What was the relationship/support between Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakepeare?We are doing a huge project in school and this was one of the questions asked. I do not know very much about...

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jdellinger's profile pic

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Queen Elizabeth was a huge supporter of the arts in England, in fact she even wrote poetry herself. She attended plays at the Globe theater where Shakespeare wrote and his plays were performed.

shakepoetry's profile pic

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It is rumored that Queen Elizabeth paid Shakespeare to pretend that he wrote the plays and to keep the fact that her rumored secret bastard son, Edward De Vere, was actually writing the plays, a secret.

rmrose's profile pic

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Interestingly, it was shortly after this 2d Epilogue was written, in 1599, that Kemp and Shakespeare parted company. Neither had anything good to say about the other, after that.

Kemp referred to Shakespeare as "Shakerags," and he commemorated his departure from the company, by dancing a famous Morris dance, from London to Norwich -- over 100 miles, lasting several weeks -- which he described as a dance, "out of the world" (a pun on The Globe).


rmrose's profile pic

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There is no evidence that Elizabeth ever went to The Globe. Southwark was a slum neighborhood, filled with brothels, playhouses, thieves, pickpockets and many activities where it may not have been proper for the Queen to be.

We know, from a letter, that Elizabeth attended Blackfriars. It may have been to "hear" a play (as the Elizabethan's described playgoing), but that is not clear. Also, this was probably before Shakespeare began writing plays for that indoor space.

Shakespeare's company was, during Elizabeth's reign, The Chamberlain's Men. The Chamberlain was responsible for all court functions, including court entertainments. The company bearing the name of his office, and for which he provided patronage, may have had preference at the court. We know they were not at court every year, but, they did perform there regularly.

Shapiro, in his book, "1599, A Year In the Life of Shakespeare," convincingly argues that a confusing epilogue in 2 Henry IV, is actually 2 epilogues accidently combined.

One was written for and delivered by Will Kemp (who played Falstaff).

The other, obviously delivered by Shakespeare himself, apologizes for an inferior play (Merry Wives? 1 Henry IV?), and "promise[s] a better," while kneeling before the Queen. Clearly he delivered this to Elizabeth, after she "heard" the play. 2 Henry IV was performed at Whitehall, during Christmas, 1598.

Fascinatingly, the one can be found in 2 Henry IV at Epilogue, lines 1-15, with Kemp's at lines 16-23.


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