We’ve all heard of Shakespeare, hopefully! We all know that he wrote Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Tempest, Othello and others and is the God-father of Elizabethan and Jacobean Stage plays. This article is about the big conspiracy theory of 16th century Theatre World. Did a guy named William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon write these plays? Because he wasn’t educated enough!? Could it be some other author trying to protect his identity. Yes, friends, this is the big conspiracy theory of 16th century Theatre World. But the interesting part is, this confusion began in 19th Century! Ahh, the woes of us sceptics.
The debate begins…
There’s Proposition putting proof and facts that validate the claim of William Shakespeare from Stratford-Upon-Avon being the author and then, there’s the opposition, vehemently opposing the claims and giving their own facts and findings that validate 80 other identities for the authorship!
The opposition starts playing dirty, and throws names of other famous playwrights of that age to de-credit William Shakespeare. Big names get caught up. Names like Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe. The atmosphere is tense. And then, there comes a solution In 1987. Ward Elliott and Robert J Valenza supervised a stylometric study that used a computer program to compare Shakespeare’s stylistic habits with 32 other authors, so as to reveal the true author of the plays. The study rejected all 32 authors, this dispelled not only the claim that a group of men were the author but also rejected individuals. Thus, validating the claim for William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon.
But, sceptism never dies out. To every proposition there must exist an opposition. In Shakespeare’s authorship issue, the proposition are famously called Stratfordians, and opposition are the anti-stratfordians. While the stratfordians rely on historical documents and testimonies by contemporary poets. Our opposition went a step ahead, and relied on circumstantial evidence to prove their point. They asked ‘how could a man with no higher education gain a vocabulary of 17000 to 28000 words? The preposition pointed out that his knowledge of myths and legends is skewed, as evident through his play. The opposition was silent.
And the heated debate continues…
The answer to the authorship question cannot be given by any of the parties. But we can’t deny the fact Shakespeare(one man or many men) created pieces in English Literature which redefined the art of theatre and English in itself. The emotions of love, jealousy, betrayal; the comedy of errors were so beautifully portrayed that it became the basis of the art works later. Here, we are in the 21st century still trying to create adaptations of his..their..err works.
Sometimes, I like to think of Shakespeare as not a person but a symbol who taught us the art of writing and storytelling. If he was a person with no formal education who had a stupendous vocabulary makes for an inspiring read which probably we would never know. But for all of us, we can keep questioning his authorship and am pretty sure he’ll be replying with ‘As You Like It’
What is your take on the Shakespeare authorship controversy? What do you guys think? Mention in the comments below.