Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Great Regulars: Shakespeare's allegorical subtext has long kept

the scholars asking questions. If the phoenix represents Elizabeth, does the turtle-dove represent her lover, the second Earl of Essex, executed in the February of 1601? Do the many birds represent specific historical figures? Could the "bird of loudest lay" in line one be a disparaging reference to James I of Scotland? Those who share the persuasion that Shakespeare was a secret Catholic sympathiser have taken a different view, and, for some, the phoenix and the turtle-dove represent the martyred St Anne Line and her husband, Roger.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: The Phoenix and the Turtle by William Shakespeare


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