It’s never been a source of much interest to me whether or not Shakespeare did write all those plays, sonnets and, for all we know, the blurb for some early Fringe shows. Did he? Probably.
It reveals the snobbery of the Anti-Shakespeares that virtually all the contenders for the “Who Wrote Hamlet?” competition are titled people, because, apparently, the son of a glover and a man who himself seems to have worked for his money can’t possibly be refined enough to craft such marvellous work.
Shock, horror – people who aren’t born with money, land and titles can write good poetry too. Look at Burns. Move on. That’s the least interesting mystery of Shakespeare.
They wonder, did he visit Italy? Could have. Our ancestors were as up for a jaunt as we are, but they didn’t have EasyJet, Expedia and the pilgrimage didn’t come packaged. They did much the same things too. They packed essentials, although in their case it wasn’t 100ml shampoo bottles but the silver-bound heart of a king, handy to chuck into any ambush situation in Spain. So, yes, he might have.
On the other hand, Shakespeare could have parked his bahookie in a waterside tavern in London and talked to folk who had travelled, and then used his imagination. It’s another little mystery about him.
Now, did he believe in witches? You bet he did. Bill’s world had no doubt whatsoever that the weird sisters were abroad and up to mischief of an evening.
The opening sequence of Macbeth, one of the most brutal PR hatchet jobs in history, made utter sense to him, and his audience.
No, the biggest mystery of Shakespeare to me is not his identity or his travels. It is that first scene in The Scottish Play, where somehow he manages to get three women together at one time, just to shout career advice at a passing Thane of Cawdor.
Wednesday afternoon, I arrange to meet two other friends. We decided to forgo the misty moor and cauldron and instead settled on a very nice coffee shop.
There are, however, two coffee shops with the same name.
Cue massive confusion as three weird sisters rush around the city, whilst shouting into mobile phones, frantically texting and dodging buses up the Bridges to cross the roads at breakneck speed.
Come on, Bill. Getting three women together at the same time? Now that’s a mystery.