The Dark Lady: Shakespeare's Mistress?

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The question that has countless scholars perplexed still goes unanswered: Who is the dark lady? In Sonnet 130 William Shakespeare writes about a mysterious mistress that raises controversy between many literary scholars. There are many accusations over who the dark lady might be, but one woman’s name shows up in the myriad of essays and articles that were written regarding the debate that has seemed to die down throughout the years. Emilia Lanier (maiden name Bassano) seems to be the killer of this old dispute, and is undoubtedly the perfect fit to the unsolved puzzle in numerous scholars’ minds. Emilia Bassano was born in London in 1570. She was the daughter of Baptiste Bassano, and the identity of her mother remains unknown. Due to her Italian heritage she had dark, olive toned skin, and was strikingly beautiful to everyone’s eye. In her mid-teens she became a mistress to a patron if William Shakespeare’s theatre. Lord Hundson, Emilia’s lover, introduced Emilia to the life of theatre, and also introduced her to Shakespeare’s circle of friends (“Emilia Lanier”). Simon Foreman, a psychiatrist, herbiest, astrologer, and oculist (optometrist), was one of Shakespeare’s close friends. He was renowned for being very promiscuous, and Emilia Bassano’s striking beauty caught his eye. Emilia became one of Simons Clients. No one knows for sure if Simon Foreman and Emilia Bassano had a sexual relationship, but most scholars have assumed so (“Emilia Lanier”). While being a client of Simon foreman, Emilia Lanier became pregnant and married Alfonso Lanier, a musician. Soon, they lost all of their money, and her husband went off to fight the French War. Emilia became increasingly depressed and lonely, and sought out more advice from Simon foreman, which is around the time scholars believe she met William Shakespeare. At this time, Shakespeare was dealing with a life crisis
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