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The Life and Times of William Shakespeare (Biography) (Part 5)

July 25th, 2010

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It has been stated that Francis Bacon may have written the plays, but since he viewed authorship as a lowly profession, not wanting it to be associated with his name, he used the name of a common peasant living in Stratford. Upon closer study of both Bacon’s and Shakespeare’s work’s, no correlation can be found as the styles of both writers sharply contrasted each other’s. Also there is no foreseeable connection between Shakespeare’s life and Bacon’s life, suggesting that they never came into contact. Bacon who thought that the classical language of Latin was far more superior than the quaint jargon of English, wrote mostly in Latin where as Shakespeare wrote almost solely in his native language. The few English works of Bacon do not show as much imaginative exploration of metaphors or other literary techniques as did Shakespeare’s works did. Bacon, being a well known man about town, would have found it quite difficult to keep such a secret. Many analysts in support of the Bacon theory have pronounced that there are hidden messages in Cryptograms in William Shakespeare’s plays. The Great Cryptogram by Ignatius Donnelly was published in 1888, claiming to have direct evidence that Bacon was the author of plays that were supposedly written by Shakespeare. This book explained in great detail how one can find these messages in the First Folio, however Shakespeare’s plays contained so many words as a whole, it could be quite easy to identify hidden messages. Some disbelieving critics of Shakespeare’s plays concluded that no one man could have possibly written so many fine works of literary art as this versifier did in his lifetime. Perhaps, they state, all thirty-seven were drafted by a entire committee of

skilled writers, all agreeing to use the pseudonym “Shakespeare”. Not uncommon was it for more than one writer to work in partnership with another one a single play during Elizabethan times. Despite these startling remarks, most level headed critics believe that William Shakespeare was actually the author of his own plays. (William Shakespeare)

Other contenders for the versifier’s crown include Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford, Christopher Marlowe, and even Queen Elizabeth I. The contemporary of Shakespeare, Edward de Vere, represents the idea that a commoner could never have written such ingenious works. A well educated and worldly man, Edward de Vere of Queen Elizabeth I’s court, has seemed to many a likely author of the thirty seven works conventionally thought of as written by William Shakespeare. Another candidate is Christopher Marlowe, who although presumed dead in 1593, having been stabbed to death in a tavern brawl, still lived to pen Shakespeare’s works. Some believe that his death was faked and that Marlowe, an occasional spy in the employ of the Queen, lived long enough to complete all of “Shakespeare’s” plays. Other notable contenders include William Stanley, Earl of Derby; Ben Johnson; Thomas Middleton; Sir Walter Raleigh; and even the Queen herself. There have been many speculations concerning the authorship of William Shakespeare’s plays, but none have been concrete enough to seriously threaten to discredit the famous troubadour.

The primary reason that many speculations of Shakespeare’s identity have arisen over the centuries is the question ever lingering inside of the minds of anyone who has even read one of his plays. How could such a simple country boy with an education only a high school diploma write such timeless masterpieces. A controversy has even arisen because some scholars believe that William Shakespeare was illiterate. Four documents with his signature have survived over the centuries, most hardly legible and even spelled differently. Factual knowledge, intricate theories, and deep philosophical ideas as well as marvelous writing ability flow freely through each and ever one of Shakespeare’s works. Although Shakespeare had previously been thought of as an absolute genius, one must realize that not all the reflection in his plays is his own original conceptualizing. Shakespeare, through the knowledge of being a worldly man, could have written such immortal plays with the creativity and pure intelligence that he possessed without ever going to university or studying any certain subject in depth.

Ultimately, one can clearly see that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon lived a very controversial life full of mystery, myths, and legends. By disproving all of the incorrect theories and bringing light of those ones not proven to the modern reader about Shakespeare’s life, one can learn what a truly magnificent writer the bard was as he made his eternal stamp in literature.

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