Shaken Up

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Shaken Up

Is Shakespeare really as anonymous as Anonymous claims.

Read Full Article

One would think that you, of all people, would jump on the most insulting facet of the conspiracy theory: It is entirely based on the malicious lie that only the born-wealthy and private-school-educated can create great works of art, and individual achievement potential is determined by social class.

That is literally the ONLY "evidence" offered by most proponents of the theory.

It's a travesty that the one movie that portrays the Elizabethan theatre as the Mos Eisley-esque realm of hedonism and dirty secrets that it was has to be a movie that further trumps up this question... and one that will doubtlessly be pointed to as gospel by the new crop of nutcases.

Now I want to make a historical drama about Delia Bacon (the sad, insane woman who started this whole thing) and the historical fallout, documenting the true idiocy of the theory, and how it has been selfishly motivated all the way. We know more about Shakespeare's biography and history than pretty much any other non-royal figure of the era.

While I think the theory is crap & got tired of listening to the actors/director talking about how convinced they were by it in the promo stuff; I don't see any reason to get too worked up about it. That said, if it's big hit it will probably result in the Da Vinci Code effect of a slew of "serious" historical books being published & annoying tourists swamping Stratford Upon Avon to pooh pooh Shakespeare with their new found superior knowledge.

honestly i think i want to see this. it sounds awesome. also the version of the conspiracy i heard was that Shakespeare wasn't a front for just one man, but a bunch of nobles all submitting plays to him for the same reason De Vere would've. but anywa sounds like something i need to see whenever it shows up around here.

But does this film actually try to back up the conspiracy theory or is it just using it as a "what if" premise to write a fictional story from? I can't really work it out from the trailers. To me it sounds more like the latter. I hope that's true.

Scrustle:
But does this film actually try to back up the conspiracy theory or is it just using it as a "what if" premise to write a fictional story from? I can't really work it out from the trailers. To me it sounds more like the latter. I hope that's true.

Definitely sounds more like the latter, in which case, I suddenly like this movie a whole lot more.

I've always been fascinated by the Oxfordian theory, ever since a high-school friend of mine presented it in a (quite convincing at the time) report in 11th-grade English class. I realise now there isn't any real evidence to support it, but it's a fun fantasy nonetheless. This sounds like an interesting take on the idea, and my wife loves Elizabethan period dramas, so this might actually get a couple of movie tickets from us. Which is a big deal, as I literally can't remember the last movie I went to see in theatres. (Might have been Peter Jackson's King Kong, actually.)

Scrustle:
But does this film actually try to back up the conspiracy theory or is it just using it as a "what if" premise to write a fictional story from? I can't really work it out from the trailers. To me it sounds more like the latter. I hope that's true.

Given that the creators of the film are also distributing a documentary about the theory promoting the notion that Shakespeare didn't write the plays, and they're actually trying to distribute teaching materials to schools, I'd say it's the former.

Scrustle:
But does this film actually try to back up the conspiracy theory or is it just using it as a "what if" premise to write a fictional story from? I can't really work it out from the trailers. To me it sounds more like the latter. I hope that's true.

It is more of the latter, the proponents of the theory have no real evidence to back to it up. A lot of the theory is based on the predjudice that a middle class man from Stratford could write plays of such quality and worldliness. They also rely on facts such as their is no record of Shakespeare going to the local grammar school. they omit to mention there is almost no record of anybody attending that grammar school. This is Elizibethan england there are hardly any records of anything.

The most telling fact that flys in the face of Oxford theory is that Oxford died in 1604 whilst the Tempest refers to a shipwreck that didnt happen until 1609. I dont mind an entertaining movie but the theory is utter Bunkum

I like movies make me suspend my beliefs, not conspiracies.

That doesn't sound like Roland Emmerich at all. I've never seen something he's done that could even be remotely described as "intelligently written" by even the farthest stretch of the word.
Are you lying to me Bob?

There isn't much evidence to support any given writer of these plays, be it Oxford, Shakespeare (Or Shaksper, as his name seems to have truly been), or anyone else at that time. Don't lump it in with other conspiracy theories, because there are a lot of things that don't make sense about the Bard's life.

One would think that you, of all people, would jump on the most insulting facet of the conspiracy theory: It is entirely based on the malicious lie that only the born-wealthy and private-school-educated can create great works of art, and individual achievement potential is determined by social class.

Except that one would have to be literate to actually write plays, no? There is compelling evidence to suggest that William Shaksper was illiterate. Combine that with the fact that we have no original manuscripts of his plays (and no mention of anything involving theater in his will, which if memory serves is the only piece of writing ever signed by Shaksper), and it becomes hard to attribute the plays to ol' William.

Calling the idea that Shakespeare isn't who we thought he was isn't a conspiracy theory. It's looking under the skin of history and seeing things that don't make sense, and that don't find their way into the history books.

What a terrible shame it is that people would attempt to sully the name of a truly inspired individual such as William Shakespeare, especially with such weak evidence as "Well, she said...".

"A country bumpkin like Shakespeare could not have possibly written such magnificent works"
-Mark Twain.

I think the reviewer in the New Yorker said it best when he described this phenomenon as 'literary birtherism'.

Sylocat:
One would think that you, of all people, would jump on the most insulting facet of the conspiracy theory: It is entirely based on the malicious lie that only the born-wealthy and private-school-educated can create great works of art, and individual achievement potential is determined by social class.

That is literally the ONLY "evidence" offered by most proponents of the theory.

It's a travesty that the one movie that portrays the Elizabethan theatre as the Mos Eisley-esque realm of hedonism and dirty secrets that it was has to be a movie that further trumps up this question... and one that will doubtlessly be pointed to as gospel by the new crop of nutcases.

Now I want to make a historical drama about Delia Bacon (the sad, insane woman who started this whole thing) and the historical fallout, documenting the true idiocy of the theory, and how it has been selfishly motivated all the way. We know more about Shakespeare's biography and history than pretty much any other non-royal figure of the era.

I think it's more using it as a "What-if?" then actually trying to prove a conspiracy. Like how Indiana Jones has the Nazis finding crazy artifacts, it's not saying they did, it's using it as a premise. That said, I haven't seen it, so maybe I'm wrong.

Wait... the same guy who directed 2012 also made The Patriot? ...How is that possible? I haven't seen quality dissonance that great since Shyamalan went from The Sixth Sense to The Happening. What the heck?

Anyway... the existence of this theory annoys me, but as an interesting "what if" story this could be a worthwhile film. Hmm.

Yojoo:
There isn't much evidence to support any given writer of these plays, be it Oxford, Shakespeare (Or Shaksper, as his name seems to have truly been), or anyone else at that time. Don't lump it in with other conspiracy theories, because there are a lot of things that don't make sense about the Bard's life.

One would think that you, of all people, would jump on the most insulting facet of the conspiracy theory: It is entirely based on the malicious lie that only the born-wealthy and private-school-educated can create great works of art, and individual achievement potential is determined by social class.

Except that one would have to be literate to actually write plays, no? There is compelling evidence to suggest that William Shaksper was illiterate. Combine that with the fact that we have no original manuscripts of his plays (and no mention of anything involving theater in his will, which if memory serves is the only piece of writing ever signed by Shaksper), and it becomes hard to attribute the plays to ol' William.

Calling the idea that Shakespeare isn't who we thought he was isn't a conspiracy theory. It's looking under the skin of history and seeing things that don't make sense, and that don't find their way into the history books.

As I mentioned there is no evidence that Shakepeare was illiterate, there is little evidence that he was literate granted but as his dad was the town mayor (or nearest modern) equivilent and his town had a very reputable grammar school Logic would dictate that he was there.

Also your memory is incorrect that his will was the only thing he signed, he wasnt prolific but he pops up on legal documents, there a writ and his marriage certificate. There not much but it does roughly tell us where he was

The most telling evidence that Shakespeare wrote his plays and sonnets was that if is it a conspiracy no-one knew about it during his entire life. Heminges and Condell from his acting troupe put his folio together and attributed it to him. Greene mocked him as a young upstart while attributing on of the Henry Plays to him and Ben Jonson talked about him in his private diaries 10 years after his death.

Only 220-250 plays from the entire era survive and precious little documentation of any kind, the remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that we have as much info as we do not that we have so little.

So...does anybody else now wonder if Kathleen De Vere is any relation? It would mean that writing is in the family...

FIZGARDler:
"A country bumpkin like Shakespeare could not have possibly written such magnificent works"
-Mark Twain.

Yea, this is pretty much my reaction to the insinuation that he couldn't have possibly written those plays because he was uneducated. Shine on, Mark Twain, you clever bastard.

Ironic Pirate:

Sylocat:
snip

I think it's more using it as a "What-if?" then actually trying to prove a conspiracy. Like how Indiana Jones has the Nazis finding crazy artifacts, it's not saying they did, it's using it as a premise. That said, I haven't seen it, so maybe I'm wrong.

I'm not going to see it in theatres, but given that the film's producers are trying to distribute teaching materials to classrooms, I have a hunch their intentions are not to present a what-if scenario.

Pipotchi:

Yojoo:
snip

As I mentioned there is no evidence that Shakepeare was illiterate, there is little evidence that he was literate granted but as his dad was the town mayor (or nearest modern) equivilent and his town had a very reputable grammar school Logic would dictate that he was there.

Also your memory is incorrect that his will was the only thing he signed, he wasnt prolific but he pops up on legal documents, there a writ and his marriage certificate. There not much but it does roughly tell us where he was

The most telling evidence that Shakespeare wrote his plays and sonnets was that if is it a conspiracy no-one knew about it during his entire life. Heminges and Condell from his acting troupe put his folio together and attributed it to him. Greene mocked him as a young upstart while attributing on of the Henry Plays to him and Ben Jonson talked about him in his private diaries 10 years after his death.

Only 220-250 plays from the entire era survive and precious little documentation of any kind, the remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that we have as much info as we do not that we have so little.

Yeah, pretty much what Pipotchi just said.

Even in Elizabethan times, it would be very impressive for one guy (one guy, who had a number of enemies and detractors, who would have jumped on the slightest whiff of a scandal) to get away with taking credit for over two hundred pieces of other people's work... and still get away with it for over a hundred years after his death and the deaths of everyone else the plays and sonnets and poems have ever been attributed to by these crackpots.

I... might just check this movie out. Then brush up on my history afterward.

Rage from Shakespearean scholars? How utterly surprising.

So long as the film's well made, I don't really care how realistic the premise is. Plus, Shakespeare murdered my cat and his father smelled of elderberries. *still bitter about English GCSE lessons*

Technically, Shakespeare would still have written a few plays under this theory, since a few plays were released after De Vere's death.

Also, the main argument isn't that Shakespeare was too illiterate to write the plays, but that Shakespeare's plays carry on the traditions of and borrow heavily from quite a few Greek and Roman playwrites that someone who never went to University (Shakespeare) would likely know nothing about.

Also, several of Shakespeare's plays are set in Italy. Shakespeare never went to Italy, but De Vere lived there for a few years.

I'm not saying the Oxfordian Theory is true, just that it shouldn't be dismissed so quickly.

I never even heard of this film, but I'd be taught on the Theory, and there are so many possible authors to some, not necessarily all, of Shakespeare's works, ranging from Christopher Marlowe (Was genuinely a spy, and his death could have been faked to hide him) to DeVere, Francis Bacon, or even Queen Elizabeth herself. Ofcourse, they're just theories, but the main sticking point is that there is no historical evidence that Shakespeare had any education above the most basic level, or that he ever left Britain.

How did he have the knowledge of literary styles, or of Italy and Europe in general? How was he knowledgeable of ancient myths and legends of far off lands?

I'm no proponent of the theory, and there are many more reasons for the Theory, but I always remember these points. And its a nice conspiracy to think about, instead of JFK, or 9/11, or the Masonic Order, or any other sinister idea.

Fuck...this has made me look back on that Dr Who ep when Shakespeare et al defeat the witches by quoting Harry Potter, and wishing this movie was more like that.

Baradiel:
I never even heard of this film, but I'd be taught on the Theory, and there are so many possible authors to some, not necessarily all of them, ranging from Christopher Marlowe (Was genuinely a spy, and his death could have been faked to hide him) to DeVere, Francis Bacon, or even Queen Elizabeth herself. Ofcourse, they're just theories, but the main sticking point is that there is no historical evidence that Shakespeare had any education above the most basic level, or that he ever left Britain.

How did he have the knowledge of literary styles, or of Italy and Europe in general? How was he knowledgeable of ancient myths and legends of far off lands?

I'm no proponent of the theory, and there are many more reasons for the Theory, but I always remember these points. And its a nice conspiracy to think about, instead of JFK, or 9/11, or the Masonic Order, or any other sinister idea.

Sounds like you had a similar class to the one I took.

Only 220-250 plays from the entire era survive and precious little documentation of any kind, the remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that we have as much info as we do not that we have so little.

Sure, asking for actual manuscripts is a bit much from that era, but know what we do have? A full copy of William Shakespeare's will, which I have actually read. He gets into fine details for who inherits what (such as his "second-best bed" going to his wife, etc.), and makes NO mention of anything involving theater whatsoever. Now, that's hardly enough to base a massive conspiracy theory over, but it seems fishy as hell to me.

MB202:
I... might just check this movie out. Then brush up on my history afterward.

Be sure you brush up on actual history, since apparently this movie has:

-- Marlowe getting murdered in 1599, not 1593 (and by Shakespeare in Southwark, not Ingram Frizer in Deptford);
-- The Globe burning down in 1604, not 1613;
-- The wrong play being performed for the rebellion of the Earl of Essex (Richard III instead of Richard II)

The whole Oxfordian theory aside (and how I wish everyone could put it aside, because it's very, very silly), these are actual historical documented facts the movie gets wrong, so you're better off getting your information from a more reliable source.

I haven't seen it and probably won't, but from an academic stand point (from my lecturer specifically, the guy running my university's Shakespeare related subjects) it received a facepalm. I figure it's less that it's rage and more annoyance because movies like this have a tendency to misdirect the masses. My experience with Shakespeare has been with delving into his texts, I can't comment much on the history of it.

I do think certain posts in this thread ignore the idea that Shakespeare could have and likely did collaborate with other people, and it's fairly certain he did base many of his texts off other works. This is only shocking if you think that the general narrative is all that makes Shakespeare as revered as he is.

Danzavare:
I do think certain posts in this thread ignore the idea that Shakespeare could have and likely did collaborate with other people

Oh, he did, absolutely. It's more definite in his later career--he wrote Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen with John Fletcher--but there's a pretty convincing case to be made (by a hundred-odd years of stylometry studies) that he either collaborated with or revised earlier pieces by contemporaries of his towards the beginning of his career. The first act of Titus Andronicus pretty much screams George Peele, for instance.

it's fairly certain he did base many of his texts off other works

Unquestionable, really. There are only a few plays where Shakespeare's direct sources can't be identified and he's thought to have come up with the story on his own (e.g., A Midsummer Night's Dream), but for the most part, he reworked stories from other authors. For instance, most of his history plays were based on Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles, which was first published in 1577. Another source of his is a 1579 translation of Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans Compared Together, and the borrowing is especially evident in one passage of Antony and Cleopatra where one character describes Cleopatra on her river barge:


The whole thing reeks of feudal romanticism to me.

The idea that the British Elizabethan upper classes were glorious demigods of fantastic intelligence and cultivation is a slightly motivated assumption which doesn't really bear up when you look at any elite group of the late medieval period.

Are we to assume that Martin Luther couldn't have been an architect of the reformation because he was a merchants son and thus wouldn't have had the vision or intelligence? Shall we assume that Galileo must have been standing in for a nobleman because his father was a professional musician and not landed gentry? On a more immediate and comparative level, shall we assume that Christopher Marlowe (one of shakespeare's contemporaries) had a ghost writer because he was the son of a Shoemaker?

The real social drama of this period is not an elite tale of aristocrats and their petty conflicts, but the increasing influence and social mobility of the middle classes to which Shakespeare belonged, a trend which has never really stopped. I can sort of understand an American desire to eradicate those middle classes and replace it with a simple word of glorious haves and scrubby have-nots because that's easier to digest, but it's also ignoring a key part of the story of modern British (and consequentially American) society.

We all know Shakespeare collaborated and copied and took crib notes. We all know the narrative of this lone genius years ahead of his time is bollocks. But really it's just as relevant (and probably far more true) to say that an aristocrat would never have the social awareness to write these things as it is to say that a middle class man would never have the intelligence or vision.

coolerthanice21:
Also, the main argument isn't that Shakespeare was too illiterate to write the plays, but that Shakespeare's plays carry on the traditions of and borrow heavily from quite a few Greek and Roman playwrites that someone who never went to University (Shakespeare) would likely know nothing about.

Which is also ridiculous, given that the Greek and Roman plays had no shortage of producers still putting them on in the Elizabethan theatre.

How did he have the knowledge of literary styles, or of Italy and Europe in general? How was he knowledgeable of ancient myths and legends of far off lands?

Gee, perhaps through reading and watching other people's works on the topic? He based most of his material on work from different sources.

Yojoo:
Sure, asking for actual manuscripts is a bit much from that era, but know what we do have? A full copy of William Shakespeare's will, which I have actually read. He gets into fine details for who inherits what (such as his "second-best bed" going to his wife, etc.), and makes NO mention of anything involving theater whatsoever. Now, that's hardly enough to base a massive conspiracy theory over, but it seems fishy as hell to me.

Um, what was he supposed to have written about the theatre in his will? He didn't personally own the Globe theatre, and by default his plays would have been passed to his company. What was there for his estate to dispose of?

Sylocat:
One would think that you, of all people, would jump on the most insulting facet of the conspiracy theory: It is entirely based on the malicious lie that only the born-wealthy and private-school-educated can create great works of art, and individual achievement potential is determined by social class.

That is literally the ONLY "evidence" offered by most proponents of the theory.

It's a travesty that the one movie that portrays the Elizabethan theatre as the Mos Eisley-esque realm of hedonism and dirty secrets that it was has to be a movie that further trumps up this question... and one that will doubtlessly be pointed to as gospel by the new crop of nutcases.

Now I want to make a historical drama about Delia Bacon (the sad, insane woman who started this whole thing) and the historical fallout, documenting the true idiocy of the theory, and how it has been selfishly motivated all the way. We know more about Shakespeare's biography and history than pretty much any other non-royal figure of the era.

Quoted for Truth.

From Bob's description the movie sounds halfway enjoyable, with all the backroom royal politics and backstabbing, and as a student of History its might be worth the look...If the other half of the movie wasnt complete nonsense.

The very idea that Shakespeare didnt write his own plays is so absurd I cant belive I wrote it. Not once in school(and believe me we did alot of Shaskespeare) was this Earl of Oxford even mentioned, not even in history. Surely if he made any significant contribution he would be in the history books somewhere. I had never even heard this ridiculous theroy till this movie came out.

The movies makers say its "speculative fiction" but when the people making it take this crap to heart and promote this insanity, it goes beyond speculative.

It happens more often than we like to think; modern historians, bored of having nothing to research that hasn't already been read and written on, turn to hurling modern cynicsm at famous historical figures. Who was gay, who didn't actually create what they're famous for, who was it that wasn't laughing at me - it was God?

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here