Edward de Vere is the Real Shakespeare Essay
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Edward de Vere was an Earl of Oxford. There is an ongoing debate whether William Shakespeare’s plays were his or these were the creations of Edward de Vere. This debate continues because literary scholars and historians reject this theory but was supported by theater practitioners and researchers. De Vere, also known as Oxford, was called a playwright and poet but his works did not survive. Some of his poetry was anonymously published in “Arte of English Poesie” in 1589. This was confirmed by the author George Puttenham.
Very many noble gentlemen in the Court that have written commendably and suppressed it again, or else suffered it to be published without their own names to it, as it were a discredit for a gentleman, to seem learned, and to show himself amorous of any good art. ” (Nelson, 165) Oxford as a dramatist is given proof through the testimony of Francis Meres in “Palladis Tamia. ” He describes his works as “the best for comedy.
” (Whalen, 361). Nonetheless, few of Oxford’s poems and songs are credited to his own name. The dates of these works are uncertain.
Most of which are signed “Earle of Oxenforde” or “E. O. ” When he was alive, Oxford was always in the company of English poets. In 1920, J Thomas Looney presented facts that Oxford was the real author of Shakespeare’s plays. The facts he presented were: a. ) Oxford’s advanced education and first-hand knowledge of an aristocrat’s life b. ) the law c. ) the military c. ) theater background d. ) high praise of Oxford’s works by his peers and e. ) the countless similarities between Oxford’s life and the setting of the plays.
Looney’s hypothesis was that Oxford published his works under a pseudonym since it was disgraceful for an aristocrat like him to be writing plays for public theater. (Nelson, 158). This claim was confirmed by Renaissance scholars. Members of the Tudor aristocracy were recognized as reputable poets but none of them published their works. None of Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Fulke Greville, Sir Edward Dyer and Sir Philip Sidney published their creations despite their recognition in the aristocratic society. (Whalen, 248). Through the ideas presented by Looney, other writers became notable Oxfordians.
Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, columnist Joseph Sobran, biographer and historian David McCullough and actors Orson Welles, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir John Gielgud and Jeremy Irons all believe that it was Oxford who wrote these plays. (Lindquist, 23) However, there are gaps on Looney’s theory. One is the evidentiary gap such as Oxford’s death in 1604. If he were in fact the real author of Shakespeare’s plays, the he wouldn’t have witnessed the wreck of the Sea Venture in Bermuda and the Gunpowder Plot” which were said to be the allusions to Shakespeare’s dramas “The Tempest” and “Macbeth.
Then there are writers like Leonard Digges and Ben Jonson who provide concrete evidence that Shakespeare is a reputed poet. (Lindquist, 24) Oxfordians provide proof through the use of modern research that Shakespeare no longer published his plays after 1604. Also, Oxfordian biographers Mark Anderson and William Farina showed research which indicate that the publication of Shakespeare’s plays actually ended in 1604. (Simpson, 34) Aside from Oxford, there are other candidates who are considered to have been the real author of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.
These are Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon and the Earl of Derby. These theories were rejected by academic establishments. Through the ideas and hypothesis of Looney and the Oxfordians, Oxford as the real author of Shakespeare’s works still stands true. (Nelson, 102) A crucial reasoning of why Oxford is the actual author of Shakespeare’s works come in the political topography of “Hamlet. ” (Propson, 13) The Denmark in the play is identical with the biography Oxford has been accustomed in. The play is an imaginative presentation of what Oxford would have done, based on his other works that were published under a pseudonym.
Oxfordians continue to present other arguments with such depth and accurate research to back up their hypothesis and their theories. Oxford mastered the understanding and experience that is evident in Shakespeare’s plays. Oxford’s poems also have the same flow as those of Shakespeare’s. He explored and developed the stanzaic and metric forms when writing poetry, just like Shakespeare and his sonnets. (Propson, 15) And just like any aristocrat, he was status-conscious and he needed recognition for his success. He was determined to have his way and would have made it sure to have received credit for his plays or his poetry.
So why then would he have allowed this to happen if he actually wrote the plays? Scholars who studied Oxford as a man and the possible Shakespeare describe him as “a puzzle to his generation. ” Oxford was eccentric and creative and he showed varying moods, subtle movements and fierce passions. His words as seen in his poetry are inexplicable and extraordinary. The knowledge and insight of these works cannot be discussed easily, as confirmed by Looney. “The poetic genius has more or less always been a man apart. ” (Whalen, 183)
However, those who believe that Shakespeare was the real author of his works scrutinized Oxford’s works as lacking the depth and the conscious knowledge that Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets are known for. (Lindquist, 28). His poetry did not have the level of knowledge or the comprehension of philosophies and advance consciousness of the characters as evident in Shakespeare’s plays. But these facts do not stop Oxfordians from seeing De Vere as the candidate for Shakespeare’s actual authorship. They strongly believe that his capability as a dramatist and poet “conforms to the mind and capacity and character of Shakespeare. (Simpson, 23)
Oxford was generous and often funded patronage to projects that benefited literacy, religion, medicine, philosophy, science and music. Not only was he a poet and playwright, he was also a patron. This proves that Oxford made sure he was recognized. Another question mark is that ten other Shakespearean plays were published after 1604, which was the year Oxford died. (Lindquist) The strongest claim that Oxford is in fact the real Shakespeare is the cumulative parallels of the earl’s life to the works and the specificity of his personal references and concerns as seen in the plays and the poems.
Oxford was a pure-bred aristocrat and he has been educated along with other noble families. He had profound literary tastes and through this, has become a lyrical poet. He was a traveler and is quite fashionable. He loved music. This is set alongside the fact that Shakespeare was illiterate. Oxfordians say that Shakespeare would have had a hard time writing his own signature, what more composing plays and sonnets. They also reasoned that in Shakespeare’s will, he never mentioned anything about his plays. The same can be said to Oxford.
If he in fact wrote the plays, then why did he not state this in his will? The date and the circumstances of Oxford is the dispute among scholars. The historical records and his way of life are concrete proof that he is aware of the aristocrat’s way of life, compared to Shakespeare, who did not lead a life of luxury. Oxford’s uncle, The Earl of Surrey, originated the sonnet form today which has been used in Shakespeare’s sonnets. (Propson, 46). The question on who wrote this becomes more and more difficult to answer because of this.
Oxford received his BA from Cambridge University and his masters from Oxford University. He was also sent to study law at Gray’s Inn. This only comes to show that he is absolutely knowledgeable of the topics that have been discussed in Shakespeare’s 37 plays. Like most of the characters in Shakespeare’s plays, Oxford was not domesticated by marriage. He was famous for getting in trouble which initiated the wrath of his father-in-law. As a young man, Oxford accidentally killed another man. A lot of Shakespeare’s plays show one character killing another.
Historical records show that Oxford and his companions traveled on the road from Gravesend to Rochester. This is similar to “Henry the Fourth, Part One. ” For some reason, the account in the play also provides the full detail of the assault that is similar to Oxford and his men. Once Oxfordians dug this information up, they used it as another important bullet point in their hypothesis. Oxford was also notorious for his martial prowess. He excelled in sports. He was also good with words. He knew how to provide a vast content of narrative using vocabulary, metaphor and imagery. This is evident in Shakespeare’s plays.
Another factor that adds up to the confirmation of the Oxfordian’s claim is that Oxford conceived theatrical entertainment for the Queen of Whitehall. He was given a lease to the Blackfriars Theater. He was the patron of other writers and he was known by members of various acting companies. He was one of the first recipients of the literary dedications written by writers Edmund Spenser and John Lyly. He was regarded to be one of England’s most excellent writers. To give more proof on the thesis statement of this paper is the fact that Oxford traveled extensively. He visited France and Italy.
Sicily provided the backdrop for Shakespeare’s plays set in Italy. Oxford had a home in Venice. His ship was once attacked by pirates during one voyage. Again, this is another scene from one of Shakespeare’s plays – “Twelfth Night. ” Another historical account of Oxford as Shakespeare is when his brother-in-law Peregrin Bertrie reports upon his return that while having a banquet at Elsinore, “a whole volley of all the great shot of the castle discharged. ” This very account is the line of Shakespeare’s Cluadius in “Hamlet. ” (Propson, 42) However, there are still gaps, especially toward the later years of his life.
In 1958, there had been anonymous publications and performances of Shakespearean plays like Titus Andronicus, Richard the second and Romeo and Juliet. That time, the first quarto bore the name William Shakespeare as the author. That very year, Francis Meres published his works “Palladis Tamia” and credits “Shakespeare. ” At the same time, he identifies the playwright Edward de Vere as “the best for comedy amongst us. ” The 1604 problem will always prevent Oxfordian scholars to completely conclude that Oxford is the real Shakespeare but that does not stop them from presenting concrete facts in what they believe in.
They reach a point wherein they count the number of plays Shakespeare release in a year. They wondered about the inconsistency. They say that in 1593 to 1603, Shakespeare published two plays in a year. Then he stopped writing in 1604 and started publishing five years later. (Propson, 45) Other Oxfordian claims is the fact that Shakespeare was not mourned for in his death. Upon Mark Twain’s observation, “When Shakespeare died in Stratford, it was not an event. It made no stir in England than the death of any other forgotten theater-actor would have made.
Nobody came down from London; there were no lamenting poems, no eulogies, no national tears – there was merely silence, and nothing more. A striking contrast with what happened when Ben Jonson, and Francis Bacon, and Spencer, and Raleigh and the other literary folk of Shakespeare’s time passed from life! No praiseful voice was lifted for the lost Bard of Avon. ” (Simpson, 138) Until now, the Oxfordian theory is popular amongst writers, scholars, researchers and actors. The debate between the Oxfordians and the Stratfordians (those who believe that Shakespeare is the real author of his works) continue.