Monday, September 10, 2007

Is William Shakespeare really William Shakespeare??

Is William Shakespeare (famous English poet and playwright) really William Shakespeare (the one from Stratford-upon-Avon)? Who actually wrote Shakespeare's plays and poetry?

"Isn't it odd, when you think of it, that you may list all of the celebrated Englishmen, Irishmen, Scotchmen … clear back to the first Tudors — a list of five hundred names, shall we say? — and you can … learn the particulars of the lives of every one of them. Every one of them except one — the most famous, the most renowned — by far the most illustrious of them all — Shakespeare!" Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

"In the work of the greatest geniuses, humble beginnings will reveal themselves somewhere, but one cannot trace the slightest sign of them in Shakespeare … I am not concerned with who wrote the works of Shakespeare … but I can hardly think it was the Stratford boy. Whoever wrote them had an aristocratic attitude." Charles "Charlie" Chaplin (1889 – 1977)

Two of Britain's most distinguished Shakespearean actors (Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance) along with Dr William Leahy, head of English at Brunel University, have launched a formal 'Declaration of Reasonable Doubt' about the identity of William Shakespeare.

The declaration is available at The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition web site:

According to the site, "We have nothing against the man from Stratford-on-Avon, but we doubt that he was the author of the works. Our goal is to legitimize the issue in academia so students, teachers and professors can feel free to pursue it."

The document argues that a body of literary works which displays an understanding of law, history and mathematics could not have been written by a mere commoner from an illiterate lower-class household in Warwickshire. Furthermore, no literary works or letters have been found in his handwriting and there is no record of payment for producing plays or other writings. Shakespeare's detailed will, in which he notably left his wife 'my second best bed with the furniture', fails to refer to any theatrical legacy.

Who could be the real Shakespeare?

EDWARD DE VERE, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604): Knowledge of aristocratic life, the military and background in the theatre, along with the similarities between his life and the plays have led to theories that he was the "real" writer.

MARY SIDNEY, Countess of Pembroke (1561-1621): Had "the means, the motive and the opportunity". Though she published writings appropriate for a female writer, a male pen name could have granted more freedom.

CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, playwright (1564-1593): Inconsistencies around accounts of Marlowe's death have fuelled conspiracy theories that it was in fact faked and he continued to write on under another name.

SIR FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626): It has been suggested that the inscription on one Shakespeare bust concealed the sentence: "FRA BA WRT EAR AY" - an abbreviation of: "Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays."

Well, I don't know Shakespeare enough to give any comments. However, what if... just what if... the William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon is not the real William Shakespeare... Everyone in the world has been praising the wrong person... This would be the biggest joke in literature world... hahahahaha....

The Observer News
Yahoo News HK

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