Act 1, Scene 13 – “But who is she?”

dabbling in politics2-page-001Notes on History is Written by the Winners

Shakespeare and The Lady return to centre stage this week, trying to stay on the right side of the Tudor establishment (or heads will no doubt roll).

As she notches up her third appearance in the series, regular readers may be wondering who the Lady actually is – and to be honest, I’m not rightly sure myself. She turned up in Sonnet 29 and that sparked new ideas for further cartoons with her and Will. Giving him a confidante brings him down from his iconic pedestal and nicely sets him up for sitcom shenanigans.

But who is she? Well, that’s up to you. She could be Anne Hathaway. She could be the Dark Lady. (She’s certainly got the hair like black wires, which seems to get bigger and crazier every time I draw her…) She could be a real woman who was the inspiration for Rosalind or Beatrice. If you’re feeling in a fantastical mood, she could even be a muse. I’m going to go out on a limb and say she’s probably not Gwyneth Paltrow.

Historians among you may have noticed a bit of a deliberate error here. I had the Lady  first meeting Shakespeare at the peak of Falstaff-mania (so around 1597 in real life), but here she is offering notes on the writing of Richard III (written about five years earlier). I’m pretty much abandoning any attempts to stick to the real-life chronology at this point – basically it’s going to be as if all the events of Will’s life are happening at once, with him working on whatever play happens to be funny. Elizabeth will be queen forever (and she wouldn’t have it any other way…), unless I come up with something involving Macbeth, in which case James I will probably have to show up at some point.

Richard III almost certainly never strangled a puppy in real life, although he may have attempted to trade one for a small duchy…


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