Getting at the Truth in Three Shakespearean Plays

Every work of fiction worth its salt has a truth concealed in it. As the story unravels in a book or on stage and screen, the truth is arrived at, otherwise, the story turns out drab and boring, resembling one in which prince and princess meet, fall in love, marry and live happily ever after. Who can derive entertainment from such? Not even a child.The great dramatist, William Shakespeare, the master of suspense creates mysteries in all his plays – comedies and tragedies alike, hiding their solutions and bringing them to the light when the time is ripe. The genius that Shakespeare was enables him to reveal the truth in manifold ways – subtle and graceful such that when it finally dawns on the readers or the audience or even on the other characters in the play from whom the truth is hidden at the beginning, it comes naturally and understandably. They say to no one in particular, “Hmm, I thought as much…”William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, a substantial citizen of that small but busy market town in the heart of the rich agricultural country of Warwick. John Shakespeare kept a shop and dealt with wool and other products, gradually acquiring property. As a youth, he acquired the trade of gloves and leatherworkers.John married Mary Arden, daughter of his father’s landlord. The third of their eight children was William. He was sent to free grammar school which provided basic education in Latin learning and literature and a little knowledge of Greek.There is little documentation for Shakespeare’s boyhood. The most important record is a marriage license issued November 22, 1562, to permit William Shakespeare to marry Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior. 1592, the first reference to Shakespeare as an actor and playwright was available. Documents indicate that in 1598, he was “a principal comedian” and in 1603, he was a “principal tragedian”. Shakespeare’s literary activity seems to have been almost entirely devoted to the theater.