Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter

In Shakespeare In Love, a young Will Shakespeare is angry that his girl-friend has stepped out on him so he destroys his newest play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. As the narrative progresses, he is smitten with the woman he learns is Viola de Lesseps and proceeds to pour forth words of love and longing, overcoming his writer’s block, and creating Romeo and Juliet. Good story, right? But everyone knows that Shakespeare was copying and improving on earlier works such as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke (Italian) and the Palace of Pleasure by William Painter.

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