The Argument For Shakespeare Being The Real Author

1836 words - 7 pages

Ever since the author's background has been questioned, scholars and other people have debated over who wrote the famous plays and sonnets that have the name William Shakespeare signed on them. Many alternative candidates have been presented, such as Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. However, these people do not have strong or valid arguments to support their theories. Based on biographical evidence, Shakespeare, not Edward de Vere, most likely wrote Shakespearean works. The arguments for other candidates like de Vere are not strong enough to show that Shakespeare did not write Shakespearean works.
The argument for Edward de Vere does sound plausible at first. Many connections have been made to Oxford's life and Hamlet (Bethell). Some of these connections are how Oxford and Hamlet are similar in the sense that “both were scholars, athletes, and poets”. Both have stabbed a supposed spy (one of Burghley's servants and Polonius respectively), both have a friend with similar names (Oxford had a friend named Horace Vere, who is “called Horatio in some documents”, and Hamlet's best friend is Horatio), and both were “captured by pirates en route to England”. Many Oxfordians concludes that these connections are probably not coincidence because of how abundant they are in Hamlet. Oxford also happens to have a very high education. Nowell, one of Oxford's tutors, says, “I clearly see that my work for the Earl of Oxford cannot be much longer required” (qtd. in Green). Oxford was so intelligent that his tutor said he had learned enough, which means he most likely knew enough to be able to write Shakespearean works. Oxford also has a legitimate motive for why he must hide his name by using another. Many people of noble status “have no courage to write and if they have are loath to be known of their skill”(Bethell). This is because plays and poems were frowned upon. Actors in plays “were seen as lowly and disreputable, on the same social level as the prostitutes who cruised the galleries of the playhouses”, according to Scott McCrea, because they were “the sites of drunkeness, blasphemy, and crime”. If someone makes money from drinking, stealing, hitting, and other inappropriate behavior, one can see why people would compare acting to something like prostitution. Poetry was not as bad as plays, but “it was considered dishonorable for a nobleman, or even a gentleman, to waste his time with such a frivolous hobby”. Apparently, writing poetry was not taken as seriously as it is today. Oxfordians are convinced that Oxford wrote Shakespearean works because of biographical connections to Hamlet, Oxford's education, and his motive for using an alternate name.
While the Oxfordian argument makes sense, it does not hold up well to scrutiny. Scott McCrea, who wrote The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question, criticizes people who support alternative candidates to Shakespeare, saying that one piece of evidence leads a person to think that the...

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