Guest Post: Shakespeare’s Skull and the Usual Suspects

Now that we know that Shakespeare’s skull is no longer in his grave with the rest of his mortal coil, Bardfilm and I know that the time has come to round up the usual suspects. Without much ado, here are the people we’d call in for interrogation:

Amateur dramatic company of Stratford who borrowed it for a production of Hamlet and, because of poor reviews, decided not to return it.

Enraged Macbeth descendants who thought “a head for a head” was a pretty good policy (they’re also responsible for moving Stratford forest closer to the birthplace).

Phrenologists from the 1700s wanting to discover the “literary genius bump schematic.”

Literary critics from the future determined to paint it an inch thick to see what favor it would come to.

Prank by George W. Bush for the Skull and Bones society gone horribly awry.

Someone playing Jaques who had a really weird interpretation of the seven ages of man “sans everything” line he wanted to try.

Some well wisher who no doubt thought that Shakespeare could not be sent to his account with all his imperfections on his head if he had no head.

Somewhere, somebody obsessed with Ophelia has got his head in her lap.

The people in charge of the Richard III archeological dig getting a bit carried away.

Marketing department of Skullcandy™ thought they had a brilliant new campaign. Abandoned because of a surprising outbreak of good taste and tact.

“Shakespeare Geek took it—it’s just the sort of silly trick he’s been playing since he walked along the railroad tracks of Boston as a kid.” —Bardfilm

“Bardfilm is the one who took it. That guy has no shame when it comes to shameless self-promotion.” —Shakespeare Geek

Bearded old woman (can’t call them witches anymore, sargent, that’s not “politically correct.” And they’re not too keen on “wyrd,” either) caught wandering down by the river chanting “Fillet of a fenny snake, / Cranium of Willy Shake.”

Treasure hunters found with a copy of Richard III in which the “wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl, inestimable stones, unvalued jewels” laying in dead men’s skulls passage was underlined.

Caliban, who we expect may have battered it with a log. He’s also suspect in what happened to all the books.

Pistol, who was unable to satisfactorily explain why he was carrying a leek without a permit

Guildenstern, for completely misunderstanding a recent “throwing about of brains.”

Did anyone bother to scan his heels? Lear’s Fool suggested that we might find it down there.

Our thanks for the idea for this guest post to kj, the author of Bardfilm. Bardfilm is a blog that comments on films, plays, and other matters related to Shakespeare.


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