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New insights on the Shakespeare conspiracy

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posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:02 PM
So I'm reading the article, and I can't help but notice that this author does not really give any concrete evidence as to why he thinks it had to be Shakespeare who wrote it all.

I graduated with an English degree and took high level Shakespeare classes so I know first hand how these Shakespearean professors absolutely love everything about Shakespeare and get quite emotional when the subject of the conspiracy is brought up. Mostly they just laugh it off hysterically and can't really give any concrete factual evidence.

What makes more sense? An average person with no real worldly experience can write plays involving royalty and high society culture, or a nobleman wrote the plays anonymously and Shakespeare perhaps only directed them? Who knows what the truth is, but the fact that the Shakespearean culture rarely can give facts and vehemently denies there is a conspiracy is perhaps telling.

"If you can say something about Shakespeare, you can say something about how English literature and literature in general works."

This is from the CNN article. It explains how they definitely have something to lose if Shakespeare turns out to be something other than what their tradition teaches. I find it unfortunate, why wouldn't you want to know the truth? If he did in fact write it, fine, but whenever a conspiracy refuses to go away you can't just piss and moan and call the other side crazies.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:11 PM
Whoa... how did I miss this debate all these years?
I'm intrigued, to say the least ...

*A quick overview, for those who may wish to catch up.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:22 PM

Originally posted by DISRAELI
reply to post by Threadfall

My copy of Shakespeare has got a long article by the old actor Henry Irving criticising the Bacon theory. Amongst other things, he points out that the plays are soaked in the kind of metaphors (including, but not limited to "All the world's a stage") which would only have been written by somebody who positively lived and breathed the theatre on a 24-hours a day basis. A professional actor, in other words. Obviously Bacon was not a professional actor.

There are all kinds of "actors"

I am interested in what could possibly be in the dead guys grave though. How do we get them to defile it? Seriously, dead and gone now lets get to the bottom of this.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:31 PM
reply to post by filosophia

I graduated with an English degree and took high level Shakespeare classes so I know first hand how these Shakespearean professors absolutely love everything about Shakespeare and get quite emotional when the subject of the conspiracy is brought up. Mostly they just laugh it off hysterically and can't really give any concrete factual evidence.

I can only speak for a handful of English Lit. lecturers. Of these, they have studied the life of Shakespeare and read the biographies which informs their view that he was the author. In some degree, an English professor laughing at the Oxfordian ideas is similar to a physicist laughing off questions of a moon-hoax.

What makes more sense? An average person with no real worldly experience can write plays involving royalty and high society culture, or a nobleman wrote the plays anonymously and Shakespeare perhaps only directed them? Who knows what the truth is, but the fact that the Shakespearean culture rarely can give facts and vehemently denies there is a conspiracy is perhaps telling.

Leaving aside Shakespeare's works, there are over 50 sets of contemporary documents that relate directly to his life. Much of the foundation of the 'Shakespeare didn't do it' claims is generated by a small group of intellectual snobs some 200 years after his death. His work was held in disdain by many academics at the time and public theatre was considered very low-brow. Ben Johnson had a higher standing!

As his star slowly rose, it then became an awkward reality that a man from a lower class could possibly excel in literature. Shakespeare's deserved position in the ranks of human achievement was cast in stone when the conspiracies began to be attached to him. All the greats have a conspiracy wrapped around their endeavours.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 03:34 PM
reply to post by LadyS

Hi LadyS and others-

I see that there is a definite reluctance on the part of persons who 'fell in love with Shakespeare' at school etc. even to concede that more than one writer may have 'had their fingers in the pudding' as they say in the 'plays' specifically reflected in the 1623 1st Folio - the printer destroyed (apparently, unless they all burned in the Globe Fire of 1610 during the canon blow in the Play of Henry VIII ) all the 'foule' papers (i.e. the rough drafts, the prompter's copies and the actor-crib sheets etc.).

But take a look at a single play in detail - e.g. The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus - onee can see fairly easily how at least TWO different contributors are involved - it looks as though an earlier play (e.g. The Tragedie of Titus Andronicus, by George Poole, c. 1576) had a number of speech 'inserts' put into its trunk at a later date c. 1593(and also some whole scene deletions) - and any modern English teacher ('in love with The Bard
who would be bold (or foolish !) enough to claim that a single play such as 'Titus Andronicus' (to cite only ONE example) was by William Shakespeare the Actor from Stratford and ONLY William Shakespeare the Actor from Stratford, would have to defend himself agains the physical and stylistic evidence within the play itself - which is overwhelming pointed in the OPPOSITE direction (i.e. Titus is clearly the literary work of George Poole and others, possibly including Eduard de Vere the Earl of Oxford and the rural actor-farmer from Stratford 'Wm Shaxberd' )

There are other issues with 'unity of conception' and literary 'consistency' within other plays, even in (shock and awe !) a 'canonical' play such as 'The Merchant of Venice' one can detect what seem to be indications of later insertions/alterations of dialogue to the characterisation of the Jew 'Shylock - clearly portrayed more sympathetically in the first 2 Acts or so, but then at the very end, is suddenly (and almost without warning) totally vilified - possibly reflecting a last minute change by the Theatre owners more to please a (what we woud to-day label) an 'antiSemitic' London audience (Marlowe's famous and successful play entitled 'The Jew of Malta' made so much money with anti-Semitic dialogue, that it is very possible that the Jew Shylock's character was muddied to make the play more palatable to a late 16th and early 17th century London audience - especially the groundlinigs - so one can imagine the managers of the theatre wanting to adapt what was originally written for something more 'sellable'...etc.

These are just a couplee of very tiny examples of what seems to show sometimes several different literary hands at work within a single 'Shakespearean' play - and (like Hollywood in the 1930s) even at times large massive text changes that were made 'un-credited' in order to increase the likelihood of 'audience acceptance' - whose tastes were forever changing with the they is business and box office is box office...even back then !!

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:17 PM
reply to post by filosophia

What makes sense is that a literary genius named Shakespeare wrote the plays. Typical of most of the greatest men of the past, he was not a royal, and did not grow up among the wealthy class There are only a very few of the greats who can be considered royals, or products of universities, and I can't think of one who would be considered a top tier genius. Most of the greats lived very unusual lives, and were often outcasts.

To pretend differently is to ignore most of history.

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 02:02 PM
reply to post by Sigismundus

Most likely, the reason some of Shakespeare's work seem to be written by other writers is the result of actors taking on the roles of the characters, and improvising lines and re-interpretating lines, and some accomplished actors making considerable changes, that Shakespeare thought was better than his original dialogue, so he put the new improved lines into the final version.

This would also explain the extensive vocabulary used, as many of the words might have came from numerous people. The structure, story, and goal of the dialogue would have all came from Shakespeare, he just would have benefited considerably from the contributions of numerous others.

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 03:07 PM
reply to post by poet1b

Hi again, Poet1B --

I certainly have to agree with your general point about Elizabethan-Jacobean plays (c. 1575 -1615) going through a vast number of impromptu changes over time before they get 'fixed' into their printed editions - certainly the more verbose of the London actors (like the witty comical actor-farmer Wm Shaxberd of Stratford who aappeared not only in plays later attributed to 'Shakspere' but also appeared as an actor in other plays e.g. by his sometime drinking partner Ben Jonson e.g. Sejanus in 1603) were prone to ad-libbing their assigned lines at times to suit a new production or specific audience (i.e. adding or changing or deleting those specific words that are deliberately written in the scripts to be placed into their mouths as 'spoken' ) by various playwrights, and then in the end, the new / adapted /changed/ transmorphed dialogue of various actors later gets gradually placed into the acctual body of the play by the time they appear in their various printed editions of the plays.

We see this 'gradual solidifying of the received text' trend in the Hebrew biblical and para-biblical literature when closely comparing the 'marginalia' of the earliest known copies e.g. the Dead Sea Scroll material which was hand copied c. 350 BCE to 68 CE (and included hundreds of variant readings and many comments/addditional words /phrases deliberately placed into margins of various families of old testameent texts by various copyists - and then copied into the body of the text by later editors, often for a variety of reasons) when compared with the later 'clean' copies of the later (and since AD 100, 'official') pointed (vowelled) Masoretic text (c. 1000 CE) coming out of St Petersburg.

Here is a glimpse of the Insertion Process, which can be found in a later version of Hamlet (in thh 1623 First Folio printed Edition)

HAMLET: Wee'l ha't to morrow night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some Dosen or Sixteene Lines, which I would set downe, and insert in't? Could ye not?
PLAYER: Aye, my Lord---
HAMLET: Very well. Follow that Lord, & looke you mock him not...

Here (below) is an example of what the earliest known version of the opening lines of the famous TO BE OR NOT TO BE speech (as purportedly written/adapted by the actor Wm Shagsberd c. 1590s) as it appeared in a printed edition by one of the actors who spoke the lines from an earlier version of Hamlet (aka Ur-Hamlet) Act III scene i

HAMLET - To be, or not to be, aye, there's the Pointe:
To Die, to sleepe, is that Alle?
No; to sleepe, to dreame - aye, marry, there it goes
For in that Dreame of Deathe, when wee awayke
And borne byfore an Euerlasting Iudge
From whence no Passynger euer return'd
The undiscouer'd Countrie, at whose Syghte
The happy Smile, & ye acccursed Damn'd
But for this, th'Joyfull Holpe of this,
Who wu'ld beare ye Scornes & Flatterie of ye Worlde
Scorn'd by ye right-riche, the riche-curssed of ye Poore? &tc.

The above earlier version of the play certainly sounds a lot less like the later famous Hamlet play we have come to revere - the question is...who changed it into the more familiar version by 1623?

Certainly, it is obvious, that by 1623, the text had enlarged iteself immeasureably and 'morphed' quite drastically into something far more 'University-literate' with a much more extensive spoken vocabulary and much less ham-actor-Stratford school boy-limited 'style of utterance' -

HAMLET - To be, or not to be, that is the Question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the minde to suffer
The Slynges & Arrowes of outragious Fortune,
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to dye, to sleepe
No more; and by a sleepe, to say we end
The Heart-ake, and the thousand Naturall shockes
That Flesh is heyre too? 'Tis a consummation
Deuoutly to be wish'd. To dye to sleepe,
To sleepe, perchance to Dreame; I, there's the rub,
For in that sleepe of death, what dreames may come,
When we haue shufflel'd off this mortall coile,
Must giue vs pawse. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would beare the Whips and Scornes of time,
The Oppressors wrong, the poore mans Contumely,
The pangs of dispriz'd Loue, the Lawes delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurnes
That patient merit of the vnworthy takes,
When he himselfe might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardles beare
To grunt and sweat vnder a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The vndiscouered Countrey, from whose Borne
No Traueller returnes, Puzels the will,
And makes vs rather beare those illes we haue,
Then flye to others that we know not of...&tc.

How much of the later (better) version is the product of more educated persons, or just talented and highly creative actors (who themeslves were often playwrights !) adding and deleting those originally choppy lines?

Of course we have to realise that there WERE several plays that WERE in fact collaborations e.g. Henry the VIII (aka 'Alle is True', c. 1609-1610) where the Shaxberd actor (or his literary 'source') seems to have added a number of scenes to a play of John Fletcher.

We can clearly discern TWO different 'styles of utterance' - the more fluent or 'witty' lines seem to be the following - and ccould (theoretically?) be attributed to the actor Wm Shaxberd as his own separate contributions)

The Booke of HENRIE EIGHT (aka Alle is True)

Act I scene i and ii
Act II scenes i, iii, and iv
Act III, the opening lines of scene ii only
Act IV scene ii
Act V scene i

The rest of the play of Henrie Eight seems to have been written mainly in John Fletcher's less fluid style with some additional minor contributions by George Wilkins - so in this one play, we have at least THREE different hands at work.

So not only do we see actors changing - morphing - adding to lines in plays as they evolve, but even from the very beginning, we see several playwright collaborators at work - on a common goal - i.e. to produce what we to-day would call a 'hit'...

The question is....should clearly 'collaborative plays' like Henry VIII (to which we may add more e.g. Pericles Prince of Tyre, whose confused and sometimes choppy and unorganised text is mainly by men such as Gower, George Wilkins and John Fletcher with only random additions and changes by the actor-producer-farmer Wm Shaxperd) be considered 'Shakespeare' or not?

...'that is the Question' !!!!!

posted on Oct, 20 2011 @ 04:33 PM
reply to post by Threadfall

They think it's a conspiracy that he is not the real author of the works because FOR ONE thing, he spelled his name differently on everything he wrote.

posted on Oct, 20 2011 @ 05:02 PM

Originally posted by LifeInDeath

Even though I'm a skeptic, by nature - and I do believe Shakespeare was Shakespeare, the guy born in Stratford - I sometimes can't help but wonder if the reason for his genius wasn't somehow supernatural. Call it being touched by a "divine" or "angelic" power, if yo want, I don't know.

You are on the right track.

Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being

posted on Oct, 21 2011 @ 05:44 PM
reply to post by Student X

Hi Student X

The trouble with identifying ALL the material in the 'Shakespeare Canon' to one man is that there are different 'writing styles' or 'styles of utterance' as though the plays went through various recensions or editings by different poets.

The witty-comic Actor from Avon (who left school at 13 years of age upon hs father's bankruptcy - his father was an lliterate glover who had been earlier elected Mayor of Avon even though he could not read ! ) spoke and wrote with a broad Warwickshire accent and who signed his name (if those weird signatures really are his own) Wm Shaxper and Wm Shagsberd and never spelled it 'Shakespeare' - it was later publishers who spelled it the more common way...

We can perhaps safely attribute the witty-comic Warwickshire-accented speeches placed in to the mouth of Fallstaff ('fall+ staff = shake + speare'?) in Henry VI parts 1 and 2 and most of the material in The Merry Wives of Windsor to the heavy-drinking actor (and part-theatre owner) 'Bill Shagsberd' as well as most of the low-comic sections that were (sometimes clumsilly) inserted into more 'serious-drama' plays e.g. the Door Man Scene in MacBeth, or the Fish-Man scenes in The Tempest, or the snake salesman in the final act of Antony & Cleopatra (and many more scenes e.g. to be found in The Taming of the Shrew etc.) - added to serve the purpose of 'comedy relief' in a theatre tradition than played to the 1-pennny groundlings as well as to the upper classes' more refined sensibilities......

But bearing in mind that the often drunk actor (according to Ben Jonson, who also was an uneducated lush) Bill Shagsberd's own father was an illiterate, and that his daughter Judith was also an illiterate (she had to sign her name with an X on her marriage contract), we find it difficult to believe that it was the same man who penned the 'high falutin' noble speeches in Richard II, Hamlet, King Lear, MacBeth, Othello, Richard III etc.

Stage Plays written in London between 1550 and 1630 were often the product of several playwrights hands (see the drafts we have for the play of the Boke of Sirre Thomas More, c. 1589 which shows 5 different contributors !! - and until we can come up with an authentic 'Shakespearean' autograph copy with his own 'fowle papered' corrections in it etc we will have to assume that several persons (including Eduard deVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, whose private letters are simiilar in style to the high speeches in the Plays and who died c. 1604 leaving behind several unfinished works to be polished up by others...)

posted on Oct, 22 2011 @ 08:31 AM
reply to post by Sigismundus

Nice to be remembered.

Thanks for the well written post, clearly you know the subject well.

I think if it is known, then credit should be given to the other collaborators, and it is important to recognize that Shakespeare's work is indeed the result of such collaborations. That is the truth about all great works, which are predominately the works of of numerous minds. It seems that our institutions of education are hung up on giving a few people the credit for many, and then later assigning that credit to some designated noble. This type of intellectual dishonesty is predominate everywhere, even in science. That they want to give all the credit to one person, when many were involved, is a sneaky way of building the pedestal that so many crave to stand upon, putting them above the crowd.

That they want to give Bacon credit for the collaborative work of actors and playwrights in the lowbrow theaters of London is a travesty.

I have to say, I like the shorter version of Hamlet's famous speech better than the longer version. It says the same thing, but with fewer words. I wonder if anyone ever puts on the shorter version of the play. I think it might be more appealing to most people.

posted on Oct, 22 2011 @ 06:37 PM
reply to post by poet1b

Hi Poet Ib -

Thanks very much for your kind Post - woops, I just noticed that there is a typographical error in my immedaitely earlier posting - ref: the plays re: Falstaff - it should read : Henry IV parts 1 and 2 (he is only talked about, i.e. offstage, in Henry V) not Henrie VI - typo, sorry 'bout that !

But speaking of HENRY VI – see Part 1 – written c. 1589 – note that it is stylistically made up of possibly as many as 5 different 'playwright authors' one of which may have been Wm. Shaxberd – the Warwickshire dialect sections make up about 20 % of the text of this early play ‘of Shakespeare’.

Here are some of the ‘other contributor-plyawrights’ whose work is reflected in various parts of the Plays attributed to the one man ‘Wm Shakespeare’ in the various printed Editions under the one now-familiar name.

Thomas Middleton, M.A. Oxon (lived c. 1580-1627) known to have added & revised whole speeches to drafts of Macbeth (added the Wytches Speeches), Measure for Measure & Timon of Athens etc. George Wilkins (c. 1568 – 1618) – added & revised speeches for Pericles Prince of Tyre – Middleton worked as an actor and playwright for the King's Men 1604-1611) i.e.
after the death of the Earl of Oxford, Eduard De Vere (1604)

Arthur Munday (Compiled the Play of Sir Thomas More, with 5 other playwrights)

John Fletcher (collaborated along with Beaumont with Actor ‘Wm Shaxberd’ on ‘Henrie Eight’ & ‘The Two Noble Kinsmen’ & ‘Cardenio’)

George Peele (wrote at least 70% of the play Titus Andronicus, with some revised speeches added by ‘Wm Shaxberd’ the actor) ; traces of other playwrights are also found in certain parts of this hotchpotch-text.

Here are some other possible contributors (with both larger & smaller contributions)

Sir Thomas North
Thomas Heywood
George Chapman
William Strachey (see his: Sonnets on Sejanus)
Thomas Nashe (1567-1601)
Samuel Daniel (see his ‘The Compalint of Rosamund’, and ‘Cleopatra’, 1592)
Robert Greene (M.A. Oxon.)
John Gower (author of Confessio Amantis & Vox Clamantis)
Henry Willowbie
Gabriel Harvey
Arthur Brooke etal. etal. etal.

Interestingly, perhaps...Mr William Barksted's poem Mirrha (pub. 1607) appears to refer to 'Shakespeare' in the past tense i.e. as if he were dead by then – note that Eduard de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford) died back in 1604 but the actor Shaxberd did not die until 1616 – long after 1607 !!

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