William Shakespeare’s Marriage

William Shakespeare got married to Anne Hathaway, who resided in the Hamlet of Shottery, a town lying only a mile away from William’s hometown, Stratford. Their marriage is was a hasty and yet a confusing affair that still provokes curiosity and ambiguity to its occurrence. Some official recordings and facts have paved way for this confusion as of today and make their marriage’s history a mystery nonetheless. There have been recordings of their age at the time of marriage, the date of birth of their daughter, the ceremony of their marriage, and recordings of William having associated with some other woman, all of which form several mysterious elements regarding the marriage and invoke questions that are still answered.

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William tied the knot in 1582, so it has been recorded. But after checking the birth records, it was found that William was eighteen at that time and Anne was twenty-six. This was a considerable age difference at that time and should have aroused strong disapproval from William’s family. And then there is also the event of a sudden wedding. Anne got a noteworthy share from her father’s will which she brought along at the time of marriage to William. The marriage was held in a church (Hampton 102). The element of curiosity therein lies in the fact that in early England there were two ways of obtaining a legal marriage. One was going through a stage of “Crying the Banns”, where two or three weeks prior to the marriage were reserved for any objections to be entertained regarding the marriage. And then there was a faster way which required a bond to be made to act as an evidence of the union. In this case, announcing only one time at the time of the marriage that the couple is to be wed was required. William and Anne chose the second, the faster route to their marriage (William Shakespear). Why were they in a hurry? And why did they want to avoid any objections? Surprisingly, the real matter behind their marriage, other than their fondness, was kept hidden for some reason. But why was that? Several theories have been put forward and the foremost being that William might have got Anne pregnant prior to marriage, and being such a disgraceful act, it had to be redeemed through a hasty marriage ceremony to allow Anne to not lose any respect along with that of both the families. Also, this theory explains clearly why Susana, William’s first daughter was born only six months after their marriage! (Hampton 110) This theory resolves this confusion to a great extent, but then there others that follow.

When William filed for that particular bond for marriage, he got himself registered twice, and both times for different women. One was Anne Hathaway and the other was Anne Whateley. Who was Anne Whateley? Nobody knows, as no record of her exists, which on the other hand does for Anne Hathaway, the real wife of William. It is said that William may have fallen for this other lady but after hearing upon Anne’s condition of pregnancy, he may have canceled his newest commitment and got married to Anne in a rush as said. On the other hand, it could be said that there was just a mistake in recording (Lee 220). The accuracy of each of these statements is still questionable.

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After their marriage they had three children: Susana, and the twins Hamnet and Judith who were named after William’s lifelong friends. William and Anne lived much of their married life in Stratford, the rest of which was far less dramatic and eventful as their marriage though, filled with William’s many accomplishments as a writer and his family’s support for him. Apart from the confusion vested in their marriage, they led a good life together.

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