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Was Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Lady’ a prostitute?

One researcher believes that Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Lady’, the inspiration behind some of his romantic sonnets, may have been a notorious prostitute who ran a brothel in London.

Shakespeare scholar Dr Duncan Salkeld said he had unearthed documents that indicate she is ‘the foremost candidate for the dubious role of the Dark Lady’.

Many of the sonnets 127 to 152 are addressed to an unidentified woman with whom Shakespare imagines having an affair.

In Sonnet 144 the temptress is referred to as ‘my female evil’ and ‘my bad angel’. The identity of the Dark Lady has mystified academics for years.

To her contemporaries, she was known as ‘an arrant whore and a bawde’, catering for everyone from ‘ingraunts’ (immigrants) to ‘welthyemen’ and the aristocracy.

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Story: Dalya Alberge & Claire Ellicott, The Daily Mail | Photo: Alamy

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