How popular was Shakespeare during his time
The bard: Ambitious man from Stratford
Who Was Shakespeare? This question has been a concern for philologists and enigmatic enthusiasts for centuries. The question of his authorship is asked with persistent verve, as if it were one of the last riddles of mankind. The first doubts arose already during Shakespeare's lifetime, in the genius cult of the late 19th century the discussion experienced a ludicrous climax, more than 50 possible authors were circulating at the time. At the moment, the increasingly esoteric debate is mainly being cultivated by authors outside academic institutions. In the meantime, the opinion has established itself within research that Shakespeare's identity is unquestionable.
Pro Shakespeare: The poet is an ideal projection screen for conspiracy theories.
If Shakespeare, as it is often claimed, had actually been a straw man for someone else, it would have been a conspiracy of gigantic proportions.
Not only the namesake, but also some colleagues at the theater and the editors of his works must have been privy to at least a certain degree; in addition, friends of the "real" poet might have guessed something. With so many people in the know, it is more than astonishing that nothing has leaked over the centuries - until the point when the first self-appointed detectives took on the matter.
The identity debate is, of course, based on a dilemma: a work that suggests an extraordinarily educated and skilled Renaissance spirit was supposed to have been written by a provincial of simple origins and little education?
Hence the idea arose that Shakespeare must really have been a nobleman who had to publish under a false name because the theater had a bad repute at the time. William Stanley, Earl of Derby, Roger Manners, Earl of Ruthland or Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford started talking. A serious flaw in the theory of nobility: some of the most important pieces were most likely not made until after the death of those named. In addition, all the royals appear in the plays by Mr. S. as if they were in a middle-class household. It does not seem plausible that the poet would have left out the dramaturgical possibilities of royal etiquette had he been familiar with it. In addition, why did Mr. Anonymous write the sonnets in Shakespeare's name?
In recent research a kind of literary forensics has become established. The entire scanned work is scanned by computer programs for certain parameters such as choice of words, idioms, sentence constructions. With this method it was ruled out that the work originates from more than one or the alleged alternative authors.
Nonetheless, the anti-Stratfordians have one good thing: thanks to their doubts, the Elizabethan theater has been thoroughly explored. It has been proven that Shakespeare had a thorough knowledge of Latin - so the world knowledge of that time was available to him. Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe, well-known representatives of Elizabethan drama, also came from humble backgrounds. It seems as if the booming London theater scene at the time offered talented and ambitious actors ideal conditions to assert themselves as writers and hard-working entrepreneurs.
Cons: Mr. Shakspeare wasn't William Shakespeare
Not a single anti-Stratfordian claims that Shakespeare never existed. After all, there is the conscious will. Only this does not mention any poetic work of the author with a single word. Shouldn't his heirs benefit from the theater giant's as yet unpublished plays? How likely is that? This Mr. "William Shakspeare" lists his belongings dryly. Nothing else. No decoration, no metaphor.
There is nothing, not a single testimony, from which it emerges that the will author named Shakspeare is identical with that Shakespeare to whom dramas like "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Hamlet", "Lear" or "Macbeth" are ascribed. There is more evidence of UFOs than of Mr. Shakspeare's authorship. William Shakespeare can be an invention, a pseudonym.
How likely is that? Well, if the orthodox Stratfordians' thesis is correct, a semi-educated man comes from the country to the big city, and only breathing in the London air makes him a genius. William Shakespeare, who can hardly get a signature, smells rhyme and meter, smells up English history, inhales ancient mythology. The few educational gaps in geography - a gift, back then you had to be a map-maker to know better.
Above all, Shakespeare breathes a vocabulary as if the air were carrying every word spoken: he has the largest vocabulary of all English-speaking authors. According to the Harvard Concordance, there are around 29,000 words. The King James Bible uses 5000.
That alone is suspicious.
007 writes dramas
This Shakespeare effortlessly grades the language levels, lets aristocrats parlate elegantly in complex Alexandrians, fight feather-light verbal battles, as they were a popular pastime at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, servants gossip and know all the gradations in between. The London air has matured the most incomprehensible linguistic genius of all time.
What other options are there? Christopher Marlowe, a James Bond of his time, as a full-time secret agent could have had every reason to fake his death and go on living and composing under a pseudonym. However, Marlowe's death is well attested - without a conspiracy theory there is nothing to be wanted.
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote poetry in his youth and suddenly stopped. If he stopped writing plays under the name William Shakespeare, what a nobleman would have been under. But the sonnets? - Well, it was not opportune for a nobleman to write homosexual love poems either. Why not put all of your own poetry on the fictional character William Shakespeare? Perhaps this young country guy who is ready for housing and a little money to serve as a front man for all of Mr. Earl's artistic interests?
And the insistence that some of Shakespeare's plays were published after de Vere's death is also directed against Mr. Shakespeare of Oxford: he too died before all Shakespeare's works were published.
However, one must not ignore the computer-aided analysis: all works come from one author, certainly. But what if that one author was actually a team of authors, Edward de Vere in the lead? By the way: starting sonnets and having someone finish them was a popular language game ...
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