Only one thought today, but it involves Shakespeare, the plague, and rotten teeth, so please read on…
I’m reading a book called William Shakespeare: The World As Stage by Bill Bryson right now. Why, you ask? Well…because I really like some of Bryson’s other books, I love history, I was recently in London where Shakespeare’s plays became famous, and I don’t know much about the man that shaped so much of our English language – so I picked up the book.
One of the things I’m learning is that the now-beautiful city of London was a miserable place to live in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s.
Food was scarce because of poor farming conditions, a plague struck the city about once every ten years killing thousands each time, the poor out numbered the wealthy by an incredibly large percentage, and injustice – especially toward the poor – was abundant. It was a bad time to live in London.
One of the common maladies people suffered in London during this time was rotten teeth. Most people’s teeth were black with rot and many lost their teeth all together. As a matter of fact, Queen Elizabeth I wanted so desperately to relate to the common people in her kingdom that she purposefully had her teeth stained black! This was captured in the movie Anonymous released in 2011. Actress Vanessa Redgrave played Queen Elizabeth and had her teeth blackened to more accurately portray the queen. Here’s a picture of her from the movie – one that I’m sure will haunt you for some time!
Good movie. Good book. So, get your Shakespeare on and check both of them out!