The Confusion about Shakespeare’s Marriage

There are two documents that record the marriage of William Shakespeare and Anne but they are dissimilar.

On 28 November 1582 a 40-pound bond was paid to the Bishop of Worcester to obtain William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway’s marriage license (see here). It was a sworn statement which confirmed that there were were no impediments to the marriage, which therefore was to be considered legal and lawful.
Later this marriage bond was presented at the local church allowing them only one reading of the Banns, instead of the traditional three times, the usual way to guarantee that there was nothing in the way of a legal union. But that procedure was time-consuming and Anne was in a hurry: she was pregnant and she need to get married as soon as possible.
The surety bond, which was actually paid for by two friends of the recently deceased Richard Hathaway, was also a way to safeguard the bishop from any future possible objections.

But in the Episcopal register at Worcester there is another entry, the previous day, which records the granting of a license to William Shakespeare to be able to marry a certain Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton.

These two recordings on the dates of 27 and 28 November 1582, show that Shakespeare wanted to marry a young girl named Anne.

Was he involved with two women?
Had he chosen to marry Anne Whateley? And when this came out was he immediately forced by Hathaway’s family to marry their pregnant relative? A “shotgun wedding” imposed on a somewhat reluctant Shakespeare? Who knows…

Some scholars are convinced that the name Whateley was almost certainly the result of a clerical error.

William married Anne Hathaway late in that November and a few years after the marriage he left his wife and children and moved to London to pursue a career in the theatre.

Several researchers think that Shakespeare despised his wife and felt entrapped by her, one of them (Frank Harris in his book The Man Shakespeare) even says that “Shakespeare’s loathing for his wife was measureless”
According to another he was trying to quickly marry young Anne Whateley, because a dreaded arranged marriage was being forced on him by his and her relatives.
He was going to get married and leave town (just like in “Romeo and Juliet”) but the following day he was caught up and forced to comply with a that shotgun wedding.

Did he eventually leave Strafford-upon-Avon just because divorce was nearly impossible in that era?

Image: This portrait was supposed to depict Anne Whateley, but now it is usually identified as a probable image of the poet Girolamo Casio, painted by Giovanni Boltraffio.

La confusione relativa al matrimonio di Shakespeare

Ci sono due documenti che registrano il matrimonio di William Shakespeare e Anne ma sono dissimili

Il 28 novembre 1582 fu pagata una cauzione di 40 sterline al vescovo di Worcester per ottenere la licenza di matrimonio di William Shakespeare e Anne Hathaway. Si trattava di una dichiarazione giurata che confermava che non vi erano impedimenti al matrimonio, che quindi era da ritenersi lecito e legale.
In seguito questo documento matrimoniale venne presentato alla chiesa locale e rese possibile una sola lettura delle pubblicazioni, invece delle tradizionali tre volte, consueto modo per garantire che non vi fosse nulla che impedisse un’unione legale. Ma quella era una procedura richiedeva molto tempo e Anne aveva fretta: era incinta e doveva sposarsi il prima possibile.
La garanzia, in realtà pagata da due amici del defunto Richard Hathaway, era anche un modo per salvaguardare il vescovo da eventuali future obiezioni.

Ma nel registro episcopale di Worcester c’è un’altra voce, il giorno precedente, che protocolla la concessione di una licenza William Shakespeare per poter sposare una certa Anne Whateley di Temple Grafton.

Queste due registrazioni nelle date del 27 e 28 novembre 1582 mostrano che Shakespeare voleva sposare una giovane ragazza di nome Anne.

Ma era coinvolto con due donne?
Aveva scelto di sposare Anne Whateley, ma quando fu scoperto, venne immediatamente costretto dalla famiglia di Hathaway a sposare la loro parente incinta? Un “matrimonio riparatore”, imposto a uno Shakespeare un po’ riluttante? Chi lo sa…

Alcuni studiosi sono convinti che il nome Whateley fosse quasi certamente il risultato di un errore materiale.

William sposò Anne Hathaway alla fine di quel novembre e pochi anni dopo il matrimonio lasciò moglie e figli e si trasferì a Londra per intraprendere la carriera teatrale.

Diversi ricercatori pensano che Shakespeare disprezzasse sua moglie e si sentisse intrappolato da lei, uno di loro (Frank Harris nel suo libro The Man Shakespeare) dice addirittura che “l’odio di Shakespeare per sua moglie era smisurato”
Secondo un altro William stava cercando di sposare in fretta e furia la giovane Anne Whateley, perché un temuto matrimonio combinato con Anne Hathaway, incinta, gli veniva imposto dai parenti sia suoi che della donna.
Aveva intenzione di sposarsi e lasciare la città (proprio come nella trama di “Giulietta e Romeo”) ma il giorno seguente fu preso di peso e costretto a rispettare un matrimonio riparatore.

Alla fine se ne andò da Stratford-upon-Avon solo perché il divorzio era quasi impossibile in quell’epoca?

Immagine: Questo ritratto dovrebbe rappresentare Anne Whateley, ma si ritiene che sia un’immagine del poeta Girolamo Casio, dipinta da Giovanni Boltraffio.

82 thoughts on “The Confusion about Shakespeare’s Marriage

  1. Alcuni di coloro che dubitano della sua autenticità ritengono che le opere ad essa attribuite siano, in realtà, il frutto del lavoro di un gruppo di scrittori. Altri credono che si tratti di un unico autore, che potrebbe essere Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon o Christopher Marlowe. E fino ad ora i dubbi saranno latenti perché non c’è certezza che sia così. Una lettura molto interessante come tutti i tuoi scritti. Ci dai le linee guida per indagare ulteriormente. Saluti Luisa.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alcuni pensano che le sue profonde conoscenze sull’Italia, presenti nelle sue opere, siano la prova che fosse italiano. Un tal Michelangelo Florio, figlio di Giovanni Florio e Guglielmina Crollalanza, che erano calvinisti e dovettero rifugiarsi in Inghilterra.
      Il cognome stesso, Shakespeare, è la traduzione letterale del cognome della madre: Shake(Scrolla) – speare(lancia).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Luisa, 🎷💛👑, good morning here it is morning 7:50 a.m. gloomy dark rainy windy snowing lousy so I’m sitting up in bed since 7 a.m. with maxi my beautiful cat 10 years old and I’m reading this after two eye surgeries one that didn’t go good and I feel like I’m very very lucky to be reading this and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for just being there a neighbor showed me how to get back on and I’m absolutely thrilled my mind will be happily expanded again thanks to you and all of my fellow bloggers the interesting stories and quotes comments and thoughts I was alone on Thanksgiving by choice if I can’t be with the ones I want to be with because they’ve passed away then my happiness is with my animals and now I can get back on and see what’s happening Shakespeare huh my old age I’m getting interested in him just wise the wonderful Edward Woodward the British television star movie star singer for the Queen of England handsome mysterious exciting gentleman that unfortunately passed away several years back he was lucky enough to buy a home right near Shakespeare’s when on television on a talk show and bragged about it it’s nice good day my lady my queen my friend. 👑💛.

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    1. Dear Sharon, I too lately have had eye problems and I am having eye injections in day hospital once a month, Sight is a precious gift and I am sorry to hear hat one of your eye surgeries did not go very well.
      Take care of yourself , cuddle your furry friends and let them love you
      A big hug 😘💝😘💝😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry about your eye problems I didn’t know it’s very hard being on the internet when you can’t see I’m using a microphone right now I’m still waiting to get prescription glasses it’s very hard for me to get there I had stomach test the other day and I was stuck at the hospital for another 4 hours four and a half hours of tests and then 4 hours waiting for a ride home if I could have walked and I would have if I could have flown back home I would have but waiting for people that promise and sometimes they just can’t keep their promise it’s scary when you have a hard time walking with total hip replacements and you have a hard time seeing because of eye surgeries then you have a hard time eating because of stomach problems wow the old days when you could run and eat anything and drink anything and see you maybe some day in paradise but this isn’t Paradise love you thank you for being there and keeping us all knowledgeable and all infatuated with the arts love you stay cool calm and collective

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  3. A very interesting one. Maybe there were two WIlliam Shakespeares? But I gather there’s no evidence there was. Maybe it is a clerical error? Again I gather there’s no other record of this Anne. But again, that surety bond does seem a bit unusual actually. I know Hathaway was pregnant–so this cut down on the amount of banns being read–but that was quite common in these days. Again though a great post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As you suggest, some scholars argue that the name was not that unusual, and that perhaps there were two William Shakespeares.
      As for the other Anne I found something … I’ll talk about that in a future post
      Thanks a lot for your continued support and encouragement – both of which are greatly appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Che intrigo!!! Altro che i Malavoglia… Tutta questa storia d3l matrimonio di Shakespeare non la conoscevo proprio, un bellissimo gossip, se anche all’epoca fossero esistiti i giornalisti di oggi giorno, avrebbero fatto uno scoop da milioni di copie😊 Buona serata carissima Luisa 😘 oggi sono arrivata molto lunga, è un periodo che sono completamente assorbita dal lavoro 😌

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  5. Nice share Luisa. There is one thing that I like about Shakespeare, his life is so well documented. Best regards Luisa, for this festive season!?💕

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Written in two languages. And sorry, I only understand the English version.

    Interesting story that I haven’t found on other blogs (or I’m playing less, I don’t know)

    Thanks for sharing. Who doesn’t know Shakespeare?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the kind comment and appreciation,
      When I publish a post, if I have time, I share it not only in Italian, but also in English, so that most of my friends can understand it, However, there is also a translator on my blog , bottom right (I think)

      Like

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