Theme in 'Shakespeare in Love'

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Describe one idea worth learning about in the text. Explain why it was worth learning about.

John Madden’s Shakespeare in love is a ‘romantic comedy’ set in sixteenth century England. Through its two unfortunate protagonists, Will Shakespeare ‘a lowly player’ with writer’s block and wealthy Viola De Lesseps who dreams of ‘love as there has never been in a play,’ it explores the idea of ‘the truth and nature of love’ in the Elizabethan era. Madden portrays the harsh realities of the time through filmatic techniques such as dialogue, motifs and costuming to constantly remind the viewer throughout the film that the romance that is shared by Will and Viola cannot last in sixteenth century England. This is worth leaning about because as a 21st century viewer I become more able to appreciate the struggle faced by the two protagonists, especially Viola as a woman, in the name of love.

Madden makes it clear to the viewer from the beginning of the film Shakespeare in Love, that the truth of love in sixteenth century England which is based on the idea of marriage as a method of obtaining social or financial gain divides the two protagonists who are separated by the class system. Madden enhances this key idea through the use of dialogue in Will and Viola’s conversations. Viola is quicker to come to terms with the inevitable idea that their love is ‘too flattering sweet to be substantial.’ The two are living in a brief ‘dream’, which can only last until Viola’s marriage to Wessex. “Master Will, poet dearest to my heart, I beseech you, banish me from yours –I am to marry Lord Wessex-a daughter’s duty.” However Will and Viola continue to pursue their risky love, getting caught up in the romance and Will boasts to Viola “for one kiss, I would defy a thousand Wessexes!” As a twenty-first century teenager, the concept of a class system preventing two people who love each other from being together was new to me. However I admired and appreciated the two protagonists...
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