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Q: Shakespeare ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Shakespeare
Category: Family and Home > Families
Asked by: renoir-ga
List Price: $6.00
Posted: 13 Jan 2004 08:57 PST
Expires: 12 Feb 2004 08:57 PST
Question ID: 295955
Shakespeare had a son named Hamnett who died as a young boy.  I need
the following: (1)  approximate age of son at death, (2) cause of
death if known and (3) words that Shakespeare wrote about the pain of
the death filling up the boy's room.
Subject: Re: Shakespeare
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 13 Jan 2004 09:39 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear renoir,

I. Hamnet Shakespeare, and his twin sister Judith, were christened on
2 February 1585, so they were most likely born only short time before.
Hamnet died in Stratford-upon-Avon on 11 August 1596, when he was 11
years old. His sister, by the way, lived to the age of 77.

II. The cause of Hamnet's death is, acording to all sources I found,
unknown. There are speculations that he died of the plague, which is
might be possible; but there is no definite evidence for this and
there was no recorded outbreak of the Black Death in
Stratford-upon-Avon that year. However, there were many diseases, even
common ones, that could lead to death in 16th century England. So it
will remain unknown of what cause Hamnet Shakespeare died.

III. There are no known written words by Shakespeare referring
directly to his son's death. However, it has often been suggested,
that the lines in King John, beginning with "Grief fills the room of
my absent child" (Act III, scene IV), reflects Shakespeare's grief.
The full quote, spoken by the character of Lady Constance, is:
"Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
Then, have I reason to be fond of grief?
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.
I will not keep this form upon my head,
When there is such disorder in my wit.
O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!"

Main sources used:

Internet Shakespeare Editions: Shakespeare's Life and Times - Married Life A Shakespeare Timeline - Part 1 (1558-1599)

Absolute Shakespeare: Shakespeare Timeline

Shakespeare Online: Shakespeare's Biography

Books and Writers: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

The Litrix Reading Room: King John, by William Shakespeare - Act III, Scene IV

Shakespeare History Hall Forum: Re: What did Hamnet Shakespeare die
of?, by Nagsheadff

FamilySearch Genealogy Database

Search terms used:
"Hamnett" "william shakespeare"
"william shakespeare" hamnet judith
"hamnet shakespeare"
"hamnet shakespeare" 1596
hamnet shakespeare 1596 plague
hamnet shakespeare 1596 cause
hamnet shakespeare wrote room
"king john" "grief fills"
hamnet plague

Hope this answers your questions!
Best regards,
renoir-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Terrific answer.  All the  info I was looking for. And the words by
Lady Constance were exactly the words I was looking for.  Thank you.
$4.00 tip

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