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What is the Shakespeare authorship debate? Show more Show less
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William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest English-speaking writer in history and the world's greatest dramatist. But in an authorship debate that dates back to the Victorian Era, some people believe Shakespeare did not write the plays and poems accredited to him. So who did?

The case against Shakespeare being the author Show more Show less

Shakespeare was too common and uneducated to understand the complexities of his writing. Someone else must have written his plays and poems.
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Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship

The Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship believes the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, used a pseudonym to write the plays attributed to William Shakespeare.
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The Argument

Oxfordians champion Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford as the strongest candidate for the authorship of William Shakespeare’s plays.[1] Oxfordians believe that Shakespeare's lack of education and humble social status means he is unlikely to have written the works attributed to him.[2] Shakespeare's work includes knowledge of languages, the classics, political theory, and history, which suggest they may have been written by a high born and educated gentlemen, like De Vere.[3] De Vere was also connected to the theatre world and known to secretly write some plays and poems in his lifetime. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, to many locations that are settings in Shakespeare's plays. This has lead Oxfordian scholars to present extensive biographical links between Shakespeare's work and De Vere's life story. In particular, many examples of biographical links can be seen in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, which strengthens the Oxfordian authorship theory.[4]

Counter arguments

Stratfordians are scholars who agree with the theory Shakespeare of Stratford was the author of the work accredited to him.[5] There is evidence that Shakespeare was a highly sought after writing partner who collaborated with many other playwrights.[6] In particular, dramatist John Fletcher was known as a frequent collaborator of Shakespeare's, co-writing plays such as All is True, Henry VIII, The Two Noble Kinsmen and the lost Cardenio.[7] If Shakespeare was known to collaborate with a team of playwrights, who knew Shakespeare was Shakespeare, the Earl of Oxford can't take authorship for Shakespeare's work.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Edward-de-Vere-17th-earl-of-Oxford
  2. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-oxfordian.htm
  3. https://williamshakespearefacts.com/did-shakespeare-write-his-plays/
  4. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1991/10/the-case-for-oxford/306478/
  5. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-oxfordian.htm
  6. https://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/plays/collaborations/
  7. https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/shakespeare-survey/why-did-shakespeare-collaborate/1C5846EF6CB0FB556C760DA213241591/core-reader
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 19:47 UTC