Communicator (communicator) wrote,

To the onlie begetter of these ensuing sonnets Mr WH...

OMG I just had a massive realisation. I didn't like the Doctor Who episode about Shakespeare and it's the only episode of the past three series which I didn't watch all the way through. But tonight I was reading Shakespeare's sonnets in the bath and I realised what the episode was all about. The subtext is that Shakespeare's sonnets were written about and for the Doctor and Martha. Or is this stated overtly in the episode? I wish I'd watched it now.

The sonnets fit really well don't they? Even if I am belabouring a point which has occurred to everyone else about six months ago, I'm impressed how much you can make the sonnets work as fanfiction about the Doctor and Martha.

I know the conventional interpretation is that the 'black lady' merely had dark hair, but the poems work just as well if you think she is literally a Black woman. It is problematic for me to quote too many lines out of context because Shakespeare writes against a social convention that 'black' is less beautiful than 'fair', and that means the writing is along the lines of 'In the old age black was not counted fair/ Or if it were it bore not beauty's name/ But now is blackness beauty's heir.'and it all seems a bit crude to point it out. Anyway, it totally works.

Check out Sonnet 126:

O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy power
Dost hold Time's fickle glass, his sickle, hour;
Who hast by waning grown, and therein show'st
Thy lovers withering as thy sweet self grow'st;
If Nature, sovereign mistress over wrack,
As thou goest onwards, still will pluck thee back,
She keeps thee to this purpose, that her skill
May time disgrace and wretched minutes kill.
Yet fear her, O thou minion of her pleasure!
She may detain, but not still keep, her treasure:
Her audit, though delay'd, answer'd must be,
And her quietus is to render thee.

Anyway I feel like quoting every single sonnet now. All the ones about 'you'll go on into the future without me' and 'you have many different faces but one constant self' and so on. Try reading some with your fannish hat on, it's a real trip.

Time Traveller: 'O that record could with backward look/ Even of five hundred courses of the sun/ Show me your image in an antique book.' Space traveller: 'For then despite of space I would be brought/ From limits far remote where thou dost stay/ Upon the furthest earth removed from thee/ For nimble thought can jump both sea and land/ As soon as think the place where he would be.'

'What is your substance? Whereof are you made / That millions of shadows on you tend?

Though I think (I don't know what happened in the episode) you have to imagine that the Doctor and Martha paid a few extra extended visits to Will. Hope so.

The heading of this post is from the dedication to the only edition of the sonnets published during Shakespeare's lifetime.












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