Twins We Like : The Shakespeare Twins!

There's another side of me you might not have heard about

There’s another side of me you might not have heard about

This is the first post in a new series that we have just come up with, called “Twins We Like”. Doing our research for this subject, we actually found that there aren’t that many twins we like – there are quite a few that we dislike, and the vast majority of them, well, we can take them or leave them.


Which makes our job easier, of course. Fewer twins means a more focused approach.


And we are going to start with a pair of twins that, surprisingly perhaps, not so many people are aware that they actually ever existed. I’m talking about Dwight and Will Shakespeare.

where our story plays out

where our story plays out

They were never known as the Shakespeare twins because when they were alive they kept the fact secret. Which fact? The fact that the works signed by “William Shakespeare” were in fact penned by the two brothers in tandem.


Rumour has it that Dwight wrote most of the serious tragic stuff and Will wrote the comedies. They chose to use just one name to save money on their tax returns – a writer’s licence was an expensive item in Elizabethan days and by using the same one, both brothers benefitted.

shakespeare 3

Naturally, there was a fair amount of squabbling in the Shakespeare family. They had artistic differences, for a start: Dwight was interested in the avant-garde, and wanted to write daring post-modern plays, but Will knew they wouldn’t be commercial enough and preferred to stick to the same money-spinning formulae.


Dwight accused Will of stealing his share of the profits, especially of box office hits such as Romeo and Juliet and Richard III, and Will blamed Dwight for the relative failure of Measure for Measure (which bombed) and Coriolanus, which he described as “wordy”.


There has always been speculation about the role of Anne Hathaway in the life of the Shakespeare twins. Although she was formally Will’s wife, all the evidence points to her being Dwight’s lover, too. Whether or not Will was aware of this, we can only speculate.


In 1602, Dwight “fell off his horse, which then trampled on him, causing his death”, if we are to believe the official inquest, which only came to light fourteen years later, when Will himself exited stage right.


Today the world sings the praises of “William Shakespeare” and few remember his ill-starred brother, the lesser-known of that prolific duo that we pay homage to today, The Shakespeare Twins.      

Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Henry The Historian on April 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I think you will find that Dwight was actually three years older than William. That doesn’t make them twins. But hey whatever – don’t let historical facts spoil a good story, right?


    • Posted by zaragozatwins on April 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Sorry to disappoint you, Henry… Heen and I have a scanned copy of the Shakespeare Twins’ birth certificates, proving without a shadow of a doubt they were born on the same day. Dwight was born thirteen minutes before Will, if you must know. The midwife’s name was Chummy.

      Amor y churros – Sheen xxx


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