SHAKESPEARE IS A WOMAN: THE Legend of the Fritton Gold
Before anything else, we got to admit that it's the time of the year when love and laughter seem to always be at their peak and evidently, the warmth and ambience of the season are already seeping into our skins. But then, before we get too immersed in the festive mood of Christmas, I would just like to talk about something that might concern you less than it concerns me. But still, I hope to just as well invoke the same thoughts in you as those that have been invoked in me.
Generally, we all know who Shakespeare is, of course. But then, we all know him in different ways and from different perspectives.
To certain art enthusiasts, he is a jolly good fellow who seems to write in rhymes and address love and death and magic with the purity of a saint and the villainy of a devil.
To laymen who care nothing about literature, he is a popular poet that has attained longevity and immortality on Broadway, in the encrypted pages of obscurant middle age English and of course, in the hearts of year old generations.
To English students like myself, he is that horror of a person who has lived as far back as the 14th/15th century but still haunts our sleeping and waking thoughts with endless iambic pentameters and fetish love and brutal suicides and dark magic and a sweet knack to love like him or better still, be like him.
In one way or the other, I can relate to all of these varied perceptions about Shakespeare. But recently, I have come to believe and hold more sacred this one singular perception of Shakespeare:
Shakespeare is a woman, a sweet adorable blonde who showed us that there are more than one ways to be a man.
But before you easily dispose me of my well-meaning perception and call it a symptom of some schizophrenic shit, let me just take you through how I got to this near conclusion.
THE LEGEND OF THE FRITTON GOLD
As you would already detect, I love to watch films especially those that relate somewhat to real-life situations. So yes, I watched this film. I won't try to bore you too much with the details. But it's all about some school, St. Trinians, with a bunch of Avatar girls and a legendary headmistress, Camila Fritton. The Fritton family who established the school and has been in charge of its affairs are surrounded by the myth of a brutal pirate. This pirate, Camila's ancestor, who lived more than 420 years away from Camila's time was greatly feared by many sailors and captains. At about a time, he made a dreaded appearance to a certain captain who hated Queen Elizabeth because she was ruling in the stead of a man and he had, in fact, prepared a potion, to kill her. Fritton caught up with him while he was out on the sea, took away the portion and made a mockery of the man. The man, humiliated, promised to make Fritton pay for preserving the Queen.
And 420 years down the line, his offsprings were still gunning at making sure the Fritton lineage pays. By now, they had formed a secret society of powerful and highly placed men called AD 1. But these men were not so much as concerned with the Frittons as they were with two interlocked rings. These rings were supposed to lead to some treasure chest belonging to Fritton. Somehow, the first ring was found within the St. Trinians school and it was usurped. Camila and her avatar chicks were slighted by the masculine brutality accorded them, and they vouched to get both rings and get to the treasure first. They did get the second ring, as well as the first with the help of a stray AD 1 member. The longitude and latitude engraved into both rings led them to the destination of the treasure chest, which turned out to be the Globe Theatre. After putting up with a lot of theatrics at the Globe Theatre, they not only found out that there was no treasure, but they also realised that the whole treasure hunting was meant to lead them to a particular truth:
Pirate Fritton was, in fact, Shakespeare, and Shakespeare was in truth a woman. This was the one truth the AD 1 had known and were trying to protect having realised the commotion it would cause in the world.
Now, this sounded stupid to those who watched this movie with me. But because I actually have read a lot about Shakespeare and the English theatre, it all suddenly made sense. All the contentions about Shakespeare suddenly got solved in this one sentence: Shakespeare is a woman
Let me show you what I mean
1. Playwrights and the English theatre
Back in those days, women were considered as merely, you know, women. And one job they could not take on was acting or playwrighting. Men wrote the plays just as they acted the plays (even the women roles). It was unthinkable for a woman to do any of these. Shakespeare had lived all his life in a small town (Warwickshire). And till date, many have contended on his movement to the big theatre scene. Some said he was first a teacher, others said he got married somewhere, and some people still think he joined some small theatre group before moving to the Lord Chamberlain group. One thing was certain though. He/she started out as an actor, and then as an excellent one at that. He was a beautiful actor who finally got a shot at having some of his earlier written plays acted.
My thought is historians lost a major part of Shakespeare's history. They cannot manage to connect his earlier life in some small town as one of seven children to his big shot life in London. What if, just what if, that was his moment of reconciling with the fact that if he/she wanted to be anywhere near a theatre's backstage, she had to be a he. What if that was the moment of transition to being a male?
2. His Sonnets and Homosexuality
Ask any literature professor about Shakespeare's one hundred and fifty four sonnets, and the first thing you expect to hear is that they are as controversial as the harmattan wind in a hot climate. They flow in a transition, but one thing that connects them together is that they mostly express love and admiration for a young man. This very issue of an almost obsessive love for some unidentified man has made many to conclude that he is gay. Although there are parts where he professed attraction to a black woman, the purest of the sonnets were addressed to a man. What if Shakespeare liked this particular man, being a woman, but could not find a way to express this, having gone transgender except through these encoded sonnets?
3. Setting of plays
If you read many of Shakespeare's plays, they are usually set in faraway lands that defy comparison. An example is Tempest, A Midnight's Summer dream. This might confirm the fact that she/he might have travelled overseas. And the themes of the plays, especially the romantic ones, seem to express love from a womanly angle. The woman suffers most in the love scenes and makes the sacrifices common to the medieval love drama. Examples are Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear etc.
4. His/her picture
Would you believe me if I say nobody actually knows the way Shakespeare looks like? The single picture that has been paraded all around was a painting found in a circumstantial way and it is profoundly based more on speculations than facts. Unlike Marlowe and Jonson whose pictures are authenticated, Shakespeare still carries a speculative face in the world of literature.
I could go on and on about how Shakespeare's marriages have been highly debated and how he never had a single survivor in the long run and how some of his works were actually made into books by close friends...
I could go on and on and give you a thousand and one reasons why I think Shakespeare is a woman, but I know you won't believe me. Well, to tell you the truth, I don't even believe myself. I am simply awed by the possibility of the assertion being true.
And I would want the scholars in the community to tell me what they think. Are there enough grounds to prove that Shakespeare is, in fact, a woman?
And yes, have you noticed the earring in his right ear. She/he always wears it. If I must tell you, this is not quite a practice in the middle ages.