of his own theater, the Theatre. They are really going to put on Romeo and Juliet! Alas, just as they are about to begin, the voice of the lad who was to play Juliet--changes. We have no Juliet! But, guess who is in the audience!

  • Shakespeare in Love leaves academics feeling smug

Having escaped from Wessex after the marriage ceremony in order to see the final production, Viola steps in. She plays, now, Juliet. It is the "real" i.

Shakespeare in Love - Wikipedia

But the play is staged, a fiction, while thenaturalistic film portrays "real" life. The play's being put on at all is another crossing of barriers. As for how it happens, as Henslowe says, "It's a mystery. At the same time, he suggests that we in the audience are witnessing the "mystery," the astonishing act of creativity involved in Will Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and the almost as astonishing creativity involved in Shakespeare in Love.

After the final death scene and the Prince's eulogy, Queen Elizabeth steps in, imperiously pardons everybody for having women on stage, and praises Will Shakespeare. This is Will's breakthrough. Alas, realistic Elizabeth also insists, harshly, that Viola go off to Virginia with Wessex.

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Though Will Shakespeare loses her as a woman, she will be his "heroine," his "heroine for all time". His social and sexual breakthrough with her equals, quite precisely, his breakthrough as a playwright. It is in the production of the play that the film develops its themes as I see them most clearly. Will and the rest of the actors had rehearsed Romeo and Juliet with Viola playing Romeo and, thus, more gender-crossing. The film then moved into a series of cross-cuts from Viola playing Romeo to Will and Viola making love in her chamber the Nurse standing guard.

Sound--the language of Romeo and Juliet--overlapped the cuts. In effect, the lovers, in their lovemaking, were creating the words of the play. Or--let me put it another way--the sexual penetration of Viola leads to Will Shakespeare's breakthrough in his writing.

As Elizabeth points out, Shakespeare has succeeded in putting "the very truth and nature of love" on stage. And a sad love it is, with its barriers and sorrows. An inhibited love, an--if you will--oedipal love. In other words the film in the best Hollywood tradition treats artistic creations as simply recording the artist's life in painting, music, or words.

I suppose I saw too many movies as an adolescent, because that was what I thought when I was in my teens and twenties and wanted to be a writer. You have an experience and then you write it down and that's how you make literature. After all, isn't that what Hemingway and Wolfe did?

I had sky-high ambitions. I was going to be the new Shakespeare. Just write down what I was experiencing or feeling. It took me years to realize that what counts in writing is not the content but the writing--the words. A writer--a real writer--writes words that are unexpected but feel right. Incidents, too, should be surprising but right.

But you can have all kinds of incidents or characters so long as the language works. Readers find themselves saying, I didn't expect that, but yes, yes, it feels right, that makes sense, that satifies. These days, when I get a memo in my English department, I can tell in a sentence or two if it's from one of our "creative writers.

I can do "right" all right--as a critic, for example, or a scholar. Shakespeare's block is my block. That is my point of identification with this film. He goes to a shrink. I went to a shrink. I had been trying to write poetry for several years with virtually no success. I got an appointment with an analyst and the first thing I blurted out as I walked into his narrow, quiet room was, "I want to be a writer, but I don't want to write.

Once I said it out loud, I scarcely needed the analyst. I was over it. I had made my breakthrough. I could turn to other things. I found I was good at doing criticism, and I, quite enthusiastically, became a critic or, nowadays we would say, "theorist.

As I think of imaginative writing now, writers have to draw from places in their heads that are "deep," uncomfortable, touchy, even painful. They have to wrap the thoughts they so mine in words they love, words that surprise and delight, "edge words" a poet friend calls them. I had not been able to do that. End of creative writing career, except for occasional stabs at it in recent years.

This is a film about writer's block, sexual block and breaking through the blocks. But not just writing and sex. There is the breaking through the barriers of class and parental opposition.

Will jumps across class lines and just as surely, like Romeo, he risks death to make love to Viola. I must confess that I would have found this disturbing had it not been for my knowing in my twentieth-century capacity that Thomas is really yummy Gwyneth Paltrow. At the end of the film, a woman has appeared successfully on an Elizabethan stage, in fact two women: Viola de Lesseps and Queen Elizabeth. That taboo has also been broken no--not historically.

The film penetrates the past with the present, when it has us project our twentieth-century knowledge into a sixteenth-century London. These are the lines that get the loudest laughs from a modern audience: The ending, in particular, uses what we know.

Queen Elizabeth sets up a wager between Shakespeare and Wessex as to whether the "very truth and nature of love" can be presented onstage--and we know Romeo and Juliet did that.

Shakespeare in Love

There follows a joke about cloaks and Sir Walter Raleigh, another chance for us to project. The Queen asks Will to produce something more cheerful for Twelfth Night, and we know he will produce that delightful comedy but innot ! Then follows a drowning scene as Viola and Wessex sail to Virginia after all, if it worked in The Piano, why wouldn't it work here?

In the last shot of the film, Viola as sole survivor walks from sea to land across a deserted beach. We are, I guess, to think of the second scene of Twelfth Night although in Twelfth Night she was accompanied by the sea captain Antonio and some sailors.

On a blank sheet, Shakespeare writes "Twelfth Night, Act I," and, in voiceover, begins to describe the plot of that comedy. But--and this is the astonishing thing! More obviously, what the voiceover gives us is not lines from the play Twelfth Night, but a recounting of the plot, a synopsis such as one would write as part of a "treatment" for a modern film.

What this Shakespeare is writing is not the Elizabethan play Twelfth Night, but a twentieth-century "project," a film treatment of Twelfth Night!

Shakespeare in Love () - Plot Summary - IMDb

Surely this is the ultimate breakthrough from the staged and filmed story to life, to the medium we are at that very moment seeing before us. But I am playing critic. Perhaps 'twere to consider too curiously to consider so. The film crosses yet another barrier between life and art in the final performance scenes, the barrier between audience and actors. The camera filming includes both players and spectators and so melds the audience's oohs, aahs, boos, and tears--real life--into the onstage play.

The film also has fun with the closeness of audience and actors in the Elizabethan public playhouse.

shakespeare in love facts relationship

We see the groundlings staring raptly up at these loving and dying actors not six feet away from them. I stood as a groundling that first summer the New Globe in London was in operation.

I was tremendously excited at the prospect of actually seeing the things I had learned in my decades-old seminar. The theater itself is as exact a reproduction of Globe II as could be made, and it is an extraordinary sight. It is elaborately ornate in the Tudor-Jacobean mode with gilt and color and paintings and mascherons on the back facade, faux marble columns, and a painted "heavens," but that big open playing space, forty feet by forty feet, is just out there and waiting.

shakespeare in love facts relationship

The circular building means that wherever you sit or stand on the asphalted groundling-space you are within about thirty feet of the actors. At court, Shakespeare manages to goad Wessex into betting the grand sum of fifty pounds that a play cannot capture the nature of true love.

If Romeo and Juliet is a success, Shakespeare as playwright will win the money. The Queen, who enjoys Shakespeare's plays, agrees to be a witness to the wager.

The true purpose of the meeting is revealed when Wessex announces his intent to marry Viola. The Lord of Revels, an official of the Queen, learns that there is a woman in the theater company at the Rose playhouse. He orders the theater closed for this violation of morality and the law. Left without a stage or lead actor, it seems that Romeo and Juliet must close before it even opened.

Shakespeare is offered one last chance by the owner of a competing theater, the Curtain, who offers his own theater to Shakespeare. Shakespeare will take the role of Romeo himself, with a boy actor playing Juliet. Viola learns that the play will be performed on the very day of her wedding. After the ceremony, Viola's loyal nurse Imelda Staunton helps her slip away to the theater.

In one final twist, mere moments before the play begins, the boy playing Juliet starts experiencing the voice change of puberty. Viola takes the stage to replace him and plays Juliet to Shakespeare's Romeo. According to Douglas Brode, the film deftly portrays many of these devices as though the events depicted were the inspiration for Shakespeare's own use of them in his plays. The daughter of his enemy! His best friend is killed in a duel by Ethel's brother or something.

His name is Mercutio. Burbage promises the payment the next day, so Marlowe refuses to part with the pages and departs for Deptford, where he is killed.

It has been suggested that it is a memorial reconstruction by the actors who performed the work. His plays The Duchess of MalfiThe White Devil are known for their 'blood and gore', which is humorously referred to by the child saying that he enjoys Titus Andronicusand also saying of Romeo and Juliet, when asked his opinion by the Queen, "I liked it when she stabbed herself. This is a reference to the fact that several versions of Shakespeare's signature exist, and in each one he spelled his name differently.

Simonwhich also features Shakespeare falling in love and finding inspiration for his later plays. In a foreword to a subsequent edition of No Bed for Bacon which traded on the association by declaring itself "A Story of Shakespeare and Lady Viola in Love" Ned SherrinPrivate Eye insider and former writing partner of Brahms', confirmed that he had lent a copy of the novel to Stoppard after he joined the writing team, [19] but that the basic plot of the film had been independently developed by Marc Norman, who was unaware of the earlier work.