Shakespeare’s Sexuality

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Was Shakespeare gay?
Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, apparently not intended for publication. The majority of these sonnets address the poet’s love for a young man. There is no historical evidence to indicate Shakespeare was bisexual or homosexual; he was a married man with three children. However, the poet’s intense romantic feelings for the young man in the sonnets have led some to believe Shakespeare was having a homosexual affair.

But is the speaker of the sonnets expressing Shakespeare’s personal feelings? Does the young man belong solely to the realm of fantasy, as do Falstaff and the Three Witches? Since we do not know the answers, critics often choose to refer to the speaker of the sonnets as simply “the poet”, to illustrate that he is a character, and not necessarily William Shakespeare. For much more on this topic, please see the commentary for Sonnet 20 and Sonnet 75.