Did Shakespeare Really Write Everything? Essay

1619 words - 6 pages

Despite all of these theories and accepted variants, Shakespeare, in his works, accords high value to preserving one's name and honor. A passage from Othello proves this when it is said, "Who steals my purse steals trash... but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed" (III.iii.157-161). If William Shakespeare truly wrote such a passage, then his utter indifference to the spelling of his name is contradictory. "In addition, the pattern would require belief that the reserved the Shakespeare spelling almost exclusively - and uniformly - for the poem and plays, but permitted the Stratfordian spelling for his business dealings" (Whalen 34). Then, despite the celebrity-status he had achieved in London, chose to stay attached to the Stratfordian spelling, even in his dying days. The dichotomy in the way he treats the spelling of his name is hard to accept. What is even harder to accepted is the fact that Shakespeare never developed a signature. The man penned thousands of words of the most wonderful poetry and it is truly troubling that he ever signed his work. Many authors of all ages have had almost illegible handwriting, however, their signatures were distinct and true to their nature. The lack of signature is truly devastating because even if many authors had varied their signatures, it was recognizable and could be attributed to them. "Will Shakspere's six purported signatures, however, do not bespeak a fluent writer" (Whalen 34). "The distinction between the two names is either ignored or rejected in conventional Shakespearean biography" (Whalen 34). Biographers have attempted to normalize the Stratford's name to Shakespeare. By normalizing the spelling, the reader is not only relieved, but no longer required to keep track of the variants of spelling. It also allows the biographers to avoid potential identity problems. By normalizing the spelling, this whole dispute is avoided. It also ignores the fact that there may be two different men. By avoiding the distinction between these two men and their vastly contrasting backgrounds, they can be fused into one person. Based on legal documents, one name refers to an actual person; the other, however, seems to be a pseudonym. This pseudonym seems to belong to a writer who did not want to be publicized. "Most biographies make no mention of the distinction and use the Shakespeare spelling throughout" (Whalen 35). Some biographies, however, address the distinction. For any discussion about this dispute, it would be logical to distinguish between the two names. The issue is knowing whether or not two people are involved — and modernizing the spelling negates the issue as a whole. Furthermore, it suggested to avoid the use of specific locutions in order to step away from discriminations that the man from Stratford was truly Shakespeare. "The man from Stratford" is an example of a locution. "They argue that it tends to prejudice the discussion"...

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