Monday, April 6, 2020

William Shakespeare Bi Pride! 3 Keys to Unlock His Hidden Queer History

The latest TikTok, all about William Shakespeare, has three keys, revealed below...

@leewind William Shakespeare Bi Pride! ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queer ##historybuff ##bisexual ##lgbtq ##pride ##love ##gaypride 3 keys to unlock.
♬ Everyone Is Gay - A Great Big World

Henry VIII and Homophobic British Law (Key 1)

In 1553, under King Henry VIII, a new law made a guy loving another guy a crime punishable by death. It was the law of the land during William Shakespeare's life (He was born in 1564.)

Sonnet 144 (Key 2)

Most of the time, when students learn about Shakespeare, no one mentions the Sonnets. There's debate about whether or not they are autobiographical—I think they are. Sonnet 144 is the clearest about Shakespeare having romantic interest in both a man and a woman. It starts with these lines:

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still;
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman color'd ill.

There are 154 of these love poems, 28 addressed to a "dark lady" and the other 126 addressed to "a man right fair."

Some of the most famous lines of Shakespeare, like this opening to Sonnet 18,

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;

were lines he wrote to this guy he loved.

Mr. W.H. (Key 3)

The identity of the guy Shakespeare loved isn't known. The Sonnets, when they were published, were dedicated to a "Mr. W.H." and historians don't agree on who that was. But it's fascinating (and empowering) to know the Bard of Avon was a guy who was Bi.

Queer Pride!

Queer History really is Everywhere.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you. Stay safe,

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