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The wedding ceremony began at the door of the church and the ring was blessed. Afterwards the wedding party entered the main body of the church for nuptial mass. It is difficult to define the exact nature of Anne and William's relationship due to a lack of documentary evidence. William Shakespeare signed his will on 25 March Some have read this as a slight against Anne; but the second-best bed would have been their marriage bed, since the best bed was typically reserved for guests.
Review: Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer | Books | The Guardian
Under medieval common law in England a widow was entitled to one third of her late husband's estate for her life or widowhood even though it was not specifically mentioned in the will. In practice however, most wives were mentioned, usually in terms of affection and trust, and were frequently made executrix of the will. For a time it was believed that this view was supported by documents from the Episcopal Register at Worcester, which records in Latin the issuing of a wedding licence to "Wm Shaxpere" and one "Annam Whateley" of Temple Grafton.
He had chosen to marry one, Anne Whateley , but when this became known he was immediately forced by Hathaway's family to marry their pregnant relative.
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Harris believed that "Shakespeare's loathing for his wife was measureless" because of his entrapment by her and that this was the spur to his decision to leave Stratford and pursue a career in the theatre. However, according to Stanley Wells , writing in the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare , most modern scholars take the view that the name Whateley was "almost certainly the result of clerical error".
Germaine Greer argues that the age difference between Shakespeare and Hathaway is not evidence that he was forced to marry her, but that he was the one who pursued her.
Women such as the orphaned Hathaway often stayed at home to care for younger siblings and married in their late twenties. As a husband Shakespeare offered few prospects; his family had fallen into financial ruin, while Hathaway, from a family in good standing both socially and financially, would have been considered a catch.
Furthermore, a "handfast" or probationary marriage and pregnancy were frequent precursors to legal marriage at the time. Examining the surviving records of Stratford-upon-Avon and nearby villages in the s, Greer argues that two facts stand out quite prominently: Shakespeare was bound to marry Hathaway, who had become pregnant by him, but there is no reason to assume that this had not always been his intention.
It is nearly certain that the respective families of the bride and groom had known one another. Three children were born to Hathaway and her husband: Susanna in and the twins Hamnet and Judith in Hamnet died at 11 years old during one of the frequent outbreaks of the bubonic plague and was buried in Stratford upon Avon on 11 August Apart from documents related to her marriage and the birth of her children, the only recorded reference to Hathaway in her lifetime is a curious bequest in the will of her father's shepherd, Thomas Whittington, who died in Whittington left 40 shillings to "the poor of Stratford", adding that the money was "in the hand of Anne Shakespeare wife unto Master William Shakespeare, and is due debt unto me, being paid to mine executor by the said William Shakespeare or his assigns according to the true meaning of this my will.
One view is that Whittington may have lent Anne the money, presumably because she was short of cash while her husband was away. More likely, however, it may have been "uncollected wages, or savings held in safekeeping", since the will also lists debts owed to him from her brothers in the same amount. In , Hathaway's daughter Susanna married the local doctor, John Hall , giving birth to Hathaway's and Shakespeare's granddaughter, Elizabeth. The following year Judith married Thomas Quiney , who was a vintner and tavern owner from a good family, in February when she was 31 and he was Shakespeare may later have disapproved of this choice when it was discovered that Quiney had got another girl pregnant; also, Quiney had failed to obtain a special wedding licence needed during Lent, leading to Judith and Thomas being excommunicated on 12 March.
It has sometimes been inferred that Shakespeare came to dislike his wife, but there is no existing documentation or correspondence to support this supposition. For most of their married life, he lived in London, writing and performing his plays, while she remained in Stratford.
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However, according to John Aubrey , he returned to Stratford for a period every year. In his will Shakespeare famously made only one bequest to his wife, his "second-best bed with the furniture". There is no reference to the "best" bed, which would have been included in the main bequest to Susanna. This bequest to Anne has often been interpreted as a slight, implying that Anne was in some sense only the "second best" person in his intimate life.
Germaine Greer suggests that the bequests were the result of agreements made at the time of Susanna's marriage to Dr Hall: Shakespeare had business ventures with Dr Hall, and consequently appointed John and Susanna as executors of his will. There is indication that Hathaway may have been financially secure in her own right. The bequest was thus not as minor as it might seem in modern times. If so, then the bed that Shakespeare bequeathed to Anne could have been their marital bed, and thus not intended to insult her.
However, the will as initially drafted did not mention Anne at all. It was only through a series of additions, made on March 25, , slightly less than a month before Shakespeare died, that the bequest to his wife of his "second best bed with the furniture" was made. Author Stephen Greenblatt in Will in the World, suggests that as Shakespeare lay dying, "he tried to forget his wife and then remembered her with the second-best bed. And when he thought of the afterlife, the last thing he wanted was to be mingled with the woman he married.
There are four lines carved in [Shakespeare's] gravestone in the chancel of Stratford Church: Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To digg the dust encloased heare: Bleste be ye man y't spares thes stones, And curst be he y't moves my bones.
A tradition recorded in is that Hathaway "greatly desired" to be buried with her husband. The inscription states, "Here lyeth the body of Anne wife of William Shakespeare who departed this life the 6th day of August being of the age of 67 years. How much rather would I pray that the good angel should move the stone so that, like Christ's body, thine image might come forth! But my prayers are unavailing. Come quickly, Christ, that my mother, though shut within this tomb may rise again and reach the stars.
One of Shakespeare's sonnets , number , has been claimed to make reference to Anne Hathaway: His love for his children is expressed in his plays. While he may have enjoyed other infatuations or even affairs, he would have likely returned to Stratford at Lent and other times when the theatres closed such as epidemics of plague.
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Accidents were the leading cause of death in Elizabethan era childhoods. But infections were basically untreatable and a number of common things may have killed little Hamnet. The gardens were beautiful. Just love it there.
This conspiracy theory about Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare has people shooketh.
It would have possibly been the bed where their children were conceived, and maybe he and she were sentimental about it. Just a thought, and a different perspective. I thought this was very helpful; I am studying Shakespeare, and writing a biography, and I interpreted this as very helpful because I have a specific section in my biography about William Shakespeare about his wife.
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