Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ask the Experts

Where: Venice, Italy. When: right now. Who: me. What: gelato, pretty glass objects, mazes of streets, endless amazing sights.

The real label of this post should be Ask "the Experts," indicating my own humility in offering an opinion on the big question: Did Shakespeare ever travel to Italy himself or did he just make all that [expletive] up?

So, right. I'm posing as an "expert" here, in answering that big question. Right now, I have to say NO. Here's my thinking. It's not what Shakespeare put in (for example, references to the Rialto); it's what he left out. I think that if he had actually visited Venice, he would have put more details into his plays. The piazza San Marco? Doge's Palace?

In Merchant of Venice, he writes about the mercantile underworld of Christians and Jews. In Othello, he starts to get at the real sources of power in this city. At this moment, I'm thinking that he would have brought more to the table, to show his knowledge of the place independent of the travel narratives accessible to him. To be continued . .  .

No comments:

Post a Comment