Recent interest in who Shakespeare's Muse may have been prompts one to come forth to dispel the drastically simplistic notions that have been brought forward. In this essay John O'Meara suggests where our concern with Shakespeare should actually lie or what form of Muse we can suppose it was that commanded his development the way it did.
Shakespeare was fated for a certain experience from which he could not extricate himself, even if he had wished to. Highlighted is his struggle with Martin Luther's injunction to imagine human depravity to the fullest, with which O'Meara compares the route travelled by Christopher Marlowe. The challenge was laid down to Shakespeare to imagine the worst of human tragedy, which finally focuses for him in the precipitated death of the loved one.
But it testifies to the enduring power of Shakespeare's Muse that She has 'borne' this death with him.
"I find myself very much in sympathy with your general approach."
-Stanley Wells, general editor of The Oxford Shakespeare and formerly Director of The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-Upon-Avon, England