Its 1606 and the oh too familiar terror has returned to London.
A certain William Shakespeare Esquire the Baird of Stratford Upon Avon has confined himself and holed himself up in his lodgings in Southwark, London , and rather than wallow self-pity or plummet in the terror of impending doom he sets to work on what were to become his finest works. Coupled with this the people were experiencing a Jacobean lock-down with many of the theatres closed So he had a little else to do but to ruminate and create.
The voices of his childhood, the actors whom he worked with his contemporaries and his family disturb both his waking and his sleeping hours.
King James book of orders had all the hallmarks of our modern lock-down though was it equally motivated by the inherent suspicion of a Scottish Monarch ruling its Southern neighbours a theme that still resonates today.
The main plays in question Macbeth, King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra.
Distrust and paranoia were rampant the gun powder plot a recent memory and he was living in an atmosphere where if the plague didn’t curtail your life being discovered as a Catholic would lead to an all the more bloody grisly demise.
James 1st was the monarch was mindful of possible up-risings particularly from the Catholics, the gun-powder plot was still a recent memory and as some of Shakespeare’s contemporary’s had discovered to their cost notably Ben Johnson narrowly escaped hanging drawing and quartering, any adherence to Catholicism would be very painful if not lethal, as could any hankering towards Witch-craft
It was against this back-ground that Will started to complete his works.
Shakespeare’s secrets examines how the events of the time influenced the direction and content of his plays could it be that
Macbeth was written to placate King James, a cautionary tale to any would be usurpers with witches thrown in for his amusement , could it be his relationship with his father that influenced his approach to Cordelia and Lear
At the same time this enforced lock-down forces him to confront his own demons. Particularly guilt associated with his family and the death of his beloved son Hamnett , dis-satisfaction that he couldn’t earn the respect of his Father a self made man who mysteriously fell from favour.
These themes of loyalty, love, enmity and betrayal are all explored in his works of the time, indeed could it have been his own experiences which forced him to change the ending of King Lear..
Shakespeare’s secrets explores and uncovers the man, as THE LOVER THE HUSBAND, THE FATHER and the ENTREPRENEUR.
Much has been written about his Complete works but little is known of the man himself.
Just as lock-down has forced us to hold a magnifying glass up to our own lives and aspirations we do the same with the great Baird.
How did the humble under-educated son of a glove-maker go forth to become one of the most revered and oft quoted writers of our times.