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Why did Shakespeare leave his wife and children after the birth of the twins, Judith...

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reem1994 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 23, 2008 at 4:16 PM via web

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Why did Shakespeare leave his wife and children after the birth of the twins, Judith and Hamnet?

i really can not understand why, i mean didn't he love his wife and children. I tried to search for an answer but all of them are different answer so i would like to know the true answer because i have to do a research topic about his life and i have many questions that should be answered and this question is one of them. thank you.:p

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sampiper22 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 23, 2008 at 10:36 PM (Answer #1)

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You're not alone: no-one knows and no-one really understands. Certainly, as an actor and playwright, Shakespeare needed to be at the hub of social and Court life, which was London; there is speculation that Shakespeare was almost forced into a loveless marriage to Anne Hathaway because he had got her pregnant and he used his career as an excuse to avoid her; there is speculation that Shakespeare continued to court various female companions in London whilst married. The fact that Shakespeare only left his wife their second best bed in his will is often interpreted as some form of rebuke to her.

Carol Ann Duffy and Germaine Greer, however, both imagine the married life of Shakespeare to have been loving and caring, despite perhaps occasional lapses in behaviour. Duffy's poem "Anne Hathaway" is an intersting read which interprets the second-best bed as being the marital bed and a sign of intimacy. Greer relies on historical traditions and parallels to show that it was unlikely that Hathaway would have been abandoned by Shakespeare. Instead, she presents Hathaway as an extremely capable, business-minded and practical woman.

References:

Carol Ann Duffy "Anne Hathaway" The World's Wife

Germaine Greer "Shakespeare's Wife"

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growly | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 23, 2008 at 8:35 PM (Answer #2)

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The short answer is this: we have very little reliable information on Shakespeare's life. Most records would have been destroyed in the Great Fire of London about 70 years after he died. What we can assume is that he, as an actor and playwright, found working in London a necessity [like an actor having to work in Hollywood today] and that he found life there much more exciting than in a small Stratford cottage with two young children...

Below are a few links that may offer some more insight into this question--you should be able to find enough there to make a good start on an essay.

Sources:

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 23, 2008 at 10:08 PM (Answer #3)

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You are not the first to have so many questions about Shakespeare's private life.  The truth is, we have very little reliable information about his life before he moved to London.  The most probable reason that caused him to leave his home, his wife, and his children is the death of little Hamnet.  We don't know for sure, but I also believe that Shakespeare loved his family, and a death of a young child is always traumatic even though it was far more common in Shakespeare's time than in ours.  It is also possible that he left for the city in order to better provide for his family.  There was more opportunity for making money in the city than in the countryside, and as history has shown us, Shakespeare's work became very lucrative as he became more well-known. 

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lo-odio | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 5, 2009 at 5:17 AM (Answer #4)

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While there are some existing records about Shakespeare, there are two periods of his life, about 6 or 7 years each, and a few years apart, that are known as the "lost years" or the "dark years", that no one knows what was happening to him. There are a few things wrong with the other answer that you recieved, they are that Shakespeare stayed in Stratford (even after he retired), so if he intened on staying in London, probably owning several properties in Stratford isn't such a good idea. The other thing the is wrong with the other answer that you got is that Shakespeare had three children: Hamnet, Judith, and Susanna. Not much is known about Judith, though, so it's understandable that the other person wouldn't know about her.

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shoesrock | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted February 26, 2009 at 12:01 AM (Answer #5)

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  1. shakespeare left his family because he was on drugs and had raybes and was on the run from the cops i know this because im his long lost wife tiffany

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