Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare)

Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare)

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Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare)

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Anne Hathaway (1555/56 – 6 August 1623) was the wife of William Shakespeare. They were married in 1582. She outlived her husband by seven years. Very little is known about her beyond a few references in legal documents, but her personality and relationship to Shakespeare have been the subject of much speculation by historians and creative writers.

Life

Anne Hathaway is believed to have grown up in Shottery, a small village just to the west of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. She is assumed to have grown up in the farmhouse that was the Hathaway family home, which is located at Shottery and is now a major tourist attraction for the village. Her father, Richard Hathaway, was a yeoman farmer. He died in September 1581 and left Anne the sum of £6 13s 4d (six pounds, thirteen shillings and fourpence) to be paid "at the day of her marriage".

Wedding

Hathaway married Shakespeare in November 1582 while pregnant with the couple's first child, to whom she gave birth six months later. Hathaway was 26 years of age; Shakespeare was only 18. This age difference, together with Hathaway's antenuptial pregnancy, has been employed by some historians as evidence that it was a "shotgun wedding", forced on a reluctant Shakespeare by the Hathaway family. There is, however, no evidence for this inference.

For a time it was believed that this view could be supported by documents from the...
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