Shakespeare, William


At last we know what Shakespeare looked like, thanks to a portrait recently discovered. He looks very pale, but with rosy cheeks, and the expression of someone trying hard not to be sick…

First quarto
A pint wasn’t enough for the first drink of the evening.

Dark Lady
His favourite cocktail.

Shakespeare’s language got a bit fruity after a couple of Dark Ladys.

Bard of Avon
Eventually he was banned from all the pubs in Stratford.

Anne Hathaway
“She hath a way of making me feel guilty for spending all of my time in ye boozer”, he is reported to have said of his wife.

Anne always suspected he was up to something with one of the barmaids.

Big quill
What the barmaid called him.

Second best bed
Anne would often make him sleep in the spare room when he came home drunk.

Globe theatre
All the world’s a stage, said Shakespeare, and used this as his explanation for spending all the money he’d raised to build a theatre on drink instead.

He tells us which of his plays are supposed to be funny. This is particularly helpful as the text tends not to contain any jokes as such.

When a pretentious audience member laughs at a Shakespeare joke in order to show that they have understood the references.

He had one at the Stratford nick.

Problem plays
The “comedies”, to be honest.

Iambic pentameter
This is a very very long line of verse, being five feet. Shakespeare had problems finding a rhyme, and often just kept going until he found one. Eventually he decided not too bother rhyming and wrote blank verse instead,

The King’s Men
Shakespeare’s group of actors. They went on to have a huge hit with “Louie Louie”.

Doubts have regularly been expressed about whether Shakespeare actually wrote his plays, and suggest that they could have been written by a group of people. However, this has been dismissed on the basis that in a group, there would almost certainly have been at least one person who could write a joke.

Will and Anne

Rhyming couplet
Will and Jill.

Will and Jill and Emma

Women of easy virtue. EG Jill and Emma.

The pub would employ people to help drunks off the floor.

Will’s explanation to Anne of where he had been the whole evening often turned into one of these.

How he felt when he woke with a hangover.

Lord Chamberlain’s Men
The police officers who regularly arrested William for being drunk and disorderly.

Exit, pursued by a bear
His funeral was an unusual affair. Serves him right for nicking the bear-handler’s drink.

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Not FOR beginners, but BY beginners…