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Shakespeare in Love

Question: How did Will not recognise Viloa in her boy disguise? Even in disguise, you can clearly see it's her, and she didn't sound like a boy.

Answer: In real life, Viola, of course, would be recognized as a female in disguise. However, in literature, film, opera, etc, it often is necessary to employ what is known as a "suspension of disbelief." That is, the author expects the reader or audience to know something is impossible, unlikely, or completely unreal, but they have to accept a certain premise in order to allow the plot to unfold. We go along with the idea that no one realizes Viola is actually a woman, so that we can enjoy the overall story.

raywest

Question: At what point does Will actually realise that Thomas Kent is really Viola?

Answer: When they are in the boat, just after "Thomas Kent" delivered Viola's farewell letter to Shakespeare. After a brief discussion about Will's feeling's for Viola, Thomas (Viola) kisses a surprised Will Shakespeare, then rushes away when the boat docks. The ferryman comments to Will that it was actually Lady Viola.

raywest

Question: The scene when Wessex thinks that Shakespeare is dead, but he then comes into the church and Wessex thinks he is a ghost come to haunt him, seems like the scene in Shakespeare's play Macbeth when Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost. Is this another example by the film-makers of showing how Shakespeare's life inspired his plays, or just a coincidence? Was Macbeth written before or after this film was set? Thanks.

Answer: Oh, it's undoubtedly intentional, another of the many nods to Shakespeare's work scattered throughout the film. The precise date of authorship of Macbeth is unclear, but even the earliest likely date is still some years after the setting of the film.

Tailkinker

Question: When Will is on the boat with Viola, he begins a speech "Love knows nothing of rank or riverbank." Is this from one of Shakespeare's actual plays, or was it just written for the movie?

Answer: It was just written for the movie.

Tailkinker

Question: Why is Rupert Everett not credited? His part certainly merits it.

Answer: Actors, on occasions, choose not to be credited - generally if they're appearing in a relatively small role, one smaller than you'd generally expect that person to play.

Tailkinker

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Quotes

Queen Elizabeth: Have her then, but you're a lordly fool: she's been plucked since I saw her last, and not by you. Takes a woman to know it.

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Mistakes

When Will shouts "Follow that boat!" a motorboat speeding by is visible in the lake.

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Trivia

The young boy in the film is John Webster. Webster himself became a famous playwright in the 1600's; his speciality was writing gruesome plays foregoing the love and tenderness of Shakespeare and Marlow. Could this be why we see his character feeding the mouse to the cat?

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