Shakespeare’s Real Romeo And Juliet Essay

1004 words - 5 pages

Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, is quite possibly his most well-known story.The story details the devoted relationship of two star-crossed lovers. Despite the story’s popularity, many people are unaware that it is based off of true events. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was based off of the lives of his friends Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton and his wife, Elizabeth Vernon.
Henry Wriothesley, often referred to as Southampton, was born on October 6 in 1573 to Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton and Mary Browne. Southampton became the 3rd Earl at a young age. His father died two days before his eighth birthday and as the only surviving son, he ...view middle of the document...

As a courtier, he advised the Queen on different matters. This is how he met Elizabeth Vernon. (“William Crashaw’s Library”) As a lady-in-waiting, any relationship that she went into had to be blessed by the Queen. The Queen, however, did not bless their relationship. This was because Robert Cecil, Lord Privy Seal, intended for Southampton to marry a woman named Elizabeth de Vere, but he refused. The Queen had supported this union, and therefore did not bless the union of Southampton and Elizabeth Vernon. Because of this, Southampton and Elizabeth Vernon kept their relationship a secret. It is thought that they made a secret vow to marry about a year before their actual marriage.
Despite their efforts to keep their relationship a secret, and Elizabeth Vernon became pregnant. She and Southampton then wedded secretly. Queen Elizabeth found out and was outraged by their traitorous and deceitful actions (“Henry Wriothesley”). As punishment, she sentenced Elizabeth Vernon to a term of imprisonment in Fleet Prison. Southampton was gone on a trip to France and Queen Elizabeth ordered him back (Acheson & Roydon 54) Even after the term and release from the prison, they were never again in her favor. Still, they continued their marriage and the two ended up having three children together.
Their relationship is much like Romeo and Juliet’s. Like in the play, Southampton and Elizabeth Vernon were star-crossed lovers and were not meant to be together, a decision made by a higher power. They married in secret and paid a price for their actions, which in this case was not death, but imprisonment. It is possible that Romeo and Juliet may have been written for them as a wedding gift as it was written about a year before their marriage, around the same time that Southampton and Elizabeth made their wedding vow. This makes sense because Shakespeare and Southampton were close friends and confidants at this point. This play went on to become not only...

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