A pregnant bride, a father-god who lived in fear of detain, a son-in-law charged with an offence carnal copulation: Shakespeares own family was just as wild and wicked as his formations. Illustration: Matthew Richardsonby Simon Callow
Shakespeares inclusiveness, the overwhelming feel in the plays that all human life is there, is necessary that focusing on any aspect of the labour will cause dividends. Shakespeare and war, Shakespeare and affection, Shakespeare and medicine, Shakespeare and sodomy: all provoking, all surprising, all resonant. But Shakespeare and the family is in a different conference. He is, in a particularly potent gumption, the Family man. These fundamental rapports fathers, sons, fathers, daughters, brethren, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, cousins are at the heart of one participate after another. How else could it be for a scribe whose theme is the experience of being human? Which of us has not been modelled, for better or for worse, by those relationships, or by their absence? And beyond the domestic realm, their own families tower huge in his work in quite another way: the fate of people, equally have been established by blood ties.