Shakespeare Essay example

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Shakespeare

Who was Shakespeare? Was he a man from Stratford-Upon-Avon who started with little and became the greatest English author to ever live; or was he a privileged Earl who was a favorite at Queen Elizabeth’s court? That is the great mystery. This particular mystery is difficult to solve because of the lack of documentary evidence. The Elizabethans did not believe in getting everything in writing as people do today. Therefore, the truth may never be known with certainty. However, evidence does exist to support at least two theories about the Shakespearean authorship: one that the man from Stratford wrote the works, the other that Edward de Vere the Earl of Oxford was the author. The question then becomes, which
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He then searched for a man of the same time period who met these criteria (Ogburn). The characteristics that come up again and again in the debates include: the author’s education and knowledge of the Classics, law, and Italy; and the documents and poems of the time that have survived.

The most controversial and subjective argument stems from the apparent wealth of knowledge possessed by the Shakespearean author. Throughout the plays and sonnets, he makes numerous classical allusions. Oxfordians claim that the Shakespeare from Stratford (usually referred to as Shakspere in the debates) could not have possessed the necessary knowledge to draw upon these sources. Tom Bethell, another noted Oxfordian, writes that “Shakspere is not known to have attended Stratford grammar school … [and] if he was a pupil, he probably was not one for long” (Bethell). However, respected Stratfordian Irvin Matus argues that no records of anyone attending the school exist before the 1800’s (Matus). He also notes that Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare’s and a revered playwright, did not have “much more than a few years of rudimentary schooling” and that there are no attendance records for Jonson’s school before 1715 (Matus). On his comprehensive Stratfordian website, David Kathman asserts that “Shakespeare’s classical knowledge, while impressive by our standards, was
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