“To be, or not to be: that is the question.” Hamlet (Act III, Scene I)
William Shakespeare is universally acclaimed as the world’s greatest writer. But today, many Shakespearian scholars believe that the man we know as Shakespeare never wrote a single word—let alone, any play, poem, or sonnet. Many scholars contend that Shakespeare was secretly hired as a crisis actor—to play the role of playwright—and pretend that he had authored the plays of a nobleman who wished to remain anonymous—in order to protect that nobleman’s name and reputation—because it would have been highly inappropriate for a nobleman to publish subversive plays that poked fun at the aristocracy.
The historical figure we know as William Shakespeare was the most famous writer who ever lived—the most performed playwright of all-time. The author of 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and several epic poems, Shakespeare’s words are the definitive expression of humanity in the English language—indeed, in any language.
A more prolific writer never lived. But curiously, not a single manuscript in Shakespeare’s hand has ever been known to exist. In over four centuries, nobody has ever seen even one document written in Shakespeare’s hand. Not one letter to his wife, not one note to a colleague, not one correspondence to his publishers—has ever been found. By comparison, there are many surviving manuscripts by Elizabethan music composers—e.g., William Byrd, John Dowland, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tallis, etc.—but no surviving manuscripts by Shakespeare. How can this be?
Shakespeare’s last will and testament makes no mention of any plays. Did Shakespeare purposely snub his surviving family members? The fact that Shakespeare’s will is silent as to his plays—which were so monetarily successful—tends to prove that the man we know as Shakespeare was not the true author of Hamlet and Macbeth.
“Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn, and caldron bubble.” Macbeth (Act IV, Scene I)
WHO was WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE?
The son of a glove-maker, William Shakespeare was a commoner, born in the provincial town of Stratford-upon-Avon, approx. 100 miles northwest of London. There is no record of him having attended grammar school, nor university—nor is there record of him ever having left England. According to legend, Shakespeare left Stratford while in his early 20s, and traveled down to London where he became an actor, and later, a playwright.
The man from Stratford-up-Avon did not call himself “Shakespeare.” He signed his name “SHAKSPER,” or alternatively, “SHAXPER.” But his signature was crude and coarse—as if he infrequently put quill to parchment—and this tends to show that the man from Stratford was not a full-time writer. In addition, during Elizabethan times, one’s signature was an expression of one’s self. Men took pride in having a beautiful signature—flamboyant, exuberant—and overflowing with panache and style—but not so with Shakespeare!
Most scholars agree that Shakespeare could read well enough—after all, as an actor, he had to learn his lines, but apparently, he never learned to form the letters of the alphabet.
Shakespeare’s father was illiterate—he signed his name with an “X.” But what’s puzzling is that Shakespeare’s daughters were also illiterate and likewise signed their names with an “X.” And this is truly baffling. Having made a tidy fortune from his plays, Shakespeare was a very wealthy man—so why did he not educate his daughters? Surely, he must have wanted his daughters to read his poetry, right?
The true author of Shakespeare’s plays was fluent in both Greek and Latin, and well-versed in the history of ancient Rome. The true author was also fluent in both French and Italian—and presumably spent a great deal of time in Italy because at least a dozen of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Italy, including Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, The Tempest, etc. However, the man from Stratford spoke no language other than English, and furthermore, there is no evidence that he ever travelled to the continent—and both of these important facts tend to prove that the man from Stratford could not have been the true author.
Shakespeare’s plays provide vivid accounts of aristocratic pastimes such as royal tennis and the sport of kings, falconry. But how could Shakespeare, a commoner, have possessed such detailed knowledge of these royal pursuits?—by watching reruns of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?
Shakespeare’s plays discuss learned disciplines such as medicine, law, astronomy, philosophy, art, music, and military strategy. And even if it were established that the man from Stratford had attended grammar school, these subjects, most certainly, were not part of the provincial grammar school curriculum in 16th century England.
Shakespeare’s plays demonstrate intimate knowledge of French and English court life and aristocratic manners and etiquette, and one must therefore conclude that the author of King Lear, Julius Caesar, and Richard III must have been a nobleman—who would have been highly educated, a seasoned traveler, and well-acquainted with courtly life and customs. And, being fluent in legalese, the true author, in all likelihood, was also a lawyer.
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Henry VI (Part II, Act IV, Scene II)
Okay, so who, during Elizabethan times, possessed all the aforementioned stately and aristocratic attributes? Many Shakespearian scholars now believe the true author was in fact a nobleman, Edward de Vere—the 17th Earl of Oxford.
EDWARD de VERE—the 17th EARL of OXFORD
Edward de Vere was a prominent figure in the Court of Queen Elizabeth. Contemporary critics praised him as a prestigious poet and playwright. De Vere was known as the most excellent of Elizabeth’s courtier poets, and it’s worth noting that many of his poems have a distinctive Shakespearian flavor. However, for his more daring political works, many believe that de Vere was compelled to write under a pseudonym—and hire a crisis actor to play the role of author—in order to protect his noble reputation—because it would have been simply unacceptable for a nobleman to write works that satirized the aristocracy and the Crown.
According to Shakespearian scholar, T. Matthew Phillips, “On the authorship issue, Edward de Vere is the leading candidate chiefly because he was a nobleman, he was well-educated and spoke many languages, and he traveled widely throughout Italy and France. He also spent at least two years living in Italy.”
At his birth, Edward de Vere—the 17th Earl of Oxford—was one of the wealthiest earls ever to breathe English air. Indeed, his earldom was one of the oldest in the kingdom. His ancestors fought bravely at the battles of Agincourt, Crécy, and Bosworth Field. Notably, Edward de Vere was a lawyer, a champion jouster, and patron of the arts. He provided financial support to many artists and entertainers, including actors, writers, musicians, jugglers, acrobats, etc., which caused him to squander his considerable estates to the point of bankruptcy. Personality-wise, Edward de Vere was quarrelsome, hot-tempered, and immodest, and these traits precluded him from participating in many affairs of state.
Not long after Edward de Vere’s death, William Shakespeare retired from theatre life and returned home to Stratford. However, after returning home, Shakespeare never wrote a single play, poem, or sonnet. Rather, he became a grain merchant—and many scholars see this as proof positive that the man from Stratford could not have been the true author. “All great artists do their craft right up to the moment of their death,” adds T. Matthew Phillips, “for example, Mozart wrote his Requiem Mass while on his deathbed, horribly ill and vomiting, with fever, chills, and swollen hands and feet!”
So why is all this important?—because it serves as yet another example of how almost everything we are taught by mainstream history is wrong. And it also demonstrates how easily mainstream history can brainwash folks because, even when presented with rock solid evidence and historical fact, many scholars stubbornly refuse to accept that anyone but the man from Stratford could have been the true author!
Will we ever know the truth concerning the authorship issue? Does the author’s true name even matter? Regardless of who actually authored all those plays, poems, and sonnets, the works of William Shakespeare provide keen insight into the culture and society of Elizabethan times—as well as our own modern culture and society—because Shakespeare’s works distill the essential qualities of what it means to be “human.”
“What’s in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet (Act II, Scene II)
Written, Produced, and Directed by TMP’s Midnight Minions
in association with Chapter Eleven Productions,
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Copyright 2018 – Truth Hits I-Team