Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Question About Shakespeare's Kids

It dawns on me this morning that I don't know the answer to this question:  Would Shakespeare's family (Ann and the kids, that is) have seen his work?  How and when exactly would this have happened?  Would they have trekked into London?  How old would the kids need to have been? 

I guess I've always assumed that while they may have known what Dad did for a living, that they wouldn't necessarily have ever seen the plays.  But I don't have a reason for thinking that one way or the other.


Alan K.Farrar said...

Most likely not - Greer (bbke), for example, suggests Ann might not even have seen the plays.
The easiest way would have been for the plays to come to Stratford - but, if my memory serves me correctly, the town council was a bit on the puritan side and wouldn't give permission for the plays to be performed - and council records for the time show no sign of it.
Travel was not a norm for the time (remember, one point of being 'King's men' is protection from prosecution as yo move around the country).
It would be a two ay journey - fast but meaning a week away from home at least: Why?
I know local people here in Romania who have never left the local area in the whole of their lives - we are talking a maximum of 60 kilometres - on good roads: especially the women.
Serving girls would not travel home from work for years - if ever again.
There is the possibility of them having seen plays locally - and if Dad were in the area performing (but not Stratford) I can't imagine them not going over to see him - but maybe not the play.
And the boy, if he went to school, would have performed in school as part of his lessons - but not his dad's work.
Shakespeare's brother became an actor - so he would almost certainly know the works.
There was a lot of trade between London and Stratford (a regular cart service) so other (male) Stratfordians would have seen the plays and reported back - so the girls would certainly know of their father's success.

Gedaly said...

Like most questions about Shakespeare's life, this one can be answered with a firm maybe.