Is it actually Will’s birthday? No one knows, but there is a tradition that ties it to 23rd April because he was baptised on the 26th.
Anyway happy birthday Will.
As we recently published Math Jones‘ The Knotsman, which is set about a century after Shakespeare’s time and in Worcestershire, rather than Warwickshire, and is in any case, a not quite historie, as Shakespeare’s histories are not quite historie, I’ve been looking for links.
this is not quite research – a lighthearted look at the knot in Shakespeare.
Was Shakespeare a knotsman, or did he know someone who was?
He uses knot to mean a group of people, often when that group is not entirely to be trusted, and ocassionally to mean a meeting of said group.
And to mean a contract, or bond, particularly of marriage.
He shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance
Page, of a suitor in Merry Wives of Windsor
I’ll have this knot knit up tomorrow morning
Capulet, when Juliet submits to the marriage with Paris Romeo & Juliet
Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven… The bonds of heaven are slipped, dissolv’d, and loos’d; And with another knot, five-finger-tied,
Troilus and Cressida, when Troilus discovers Cressida is promised to another.
To hold you in perpetual amity, To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
With an unslipping knot …
Agrippa proposing a marriage in Anthony & Cleopatra
Math Jones takes this imagery literally and has his characters tie, and untie, betrothal ropes, with terrible consequences. Lives and loves unravel, and the Knotsman must run for his life.
Knot pictures from the recent Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern