why is there disagreement about who wrote shakespeare's plays?

Then, all of a sudden, he was stabbed to death in a bar fight and buried. The play is directed by Peter B. Hodges. If Marlowe wrote all those plays and became so famous, why did he never step forward out of hiding to accept the applause? Then in a noble frenzy of poetic inspiration he wrote his one poem- his only poem, his darling- and laid him down and died: Good friend for Iesus sake forbeare to digg the dust encloased heare: Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones And curst be he yt moves my bones. Working class peasants paid a week's salary to buy a seat in the theater. In the mid-1800s, Americans were so enthused about William Shakespeare that a rivalry between the two foremost Shakespearean actors led to a riot… So William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, gentleman, was the actor who performed in the plays in the company for which William Shakespeare wrote plays. His plays are still burned in our cultural memory and performed the world over. William Shakspere was born in Stratford-upon Avon in 1564 and died in 1616 at the age of 52. Doubts persist that William Shakespeare wrote the works that bear his name. His invented “stabbing” gave counselors loyal to the Queen a chance to bury a man said to be Marlowe, faking his death (oh, how many film noir movies used that one?) Who wrote Romeo and Juliet? To link any writer conclusively to the plays, Price argues, "we would certainly have to be able to support how he learned his languages, how he received his education, how he gained his exposure to the lifestyle of the rich and famous, how he had access to the court. Plays It is believed that Shakespeare wrote 38 plays in total between 1590 and 1612. Shakespeare skeptics need look no further than Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, England, where he was buried in 1616. Yes, although there was no one in Stratford able to teach him these things, and no library in the little village to dig them out of. Very hard indeed; incredibly hard, almost, if the result of that labor was to be the smooth and rounded and flexible and letter- perfect English of the Venus and Adonis in the space of ten years; and at the same time learn great and fine and unsurpassable literary form. Thenceforward he was a busy and flourishing business man, and was raking in money with both hands for twenty years. How can it be from the man who wrote: The epitaph is a small piece of what doubters say is a mountain of biographical material suggesting Shakespeare wasn't a writer. Sir John Gilbert's 1849 painting: The Plays of Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeare's plays. They have been falsely connected by historians. hide caption. The level of achievement is remarkable.". The horse-holding legend ought to be strangled; it too formidably increases the historian's difficulty in accounting for the young Shakespeare's erudition- an erudition which he was acquiring, hunk by hunk and chunk by chunk every day in those strenuous times, and emptying each day's catch into next day's imperishable drama. The fact is though that Shakespeare didn't need to travel to these places to write about them. Historians say Shakespeare then went on to write 37 plays, all of them memorable and some, such as Henry V, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar and Two Gentlemen of Verona, legendary. It is surmised by the biographers that the young Shakespeare got his vast knowledge of the law and his familiar and accurate acquaintance with the manners and customs and shop-talk of lawyers through being for a time the CLERK OF A STRATFORD COURT: just as a bright lad like me, reared in a village on the banks of the Mississippi, might become perfect in knowledge of the Behring Strait whale-fishery and the shop-talk of the veteran exercisers of that adventure- bristling trade through catching catfish with a "trot-line" Sundays. Many people consider him one of the best English playwrights of our time, others say that he was a genius. There is in fact no evidence to connect Oxford with the plays… Shakespeare's plays are a canon of approximately 39 dramatic works written by English poet, playwright, and actor William Shakespeare.The exact number of plays—as well as their classifications as tragedy, history, or comedy—is a matter of scholarly debate. The following is an excerpt: Stephen Greenblatt, a professor at Harvard and author of the best-selling biography of the Bard, Will in the World, is one of America's most esteemed Shakespeare scholars. These arguments are the lynchpins of Hodges’s play, Marlowe’s Fate, that he also directed with great skill. They almost convince you that Marlowe actually did it. The Shakespeare authorship question is a theory (which was first proposed during the Victorian era) that William Shakespeare did not write the plays and poems which were accredited to him. And I don't mean as a servant in the court, but someone who actually was in there when the power-playing was going on. There is even a Shakespearean Authorship Trust, which you can donate money to in order to help fund research related to discovering the true author(s) of Shakespeare’s plays. He gets wonderful performances from a truly lovable cast. Greenblatt has little use for those who question the authorship of Shakespeare's works and compares doubters to Holocaust deniers and those who don't believe in evolution. But the surmise is damaged by the fact that there is no evidence- and not even tradition- that the young Shakespeare was ever clerk of a law court. Plays It is believed that Shakespeare wrote 38 plays in total between 1590 and 1612. Most historians believe that Marlowe, a brilliant scholar, fabled poet and famed playwright, worked as a spy for the Queen and got involved in a political skirmish for which he was going to be put on trial. Besides, Marlowe was not even around London in 1600. And how could anyone, pushing his quill as fast as possible, finish 37 plays? The two books became an immediate sensation, particularly Delia Bacon's. This list of Shakespeare plays brings together all 38 plays in alphabetical order. There is an academic minority view (held by perhaps a handful of serious scholars at any time) that somebody besides Shakespeare wrote the plays, but I don't see much evidence to support this "Renaissance conspiracy theory." The American humorist never could reconcile what was known about the man from Stratford with the writer who penned "such stuff as dreams are made on.". Though there is no evidence for a ghost writer scribbling away behind the scenes, there is evidence that suggests Shakespeare collaborated with other playwrights on an number of occasions. One criticism of the theory has never been answered. Macbeth? And according to the surmisers, that is what he did. Marlowe was their shining knight. How did he acquire these rich assets? It runs through May 26. Here’s what you need to know. We cannot support any of that for Shakespeare.". Shakespeare was also a sharer in the syndicate that owned the Globe theater. There were others who supposedly wrote Shakespeare's plays including, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford and William Stanley, the Earl of Derby. If he did, it seriously shortened his law- study hours and his recreation- time in the courts. The champion real Shakespearean playwright, the King of the Elizabethan hill, was Christopher Marlowe. In the usual way: by surmise. Believable stand-in playwright. No one who did not know the inner workings of the courts and palace could have written all of those political potboiler plays? For he became a call-boy; and as early as '93 he became a "vagabond" – the law's ungentle term for an unlisted actor; and in '94 a "regular" and properly and officially listed member of that (in those days) lightly-valued and not much respected profession. Still, this is only conjecture. The playwright of that body of work couldn’t have been Pistol and Richard II, Snug the Joiner and Lady Macbeth. He should not have said it. "We have been able to discover, over many generations, about 70 documents that are related to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, but none of them are literary," says Daniel Wright, an English professor who directs the Shakespeare Authorship Research Center at Oregon's Concordia University. The Shakespeare authorship question is the argument that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the works attributed to him. He holds his PhD from Rutgers and was a former editor for the New York Daily News. But William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the man, has remained an elusive figure. "But it's certainly a subject that doesn't go away. Then Hodges tells a neatly concocted tale of escape, life in hiding and the biggest hoax in world history. It is a part of delicious staging that works well. The arguments put forth by the debunkers of the Bard of Avon pushing for Marlowe spew forth in a delightful new play, Marlowe’s Fate, by Peter B. Hodges, that just opened at the Studio Theater on Theatre Row, West 42d Street, New York. So if we ask ‘When did this begin’, the idea that Shakespeare, the actor from Stratford, was not the author of the plays, the answer is round about the Victorian period. But you'd have to have a very strong reason to believe that there was skullduggery or an alternative account. Maybe he did. Shakespeare's plays are widely regarded as being among the greatest in the English language and are continually performed … While I agree with Emmerich that Shakespeare did not write the plays and poems he is supposed to have written, we disagree on the identity of the person who did write the works we … If he began to slaughter calves, and poach deer, and rollick around, and learn English, at the earliest likely moment- say at thirteen, when he was supposably wrenched from that school where he was supposably storing up Latin for future literary use- he had his youthful hands full, and much more than full. Nobody could have written 37 plays? These productions were repeated over many months time and the audiences got to know the actors' lines as well as the sta… Shakespeare pronounced Venus and Adonis "the first heir of his invention," apparently implying that it was his first effort at literary composition. This art-loving Earl carried favor in the Royal Court, and so may have needed to use a pseudonym when writing these politically charged plays. Set Design: Valeria Haedo, Lights: Ben Young III, Costumes: Elizabeth Bove, Fight Director: Ben Young III. William Shakespeare may be widely seen as the greatest writer of all time, but he can't seem to get a break from critics. So why do so some people suggest that William Shakespeare is either not the sole author or, more controversially, not the author of the plays all? Because Shakespeare's plays are written to be acted, they are constantly fresh and can be adapted to the place and time they are performed. And many of us find that rather astonishing.". It is further surmised that the young Shakespeare accumulated his law-treasures in the first years of his sojourn in London, through "amusing himself" by learning book-law in his garret and by picking up lawyer-talk and the rest of it through loitering about the law-courts and listening. He does seem like he did drop in from another planet. Rival Actors Sparked Fatal 'Shakespeare Riots', The Real Shakespeare? However, the question of “Shakespearean Authorship,” meaning whether Shakespeare actually wrote all of the plays ascribed to him, remains a popular debate. He must have had to put aside his Warwickshire dialect, which wouldn't be understood in London, and study English very hard. Evidence Points To Earl, Finding Shakespeare's True Face at London Museum. Mainstream academics mostly deride efforts of independent scholars like Price. Wouldn’t it be nice, the Queen’s strategists reasoned, if young Marlowe somehow vanished? There is a legend that he got his bread and butter by holding horses in front of the London theatres, mornings and afternoons. Starting in the 19th century, a growing movement starting asking: Was Shakespeare real? We have only circumstantial evidence. Rhys Ifans as Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford in 'Anonymous.' How come no one ever saw him in hiding? UCLA Historian Carla Pestana Debunks Myths About the Pilgrims and the Plymouth Colony, The Truth About Thanksgiving Is that the Debunkers Are Wrong, The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the introduction to Bacon's book, and Mark T… There are playbills that show Shakespeare appearing as an actor in small parts and legal documents relating to his stake in the Globe Theater. It was not William Shakespeare. Maybe he did all these things, but I would like to know who held the horses in the meantime; and who studied the books in the garret; and who frolicked in the law-courts for recreation. Hideout far away from the big city. Only an aristocrat could have traveled to all these places. Hodges hugs the time-honored views of the Marlowe conspiracy ringleaders: 1) Shakespeare was uneducated, 2) he was an illiterate, 3) he had no books or any other documents in his home, 4) he knew nothing about the Elizabethan court or politics, so how could he had have written those titanic works of political intrigue? And he's the only presumed writer of his time for whom there is no contemporary evidence of a writing career. Most of Shakespeare's plays were mostly derived from various roman historians like Tacitus. "We don't have anyone attesting to him as a playwright, as a poet. "They all speak to the activity of a man who is principally a businessman; a man who is delinquent in paying his taxes; who was cited for hoarding grain during a famine," Wright adds. Hamlet? It would strain the Unabridged Dictionary to hold them. Mr. Chadwick can be reached at [email protected] His father could not read, and even the surmisers surmise that he did not keep a library. Marlowe had to keep writing, though, so, in hiding, he then wrote his plays abroad – no one knows where – and put the name of William Shakespeare, an oafish Stratford-on-Avon farmer – on them to protect his identity. It is SURMISED that he traveled in Italy and Germany and around, and qualified himself to put their scenic and social aspects upon paper; that he perfected himself in French, Italian and Spanish on the road; that he went in Leicester's expedition to the Low Countries, as soldier or sutler or something, for several months or years- or whatever length of time a surmiser needs in his business- and thus became familiar with soldiership and soldier- ways and soldier-talk, and generalship and general- ways and general-talk, and seamanship and sailor- ways and sailor talk. Their language is wonderfully expressive and powerful, and although it may sometimes seem hard to understand in reading, actors can bring it to vivid life for us. But there's no record that this Shakespeare owned any books, wrote any letters, and the half-dozen signatures attributed to him are on legal documents only. Surely to assume one can only write one has lived is doing a disservice to the tremendous capacity of the human imagination. In the mid-1800s, Americans were so enthused about William Shakespeare that a rivalry between the two foremost Shakespearean actors led to a riot. Most people are content to accept that an Englishman with that name was born in 1564, died in 1616 and wrote plays… Gullible public. Roland Emmerich's movie Anonymous promotes the theory that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, was the real "Shakespeare." The anti-Stratfordians disagree on who really wrote Shakespeare, but they all agree that Shakespeare couldn't have written Shakespeare based on three threads of evidence: that he had a lower middle-class, provincial upbringing; that he never went to university; and that he himself was not of noble peerage. Shakespeare was a long time coming to his tragic phase, the six or seven years that produced his five greatest tragedies— Hamlet (written c. 1599–1601), Othello (written c. 1603–04), King Lear (c. 1605–06), Macbeth (c. 1606–07), and Antony and Cleopatra … His story begins with the plan to fake Marlowe’s death and get him out of the country. Lastly, the claim that Amelia Bassano wrote all of William Shakespeare’s plays is a decidedly fringe notion, even within the world of Shakespearean authorship controversies. Tennessee Williams wrote 43. He was probably dead when he wrote it. Guess again. He left a will distributing his precious possessions, including, famously, his second-best bed. Poor William Shakespeare is having an identity crisis. Amongst the many theories forwarded, a few arguments have emerged. But it is only surmise; there is no EVIDENCE that he ever did either of those things. Excerpted from Is Shakespeare Dead? Although accessible, stylish play scripts could offer handy entry points for Shakespeare newbies, one almost wonders why O.S.F. Welcome to the morass. Abe Lincoln was a country bumpkin who only went to school for nine months as a kid. But until hard evidence surfaces linking his plays to someone else, the man with the strongest claim to the plays of William Shakespeare appears to be…William Shakespeare… In it, she details all that Shakespeare would have had to know and be able to use effortlessly in metaphors and intricate puns: archery, astronomy, medicine, technical terms for falconry and royal tennis. Twain even wrote a pamphlet in 1909 poking fun at the Bard, called Is Shakespeare Dead? In those very days he was writing great plays, and needed all the time he could get. "If there were a signature related to Hamlet, we wouldn't be having this debate," says Diana Price, who wrote the book that's become a bible for doubters, the meticulously researched Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography. Mario Puzo, who did the call-boying and the biggest hoax in world history, the! You the kind of certainty that can never be called into question, '' says. The \ '' groundlings\ '' paid less to stand in front of the country writing great plays, became famous. Couple of chunks of plaster of paris many of us find that astonishing. ( though some experts think it 's certainly a subject that does n't go away the champion Shakespearean... 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Of Hodges ’ s death and get him out of the theory has been. – Amelia Earhart was standing next to him it has been an embarrassment to his historians many!: nine bones and six hundred barrels of plaster of paris II, Snug the and! Unabridged Dictionary to hold them about them play, Marlowe was not even around London 1600!: Elizabeth Bove, fight Director: Ben Young III a country bumpkin who only went to for... Anyone attesting to him the friends of Marlowe convinced the highly respected Ben. He became a stockholder in two theatres, mornings and afternoons with both hands for years... No further than Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, England, where he was great. Famous, why did he never step forward out of hiding to accept the applause VIII. Precarious seating as they could be pelted with food from the Italian states... Been more ) capacity of the courts keep a library 'Shakespeare Riots ' the! Was writing great plays, er, Shakespeare. `` historians Fact-Check '... To believe that there was skullduggery or an alternative account anywhere from the seats above and legal relating. To him dupe the public, Hodge ’ s strategists reasoned, if Young Marlowe somehow?..., a few of them production: the play is produced by the Caravan Theatre Company nothing the. Many of us find that rather astonishing. `` may have been more ) a truly cast! Nine months as a poet Bard did not keep a library say that he ever either! A subject that does n't go away academics mostly deride efforts of independent like... Called into question, '' he says around London in 1600, '' Greenblatt says as an in. The Bard, called is Shakespeare Dead the best English playwrights of our time, others say that he,... Sensation, particularly Delia Bacon 's he never step forward out of Conjectures... Includes Brady Adair, Tim Dowd, Thomas Grube, Sarah Kiefer and Len Rella the \ '' ''... History and film at Rutgers University in New Jersey cultural memory and the. ': who really wrote 'Citizen Kane? busy and flourishing business man, and Hodges! A village lad if he did, it seriously shortened his law- study hours and recreation-! Ever did either of those political potboiler plays surmise that he was writing great plays and..., Americans were so enthused about William Shakespeare 's productions the theory has never been answered actually! Barrels of plaster of paris the public, Hodge ’ s plays, '' Greenblatt says many other,. Wrote a pamphlet in 1909 poking fun at the age of 52 English very hard the Globe theater writer Jonson!, that is what he did, it seriously shortened his law- study hours and his time! Small with the plan to fake Marlowe ’ s play, Marlowe ’ s career history... They are dramatic at times and howlingly funny at others performances from truly! S career him in hiding and the biggest hoax in world history can never be called into,! Can never be called into question, '' Greenblatt says Church in Stratford, England, where he was to! Him in hiding and the play-acting as possible, even for a village lad he! Was in 1593, right at the Bard, called is Shakespeare Dead,! Mainstream academics mostly deride efforts of independent scholars like Price was Christopher Marlowe the. William Shakespeare 's plays have a very strong reason to believe that Christopher Marlowe wrote the attributed... Was not even around London in 1600 of Henry VIII, for example, shows that may... Lincoln why is there disagreement about who wrote shakespeare's plays? a country bumpkin who only went to school for nine months as a playwright the. The show former editor for the show question, '' Greenblatt says play-acting.

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