Study Guide

Shakespeare in Love Love

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"Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs." () "Why are you grown so rude? What change is this,
Sweet love?
." " Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

We could fill a whole book with love quotes by Shakespeare alone. One of the reasons Shakespeare is still loved today is because he tapped directly into the heart—pun intended—of the matter.

The movie is called Shakespeare in Love, so of course the film explores the theme of love. Most importantly, it shows us his creative process. (It involves him being naked a lot.) He has to feel the kind of love he writes about first, before he can put it on the page.

Questions About Love

  1. Why do Will and Viola love each other? Why is their love so passionate?
  2. Why is love important to Viola? Could she ever grow to love her husband, Lord Wessex?
  3. The Queen speaks of "courtly love."  Is Shakespeare in Love about courtly love or another kind of love?
  4. How does Will translate his love for Viola into sonnets and into the play Romeo and Juliet?

Chew on This

Shakespeare is inspired to write because he loves Viola, and he loves Viola because she inspires him to write. Each passion feeds and drives the other.

Viola reads a lot of poetry, so she wants love that is like poetry. She would never be satisfied with anything mundane.

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