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The Anti Stratfordian Belief English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1063 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The ‘Anti-Stratfordian’ belief has firm and unquestionable reasons that can lead to a reasonable conclusion that William Shakespeare perhaps did not write his plays. William’s background and his personal life is an enigma .Shakespeare’s life is known to us mostly through his family that lived in Stratford; his father was a successful man that reached the position of a high bailiff in Stratford We know that Shakespeare was baptized in the Holy Trinity Church. He was born of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. Scholars assume that Shakespeare attended the grammar school in Stratford because historical evidence does not exist or was destroyed there is no proof that William Shakespeare attended any school. His background does not lead to a conclusion that this great writer could have produced such an aristocratic point of view in his plays. The man that wrote so many plays did not leave any manuscripts written in his own writing. ‘Anti-Stratfordian’ movement gives some evidence that William Shakespeare could have been illiterate. Some indirect evidence exists that John Shakespeare, William’s father, could not read or write. The only proof that exists today for literacy of the author, are six signatures scribbled and poorly written that do not represent a highly educated genius play writer.

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Stephen Greenblatt in his book “Will in the World” said these words, “First of all, there was a volcano of words, an eruption of words that Shakespeare had never used before that had never been used in the English language before. It’s astonishing. It pours out of him.”. How can a man, an author of such magnitude write with such eloquence but not leave any manuscripts behind? This question was asked by skeptics who could not find any documents left by Shakespeare referencing to him as an author . The only documents left behind William are of his job as a businessman and an investor and for a time an actor; however no proof or documentation exists to say that William Shakespeare was an author. There is also the inconsistency of Shakespeare’s spelling his name on various documents that develops a concept that the name Shakespeare could have been a pseudonym. With time couple of names started to appear as possible candidates for the real Shakespeare. Some of the names include Francis Bacon, who was an English philosopher, scientist and very well fitting author of William’s plays. Another candidate was Christopher Marlowe who was an English dramatist, poet he was also known for his usage of blank verse just like Shakespeare. The third candidate is Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford who was an aristocrat that could have produced such eloquent plays. Although there is no real evidence of who wrote Shakespeare’s works all the gathered information points to one man Francis Bacon.

English philosopher, great scientist that worked on Queen Elizabeth’s and King James’s the first royal courts . Bacon was there when Shakespeare had joined the group called ‘Lord Chamberlain’s Man’, and later when King James took over the throne and William preformed in King’s Man. Francis was called many names, he was referred to as Apollo, Pallas Athena, the ‘Spear-Shaker or the ‘Shake-Spear’. Shakespeare’s plays almost all of them were published under the name ‘Shake-Spear’ not Shakespeare. William’s plays were written in an eloquent style and fashion, with an aristocratic point of view and the knowledge of law and politics. His information about royal courts extended his knowledge as well. While Francis Bacon was a legal advisor to both Queen Elizabeth the first and king James the first; later advancing onto the position of the supreme judge in the land and personal advisor to the king. Bacon was educated in law and without doubt could have written Shakespeare’s plays on his personal experiences. Shakespeare in many of his plays portrayed his knowledge of other foreign countries like Italy and Greece, while no evidence shows that Shakespeare ever left England; on the other hand, Bacon traveled abroad extensively to study customs, people, cultures and acquire information about foreign kingdoms for the King. Francis Bacon’s vast knowledge of other Royal courts came also from his scientific work. Bacon used the network of friendships he gathered around Europe to obtain certain scientific information to continue his studies. Francis Bacon’s life reflects the play’s that Shakespeare wrote. When Francis’s brother returned to live with him plays that were published during that time were joyful comedies, but after his brother’s death and also Queen Elizabeth’s death, Shakespeare’s plays became sorrowful tragedies. John Marston and Joseph Hall both satire writers during the Renaissance spoke of ‘Labeo’ , a Roman lawyer and an author of anonymous poetry. In one of his books Marston speaks of Labeo and reveals his motto, Mediocra firma, in context with Shakespeare’s poem’s Venus and Adonis and the Rape of Lucrece. This motto belonged to Francis Bacon and was only used by him and his brother. The motto was the means of identifying somebody through their heraldic ancestry. And what Marston spoke of meant that on these two poems Shakespeare’s signature was used as a pseudonym.

The disagreement about Shakespeare’s authorship is an ongoing dispute. Both sides produce counter evidence for each other’s arguments. And even though the book “Will in the World” for some a fiction piece and for other’s historically proven biography, generates probable historical data, the evidence for Shakespeare is dim. His works have not survived, we have no available records for his education and his family’s history leads to an illiterate son. Henry James an American writer once said in a letter to his friend, ” haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest and most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world.” His works are believed to be the greatest in English literature and his name is known worldwide, but if the real author of these works was not William Shakespeare, we will never know.


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