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Obliviate Offline
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Was Shakespeare Gay? - August 30th 2010, 06:43 PM

Last year we began to study Shakespeares sonnets at school, to prepare us a little for a GCSE's.
My English teachers both mentioned the fact that shakespeare could be gay and that a few of his sonnets imply this.
Sonnet 20 seems to be one of the major ones we studied in which we began to grasp some meaning as to who it was written about and what he was saying.
Some people believe that on line seven he is refering to a man named Willie Hughes who used to play young female roles in plays.

Take a look on Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexuali...am_Shakespeare
I know it's not always very reliable on there, but it give a good explanation and arguements for both sides.

Homosexuality was something that people didn't discuss in the seventeenth centuary, as it was seen as wrong and sinful.
Shakespeare married a woman named Anne Hathaway at 18 years old, which throws a spanner in the works. Did he infact love her? or was he just trying to hide his sexuality?

I want to know what you guys think
It's be really useful for some of my english coursework




   
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Re: Was Shakespeare Gay? - August 30th 2010, 07:01 PM

I think this is widely accepted to be fact.
The marriage doesn't mean anything -- you could not be openly gay in the Elizabethan era, you married as it was what was expected of you.


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Re: Was Shakespeare Gay? - August 30th 2010, 07:02 PM

Bill Bryson has written a very good (and short) book on Shakespeare which discusses this issue among others - I can't remember if it refers to Sonnet 20 in particular but it gives a pretty good account of the arguments around this topic so it's worth a look.

My take on it is that you could look at any one of Shakespeare's works, interpret them in any number of ways and draw whatever conclusion you feel like about Shakespeare as a person. Many speculated that his numerous references to Italy and Italian towns in his works meant that he had visited the country, when all the evidence suggests he never left England. The biggest problem is that - as Bryson points out in explaining the brevity of his book - there is very little concrete evidence about Shakespeare's life other than the year he was born (we're not even 100% on the date), where he worked and when he died, either by accident or perhaps by design. The amount that we known about him in terms of objective fact is marginal compared with his contemporaries. Hence why speculation arises from studying his works. As far as his own life is concerned, it's worth noting that his marriage to Anne Hathaway was rumoured to have been accelerated on the grounds that she was already pregnant with their first child (which again Bryson notes in his book), from which you can take what you will.

It's one of those topics which rears its head every so often, but from what I can gather the evidence for it is pretty patchy.


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Re: Was Shakespeare Gay? - August 31st 2010, 09:14 AM

I thought he was meant to be bisexual-ish... like he was fluid? The idea he was kinda fluid or open minded isn't that bizzaire, look how queer some of his writings were. Just look at Twelfth (sp) Night.

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Homosexuality was something that people didn't discuss in the seventeenth centuary, as it was seen as wrong and sinful.
It wasn't discussed not simply because it was seen as wrong (I mean look at the Bible belt, in the US, they are always talking about it), but they also didn't even have the word, or quite the concept yet (I believe that was in the 19th century). As in the concept of orientation didn't really exist, and most people werent aware some people would go with the same sex.... But I mean Shakespear was in the theatre, it was full of queers

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Re: Was Shakespeare Gay? - August 31st 2010, 09:01 PM

so you think he could've been interested in men aswell as women? even though there is no actual hard evidence?
plus it's believed that he may have cheated on his wife, with several different women ..




   
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Re: Was Shakespeare Gay? - September 1st 2010, 12:46 PM

If I'm honest, it really wouldn't suprise me if he was into men and women, and was a bit of a whore. You know those romance arty-types
   
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Re: Was Shakespeare Gay? - September 1st 2010, 11:27 PM

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If I'm honest, it really wouldn't suprise me if he was into men and women, and was a bit of a whore. You know those romance arty-types
This^. Although, granted, I know someone in the past said that Shakesphere was more than one person...not sure if I believe that. But I'm willing to bet he probably did have an interest in men.


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Re: Was Shakespeare Gay? - September 2nd 2010, 03:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Invert View Post
If I'm honest, it really wouldn't suprise me if he was into men and women, and was a bit of a whore. You know those romance arty-types
Yeah, yeah. Definitely digging that.



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Re: Was Shakespeare Gay? - September 3rd 2010, 01:48 AM

Ok I knowwww Shakespeare in Love isn't supposed to be historically accurate, but I'm pretty sure they hinted at his fluid sexuality in that. Aside from that, I agree with above posts. I think he may have been bisexual. Or just....artistic and romantic and curious.


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