Saturday was Shakespeare's 447th birthday, and as part of the Happy Birthday Shakespeare project, I'd like to share some pictures and thoughts from my recent visit to Stratford-upon-Avon.
|Shakespeare's Grave, Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon|
|Anne Hathaway's Cottage, childhood home of Shakespeare's wife|
There are several reasons some people doubt Shakespeare actually wrote Shakespeare. However, the most ludicrous to my mind is this: Shakespeare grew up in a small town in rural England and never traveled any farther than London. His life experiences wouldn't have given him the keen understanding of human nature we see in the works attributed to his name.
Let's put this argument in perspective. Many of Shakespeare's plays are histories. If we're to believe he couldn't have understood people well enough to write the complex relationships he did, then how would Francis Bacon, the Earls of Denby and Oxford, or Christopher Marlowe (all given as potential candidates) have been able to write about events in the past? They didn't experience them, so surely they couldn't have written about them.
|King James Bible, first edition. Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon|
|Guild Chapel, King Edward VI Grammar School, Stratford-upon-Avon|
|Carnegie Library, Stratford-upon-Avon|
This is why writers need to read. It is not so we understand how to use language, when to follow the rules and when to break them. Those are things we learn in the process of attaining a greater wisdom:
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Hamlet, Act I, Scene v, 166-167)
If you want to write like Shakespeare, if you want to live in a world that is wider than you can imagine, then you must read.