1 year ago
Friday, April 23, 2010
My hobby is Shakespeare. So, since today is William Shakespeare's birthday, I thought I'd reprint an older post for the occasion.
I call this “That Whatley Girl.”
In a recent post, we were talking about young Will Shakespeare’s marriage to Anne Hathaway. But there’s a mystery about that marriage that has had scholars puzzled for a couple of centuries. When the clerk of the court wrote out the license, he gave the bride’s name as “Anne Whatley.” Her name – she’s known as the Second Anne – appears there and nowhere else.
Could it be that the clerk was just careless or incompetent? That he had meant to write “Hathaway” but it had been a long day and he was tired? Because it’s a fact that the mistake, if it was a mistake, was corrected and the marriage that finally did take place was definitely between Will S. and Anne Hathaway; she was his wife and the mother of his children.
So novelists have made up a True Romances story; it would make a good TV soap. In their scenario, Teenager Will had as his true love the beautiful Anne Whatley (they might have looked like the couple above); she was the girl he wanted to marry. He went so far as to make application for the marriage with the clerk of the court.
But the Hathaway family, not to mention his own family, told Will that was out of the question. The Hathaway Anne was visibly pregnant and he was responsible so he could just forget about that other Anne, the Whatley girl – who wasn’t even from Stratford.
So Will had to forget about his true love.
Well, that’s the story. It’s all pure speculation, but it makes for a more interesting scenario than the one about the clerk of the court who simply had a bad day and mistakenly wrote down the wrong name.
Again, have a nice birthday, Will.