Is Shakespeare Really Who We Think He Is? Was the man we know as Shakespeare really the author of the “Shakespearean Works”? We know little about the man called Shakespeare, did he really write the plays, or is he just a man that got confused within history? (Sobran 44) There is not even a correct spelling of the man s name. Some of the spellings include Shakspere, Shakespeare, and Shaxpere. Shakespeare, is it the man, or is it another (Hayes 1)? Shakespeare is both fact and fiction; he was no concern until nearly two hundred years after he perished, and there is still no definite or probably will there ever be a conclusion to this mystery (Sobran 44).
There is another man that can be attributed with the works of “Shakespeare, his name is Edward DeVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (Bethell 47). The man known as Shakespeare does not fit perfectly into the necessary criteria to determine the author of these works. Thomas Looney invented a series of criteria that had to be filled in order to be a possible candidate for the authorship of the Shakespearean works. To have all the knowledge that is portrayed in the works, the author must have accomplished many things. These including a superior education, and from what we know of “Shakespeare, this was not a possibility (Bethell 46). We do not even know if Shakespeare has ever written anything in his life, nor do we know that he was paid for writing these works. The man Shakespeare does not even make a claim that he is the author (Bethell 50). He may not have been able to write the simplest thing of all, his own name (Hayes 1).
Its not how little we know about Shakespeare that causes confusion and difficulty, it s the things that we do know about this man that cause the confusion and difficulty. We know Shakespeare s father, a glover, trader, and landowner, could not write. When he signed documents, he simply made an “X”, This is why it is believed that Shakespeare could not write also, because he probably did not attend school, therefore his education would have been passed down from his father (Bethell 48). Shakespeare s farther married Mary Arden, the daughter of the affluent landowner of Wilmcotte. There is not much more know about John Shakespeare, however there is much more known about Edward DeVere. We know that DeVere was a nobleman, and he could not have his name written upon his writings because he would be considered of a lower class. The plays contain a sense of hate towards some of the noblemen of that time period, which also point the authorship towards DeVere (Hayes 1). When DeVere was a young man, he spent a lot of time in Italy and Europe, this could explain the great detail used in the Shakespearean plays of Venice, and other European locations (Sobran 45). The sonnets have never been able to fit into Shakespeare s life; conversely they fit into DeVere’s life well (Sobran 45).
There are facts that lean both ways in this age-old mystery of authorship, though the Stratfordian man does not fit into the story very well, he may have some advantages that the Oxfordian man may not. DeVere on the other hand, has mostly every fact pointing towards him as the valid author for the “Shakespearean” works, from his education, to his experiences, to his travel. The Oxfordian seems to come out on top. How do we know that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare? We do not actually, we can only assume that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Yet there will always be the people who feel that he did not write his own work and say that he is just a myth and not a man. The world can only be in wonder if Shakespeare wrote his own work because there is no evidence that he really did.Works Cited
Bethell, M. The Life of the Bard http://www.rgd.ac.uk/globe./
Hayes, David Last Shall Be First http://www.imgonline.com/crtcs/ogun/dhayes/
Sobran, L. Who is Edward DeVere? http://www.yoga.com/raw/readings/shakespeare.sonnets.html