King of Shadows


Nathan and Shakespeare’s bond grew stronger and stronger every chapter as they know more about each other and their love for acting and the stage. Nathan and Shakespeare connected with each other as Nathan is always trying to do his best at acting, surprising Shakespeare with the things he could do, such as his acrobatics skills. When Nathan met Shakespeare for the first time, all he wanted to do is be closer to him. ‘William Shakespeare. It was as if he’d said, ‘Say hello to God. ’ I stared down at the stage, speechless.

I suppose we were ten feet or so above him, for a moment I couldn’t move – and then more than anything I wanted to be closer to him. ’ This could show that even before they met, Nathan knew that they would be close. Inseparable. ‘Don’t go, please don’t go. It wasn’t because he was William Shakespeare. I just knew that I liked being with him, more than with anyone I knew. ’ When Nathan was in floods of tears, Shakespeare understood that Nathan wasn’t crying because of Roper, but because of something deeper, clicking straight to the reason. There is more here than persecution by a nasty boy.

What ails thee, Nat? What is it, this terrible buried sorrow? Dost miss thy parents? Where are they? ’ Nathan was astonished by how he could go directly to his problem that he didn’t talk about for so long. This scene bonded them tighter as Nathan soon found out that Shakespeare has gone through something like this before, by losing his son, Hamnet three years ago. The fact that Hamnet was the same age as Nathan meant that Shakespeare wanted to look after Nathan, just like he would have for Hamnet.

To this, Nathan felt as if Shakespeare was a fatherly figure to him, later inviting Nathan to stay at with him, telling him that it wasn’t his fault that Nathan’s father took his own life, telling him that love did it, the fact that Nathan’s father loved his mother so much, he couldn’t bear to live without her, which later helped him think about his father without panicking or crying, which he had never done since he passed away. Shakespeare also called Nathan his ‘aerial sprite’. ‘Our Nat is not a romantic beauty. Th’art a sprite, an aerial sprite, born in the air.

One day I shall write thee an airier Robin Goodfellow – unless thou leave me, or grow old. ’ Shakespeare hinted to Nathan to never leave him, the fact that Nathan is his sprite, his Puck, and the bond is really strong and the fact that they both need each other, which warms Nathan’s heart when he hears Shakespeare voice. ‘He had a wonderful voice, clear and warm and sort of mid-brown. I was as happy that moment as I think I’ll ever be: standing there listening to him, knowing I was part – and a useful part, just now – of his company, safe in the small family work of theatre.

I wanted it to never end. Shakespeare even wrote down a sonnet he had wrote for a woman, but used it to represent the Nathan and his father, about how love does not vanish with death, but stays eternal and that Nathan shouldn’t think he wasn’t good enough. ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds, Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove O, no! It is an ever fixed mark That looks on tempest and is never shaken; It is the star to every wand’ring bark Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out to, even to the edge of doom. If this be error, and upon me prov’d, I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d. ’ On the day of the play, Nathan knew that his time with Shakespeare is drawing to an end, at the fact that he would be going back to St. Paul’s boys. ‘Will Shakespeare came from behind me, pulled up a stool and sat down to watch Burbage paint.

Gladness at seeing him sent sudden warmth into my throat and my chest; a wonderful feeling, but oddly like pain. This shows that Nathan feels safe around Shakespeare and leaving Shakespeare to go to St Paul’s Boys felt like going out to a dangerous world. Shakespeare and Nathan shared a same passion for acting on stage, as it felt like a different world which you can change who you are, and a world which you can ignore reality. ‘This was his world, this was what he did and who he was, and I knew exactly how he was feeling, because the same was true for me. ’ Even when Shakespeare was acting in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Nathan felt as if he was the leader, the one with authority, and the King of Fairyland and of the whole world.

This made Nathan, in the character of Puck, his loyal servant. In the play, Nathan and Shakespeare were Puck and Oberon, together. ‘There we were, the two of us, at the heart of this happy gathering of three thousand people, at the heart of this fantastical play: together in the centre of the stage, Will Shakespeare and me. ’ Nathan knew the perfections Shakespeare wants in his plays, and Nathan, even-though he did a lot of thribbling when he was playing Boy in the last minute; Shakespeare was amazed at how he learnt his lines. ‘Th’art a true actor, sprite. ’ When it was Nathan’s last day before he returns to St.

Paul’s, William Shakespeare told him that he will miss him, and Nathan, longing for him to take him with Shakespeare. ‘Thou hast a gift that will not break with thy voice. I give thee my promise of a place with the Chamberlain’s Men. ’ Nathan and Shakespeare then shared an emotional goodbye. ‘The strangeness. My aerial sprite. I shall not forget thee, Nat Field. ’ ‘He held me close for a moment, and kissed the top of my head. ’ In chapter 16, Nathan does not know that his dream of his father tossing him in the air was actually him going back to his own time, 4 hundred years in the future.

Little did he know that that night was the last time he would ever see Shakespeare again. After the time wrap back, Nathan Field panicked at the fact that he couldn’t find the paper with the poem written on it. He felt the fact that he had lost everything, Shakespeare and the only thing that Shakespeare gave to him. ‘I was numb; if I started to think, I would panic. I can’t have left him; I can’t really have left him’. This made Nathan wonder, was it a dream? Nathan felt as if he lost something very special to him. He felt like ‘I was like a planet that has lost its sun. This showed that Nathan felt lost, without its light, he was made to search his path in darkness. That little add of anger was enough to trigger an emotional storm when Arby shouted:

Nathan was filled with sadness and the memories of Shakespeare and him filled his mind. ‘Sure I knew Will Shakespeare was dead, he’d been dead for nearly four hundred years but two days ago, for me, he had been alive, warm and alive and hugging me, promising me a place as an actor in his company. I loved him and I missed him, and I should never see him again, never, never, never, never, never. Jealously occurred when Nathan found out that it weren’t a dream and the fact that the other Nathan Field left Shakespeare, given the chance to see Shakespeare again but only joining the King’s Men after Shakespeare’s death. The connection between Shakespeare and Nathan was never broken as Nathan found out that Shakespeare never forgotten his ‘aerial sprite’ as he wrote a play for him, ‘The Tempest’. Where Nathan was represented as ‘Ariel’, a spirit, where at the end of the play, Prospero lets Ariel go free. ‘I shall miss thee, but still thou shalt have freedom. ’