JOYCE ON WHETHER SHAKESPEARE WROTE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. This continues my response to Nick’s request that I tell some of my reactions to ULYSSES as I go along. Obviously, I am continually struck by the extent to which the fiction of ULYSSES tracks the minute details of Dublin and of Joyce’s life. This gives special interest to one of Stephen Dedalus’s theories about Shakespeare. Some writers—Mark Twain, for example—have argued that the William Shakespeare, the man from Stratford, could not have written the plays because fiction must be based on personal experience. Steven Dedalus takes it for granted that the man from Stratford wrote the plays, but draws detailed conclusions about Shakespeare’s life from the plays. As an example, Stephen notes that William Shakespeare had three brothers: Gilbert, Edmund, and Richard. He attaches significance to the fact that Edmund in King Lear and Richard III are black villains and “the theme of the false or the usurping or the adulterous brother” is always with Shakespeare. He counters the rebuttal that Richard’s name was found in the chronicles Shakespeare used by saying: “Why did he take [those names] rather than others.” Stephen then suggests that Will Shakespeare’s brother Richard committed adultery with Ann Hathaway by pointing to the scene where Richard III seduces Ann: “Richard, a whoreson crookback, misbegotten, makes love to a widowed Ann (what’s in a name)…”

This entry was posted in Literature. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.