EPISODE 208: WHO WROTE WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS?

It is undeniable that the man, the actor William Shakespeare existed- he was born in Stratford upon Avon and died in Stratford upon Avon- the few records that exist at least tell us this much;  so then WHY do so many believe to this day that he isn’t the true author of all of the plays that have been attributed to him, and that someone else (another playwright and possibly a woman) was hiding behind his name?

Let’s examine the evidence.

EPISODE 208: WHO WROTE WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS? CRACKPOP

Episode Contents:

QUESTIONABLE ASPECTS OF SHAKESPEARE’S OFFICIAL STORY:

1) HIS MANY SIGNATURES

The Shakespeare "Signatures" Deconstructed | Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship
The only six signatures in existence that are known to be in Shakespeare’s own handwriting. The spelling of his name is different in almost every single one- he even spelled it two different ways in a single document (his will)!
The spellings include:
Willm Shakp
William Shakspēr
Wm Shakspē
William Shakspere
Willm Shakspere
By me William Shakspeare

2) HIS LACK OF A FORMAL EDUCATION

Shakespeare, Oxford and the Grammar School Question | Shakespeare Oxford  Fellowship
Though no records prove it, Shakespeare historians insist that he was likely educated in a small grammar school in his hometown of Stratford Upon Avon. Either way, it is believed that he didn’t attend any university, and some people believe the true author of Shakespeare’s plays would’ve needed to receive an extensive education in order to reference the subjects his plays do like law, philosophy, classical literature, ancient and modern history, mathematics, astronomy, art, music, and medicine.

3) HIS LACK OF EXPERIENCE

Cultural Impact of the Elizabethan Era – Authors of Discord
Because he captures the mannerisms and etiquette of the upper nobility class so well, many argue that Shakespeare’s plays would’ve had to have been written by someone with first-hand experience with the royal courts. His plays also reference other countries like Italy and France- though there’s no record of him ever visiting those places.

4) HIS WILL

William Shakespeare's last will and testament: original copy including  three signatures | Shakespeare Documented
Shakespeare’s final will is written in mundane and ordinary language and makes NO mention of any of his plays or manuscripts (both published and unpublished). And although he makes detailed arrangements for his two surviving daughters, Shakespeare’s only mention of his wife is towards the end where he only leaves her his “second best bed.” (read the entire will here)

5) HIS MISSING WORK

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Though historians have made desperate attempts to locate them, not a single manuscript, scene outline, script, or even correspondence letter has EVER been found in Shakespeare’s own handwriting. Many argue that they just didn’t survive the 400+ years since their publication, but without even finding a scribble- it has left many questioning whether or not he was really the writer of his works.

PROPOSED CANDIDATES OF THE “TRUE” SHAKESPEARE:

1) SIR FRANCIS BACON

Francis Bacon's Classic Essay of Studies
The famous philosopher and scientist was the first candidate to be proposed as the “real” Shakespeare; he was a member of the Tudor court and some believe he was protecting his reputation by hiding behind Shakespeare’s name in pursuing his passion of playwriting. The play “Love Labors Lost” includes the latin word: “honorificabilitudinitatibus” which some believe is an anagram for: “Hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi”. In English, that’s: “These plays, F. Bacon’s offspring, are preserved for the world.”

2) CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE

Evidence That Christopher Marlowe Was The “Ghost” Of William Shakespeare |  Ayres on Economy, Environment, Energy & Growth
The playwright Christopher Marlowe was already well-established before Shakespeare started getting published. Many point to the similarities in their writing styles as proof that Marlowe was the true Shakespeare. The most obvious example of this in the following passages:
“But stay! What star shines yonder in the east?
The lodestar of my life, if Abigail!”
(from Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta)
and
“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!”
(from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet)

3) MARY SIDNEY HERBERT

That's 'Countess of Pembroke' to You! by Harriet… | Poetry Foundation
Having an advanced classical education and being a high-ranking member of the Queen’s court, this published poet and playwright has been suggested as the real Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s First Folio is even dedicated to Herbert’s two sons- though no relationship between him and the two young men had been known while he was alive.

4) EMILIA BASSANO

emilia bassano Archives - The History of Literature
This Italian woman was one of the first English-speaking women to ever publish a volume of poetry; she is suggest to have been Shakespeare’s mistress as well giving her a position to possibly have used his name to publish her works under.

5) EDWARD DEVERE

Nothing is Truer Than Truth An interview with Director Cheryl Eagan-Donovan  about her film about Edward de Vere and the Shakespeare authorship  controversy. - NewEnglandFilm.com | NewEnglandFilm.com
The most popular candidate thought to be behind Shakespeare’s works- Edward Devere was extremely well-educated, well-traveled, and was even fluent in four languages. He even stopped publishing his own poetry around the same time that Shakespeare was first getting published.

BONUS CONTENT:

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