Shakespeare’s Big Question: Did He or Did He Not?
English poet and playwright William Shakespeare has brought to life several literary masterpieces. His works include All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, and many more. All of these works have gained recognition and acclaim all around the world. However, controversies follow this great published literary author’s name as questions were subsequently raised against his authorship to his works.
The Opposing Voices
Many people adulated Shakespeare for the mere fact that he has created literary works that were worth becoming classics. However, it wasn’t until the 19th Century that people started questioning the legitimacy of Shakespeare’s authorship of these great plays and poems. Shakespeare’s humble origins and life events don’t seem to match with the prestigious works published under his name. Moreover, his educational background wasn’t completely documented, and that is what these detractors are using to drive their point home. After all, how could a person with no proper educational background have such profound literary prowess? His wide vocabulary is a complete mismatch to his level of education. Another proof that these dissidents present is the fact that Shakespeare’s name was always misspelled, especially with the handwritten manuscripts. It further proves their theory that Shakespeare only represents the real author or authors.
While many questioned him, many contemporary historians and poets voiced out their support. Documentary evidence were presented to validate Shakespeare’s authorship. Not only that, many scholars believed that one’s biographical interpretation is not a reliable factor in determining whether or not an individual can become a literary great. With all these evidences, Shakespeare’s authorship to his works were no longer questioned by the vast majority. Circumstantial evidences of those who interacted with Shakespeare during his time as a playwright were also uncovered. One strong evidence that has supported Shakespeare’s authorship to his works was that of historian and antiquarian, Sir George Buc. He is known to be a meticulous person who attributes literary works to the correct authors.
Many historians also came to study Shakespeare’s works. Through their investigative and stylometric study, they concluded that there is consistency and pattern in all of Shakespeare’s works. The results further concluded that the author of those works is just a single individual and not a group. While there may be little changes, these are simply in accordance to the changing literary trend at the time.
Of course, the questioning voices weren’t completely quelled. A relatively small group working towards properly attributing works to the correct authors still raise doubts on Shakespeare’s authorship vehemently.
Depending on which side one is on, one’s perspective of William Shakespeare will change greatly. The evidences that are both in opposition and in support of Shakespeare’s authorship should be kept in perspective. Just one thing to note, though. If Shakespeare’s authorship becomes indisputable, it will greatly show that one’s genius is never limited to his or her background.