What is love?
“Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs,
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes,
Being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers’ tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.”
— William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet | Act 1, Scene 1”
Did Shakespeare fall in love, or just watched others fall? Records indicate he was 18 when he married 26 year old, Anne Hathaway, who six months later gave birth. Shakespeare later left for London, without his wife; he soon after found endearment with the females and the males. Who was his “master mistress of my passion” ?
Shakespeare in Love, is currently running at the Baltimore Center Stage. It is filled with intrigue. Imagine Shakespeare suffering from writer’s block, and having to depend on a friend (Marlowe) to relay words to enchant his muse!
Shakespeare is a renegade in this play: broke and borrowing money, climbing out his lovers window. We have not come far from that era when men treated women as property, and their value was whether their jewels can reproduce children.
Class distinction exited in that epoch, it is a little subtle today, yet it exists. In the television reality show Shahs of Sunset, Asa of Iranian decent, has a child with a black man, (Jermaine Jackson). The other Iranian and Jewish friends on the show, have showed “fumes of sighs”.
Shakespeare knew he could not marry the woman of his dreams, for his blood line did not match up. Was William Shakespeare the real Romeo, and therefore neither could not live apart from his Juliet?
Just like Love and Hip Hop, the “madness of love” is not discreet, and it is where angels do not tread, for they would become human and be choked with passion.