British Literature 2322 Extra Credit
April 12th, 2001 | Back to Blog Listing
British Literature I English 2322 T-TH
April 12th, 2001
The Reality of Shakespeare's World
Extra Credit Paper

Shakespeare in Love

I found that Shakespeare in Love was a fantastic interpretation of sixteenth century London as we have studied in class. In addition to the movie representing the time period quite well, I feel that the script and especially the actors did a wonderful job of telling the story of Mr. Shakespeare.

In order to analyze this movie, I think it must be stated that the movie touches on more subjects than just Shakespeare's life and playwriting career. It depicts very emotionally the idea that women were not part of the theatre, and were certainly not to dress up as men as Viola does (played by Gwyneth Paltrow). Of course, I say that this is emotional because it depicts how a person, especially of this time, could be so fascinated with the idea of acting that they could risk not only embarrassment to themselves but even punishment. As we progress into the movie, we learn that Viola is to marry a Lord under the blessing of the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth. As we discussed in class, regarding Anne of the Thousand Days, when you are to be married under consent of the King or Queen, you are married. It is not necessarily a topic up for discussion. It is in this regard that movie strongly depicts how powerful love can be, and perhaps should be. While Viola is already engaged in breaking the law acting under the name of Thomas Kent, she has an affair with Shakespeare which despite a previous ruler, Henry VIII, was not a pleasantly looked upon event at this time, especially regarding the woman. They did an exquisite job depicting the severity of these actions in the play and make the thoughts of the consequences between the characters seem very real.

I reviewed parts of the movie on the DVD and also with some friends of mine who had seen the movie before to try and find errors in it. Not so much errors of speech, but rather anachronisms, something that I always try to look for in movies not set in this time period. In a two-hour movie I was only able to find two of these with the help of my girlfriend. I have studied Shakespeare before in my day both independently to an extent, and more so in classes. As trivial as it may seem, I have been told that Shakespeare did not write his plays with regards to scenes and much less acts yet in the movie this is used. I checked up on this and it seems to be a solid fact. After doing some research, I also discovered that another anachranous part of this movie was the discussion of tobacco plantations, which did not get going until the early to mid 1600s. Fortunately enough this information coincided with my History class and since the movie takes place in the very late sixteenth century, I find it difficult to believe that tobacco plantations in the new land would have been a discussion.