Raising Hamnet
In Response To: "In Search of Shakespeare" ()

The Apostle Paul was called a tentmaker and the poet Ben Jonson a brick layer. Shakespeare himself was the son of a glove maker! Sounds like a revival of Athenian (and later New Testament) royal interest in the trades to me!

When the monasteries of England were disenfranchised there was an urgent need for the royal family to restructure certain industries, such as wool production/distribution. They would not have left such an important source of income up to the "free market", but controlled it through new operatives, such as John Shakespeare.

The Arden/Shakespeare family was however ruined during Queen Elizabeth's period of "zero tolerance" toward Catholicism in the 1580's (leading up to the defeat of the Spanish Armada). Shakespeare however was "saved" by his marriage to the already pregnant Anna Hathaway. Evidently some prince or nobleman (such as Sir Lucy or even Lord Essex/"Hamlet") had knocked the woman up and Shakespeare took the responsibility for it. Shakespeare was also apparently in the north of England when Hamnet and his twin sister were born and only came back to Stratford in time for the baptism. When Hamnet "died" at the age of eleven, Shakespeare's family was suddenly rewarded with a coat of arms and Shakespeare purchased the biggest house in Stratford! Yes, it definitely seems that Hamnet was being raised in Stratford (or at least on occasion being exposed to country/village life there) as part of a broader education. What better way for the nobility/royalty to maintain their intimate knowledge of indigenous life?

The Elizabethan court decided to give the fledgling London Theater a helping hand, and in the process gave us a rare glimpse into royal culture. The "beautifying" process of Shakespeare reminds me of the scene in the movie Amadeus where Mozart reworks a composition of the aspiring hacker Antonio Salieri:

Shakespeare is royal literature through and through. Was Shakespeare then himself royalty or merely the producer of royal plays? That is the question! The answer will reveal much about the royal "matrix". Any historian, hacker or not, should be jumping at the opportunity to decode this mystery.

To this end ...

The part about the Shakespeare Company putting on the play Richard II for an extra 40 shillings is patently symbolic. The Company was effectively saying to Queen Elizabeth that this was their price for "betraying" Essex to her. This defense in itself betrayed a sophistication and awareness that commoners could not be expected to possess in that age.

Wood concludes that Shakespeare was the cryptic "W.S." chastised by the disident Catholic/Jesuit priest Robert Southwell for extolling the glories of love rather than God, "the duty of poets"! However, it seems much more likely that W.S. was instead the self-enamored Earl of Southhampton (who was mentored in secret by Southwell) rather than Shakespeare.

Finally, Michael Wood states that Emelia Lanier Bassano, a "dark-skinned Jew from Venice", was the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets, and discusses the record of her consultation with a quack doctor/fortune teller to whom she disclosed her adulterous pregnancy and marriage to a musician who wasted her fortune! But, again, the more important question is not, who was the Dark Lady, but who wrote the Shakespeare sonnets.

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