The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0510 Monday, 10 December 2012
Date: December 8, 2012 6:12:52 AM EST
Subject: The Venus & Adonis Dedication
Larry Weiss suggests that Shakespeare must have been supremely neurotic to have derived satisfaction from his unperceived insult.
This is a possibility, I suppose. However, more likely he was just driven to relieve the frustration of having to kowtow to someone who had demeaned him (as are, I guess, most spitting waiters).
Let us consider this from another angle. Imagine that a Shakespearean play contains two characters: a vain peacock of an Earl and a humble, unknown author. The latter has been badly dealt with by the former, but is then obliged to produce a dedication to him. Shakespeare has him compose what is, in effect, the V&A address. It is read out to the strutting, young jackanapes (with suitable interjections or asides to clarify the wit to the audience). We would be enthralled. Most would think it a fine example of Shakespeare's wit and of how well he understood the human condition.