On 6 August 1623, William Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway died.
I don’t think that there was just one summer where Anne fell in love with William, and she got pregnant.
|Anne, far right, with her family|
I like to think it was simply a matter of his liking her, and her liking him. He made her laugh, and she made him laugh.
Since he would become famous for writing and acting, she may have been the very first person he wanted to impress and entertain.
More than any woman in his life, Anne Hathaway was his muse. She was the goddess who inspired him to write and perform.
When he began to dream of becoming a writer and actor, she may have been the first one he shared this dream with. It says a lot about her that she allowed him to pursue that dream. I like to think that she encouraged it.
She stood by him all the years, when they had children, when he went to London, when he risked his life and reputation on stage (during the period of the Essex Rebellion) and when he became a King's Man to King James, starting in 1603.
None of these years would have been easy, and there were probably more bad years years than good.
In all those years she had as much to gain as her husband did, and she had as much to lose.
I like to think that by the time that he died in 1616, she was as responsible for his success as he was.
We don't know much about the years after Shakespeare's death.
How exactly was he remembered?
But we do know that just after her death, the First Folio (the collection of Shakespeare's plays) was published.
It is impossible for me to believe that she did not know this, and that her late husband's best friends in the world, Richard Burbage and Henry Condell, would not tell her that they had gathered the plays, edited them and were preparing to publish them in a book.
It must have made her very happy to know that the plays would not be soon forgotten, and may have a chance at being read and performed in the years after.
I don't think she would have had any idea that these plays would endure and be so successful some 400 years later!
I hope you join me today in remembering this remarkable woman. Without her, one could argue that we would not have the works of Shakespeare. For that, we should be forever grateful to her.
David B. Schajer
Anne and William Shakespeare's Wedding
Fifty Shades of Shakespeare
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