This edgy historical drama smashes the conventional wisdom about "Shakespeare" and the "Virgin" Queen by suggesting the violation of a fundamental human taboo. Shakespeare and the Courtesan follows the travels of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and, according to some, the real "William Shakespeare." Oxford's journey through Italy is surrealistically juxtaposed with scenes of his life in England, his plays, poetry, passion, betrayal, and murder in a blend of fact and fantasy. (Did Shakespeare/Oxford have a child with his mother, Queen Elizabeth I?) The Bard meets his match when he encounters the beautiful Veronica Franco, an honored Venetian courtesan and published poet.