Shakespeare and the Double Entendre: Background information when reading The Spy of Venice

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The Spy of Venice

A William Shakespeare Mystery

by Benet Brandreth

The Spy of Venice by Benet Brandreth X
The Spy of Venice by Benet Brandreth
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2018, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 10, 2019, 448 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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About this Book

Shakespeare and the Double Entendre

This article relates to The Spy of Venice

In Benet Brandreth's The Spy of Venice, William Shakespeare is a brilliant wordsmith but still a young man with all of a young man's appetite for adventure and women. He's witty with a rapier-like pen and rakish sense of humor. But wait. Many people reading Shakespeare's plays might doubt that the Bard of Avon had much of a sense of humor at all. Even the so-called comedies, they might argue, are only moderately humorous.

So is Brandreth's characterization of a brilliantly witty Shakespeare total fabrication? Or is it conceivable that old Will might have been the Stephen Colbert of his time? Very much so the latter. The operative word to consider is "time." As with anything intended to be funny, two of the most important considerations are context and mode of delivery - in this case, specifically the double entendre.

The double entendre is a phrase that can be interpreted in two ways, one which is innocuous, the other which is usually bawdy. It's been in...

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