Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Roland shakes spears - "10 Reasons Why Shakespeare Was A Fraud"


Colin David Reese said...

Gerard Eades Bentley points out in his book ”The Professions of Dramatist and Player in Shakespeare’s Time” :
“Too often the assumption of the critic – generally tacit – has been that Elizabethan standards and values were those of his own time”
1 Handwritten notes – not strange … Women were not very often literate in that period, it being considered that reading and writing was not something that was necessary.
2 William’s parents were illiterate. His father was an alderman and a major figure in the administrative functions of the town. It is impossible that his father was illiterate.
3 Shakespeare “mocks” the working class and writes about Kings and Nobles. He was writing to amuse the public. What better way than to create ridiculous figures of “fun”?
4 The quality of Shakespeare’s penmanship based on signatures. You should see my signature … totally illegible, as is many people’s.
5 “I believe that writing comes from the heart”. Not if you’re a professional. Writing comes from providing a product which the public wants. Do the writers for “Sex and the City” believe the stuff that is in those scripts?
6 That he attended King Edward’s school is almost certain. As his father was an alderman, he would have been entitled to a place. And Mr. Emmerich needs to do some research about what was taught in “grammar” schools in the period. Many university courses today in the classics do not cover the syllabus that would have been normal for a 13 year old at that time.
7 When he retired and moved back to Stratford “he never wrote a single play or poem again”. He retired. He had, thanks to rather astute and sometimes not entirely ethical investments, become relatively rich. Why continue working?
8 No evidence that Shakespeare travelled. A third of his plays were set in Italy which was very fashionable at the time. I once met a Cambodian who worked at the American Embassy told me the story of the last few hours as the Khmer Rouge advanced and her escape as the soldiers burst through the doors. She went through the basement and ran, dodging bullets, to the helicopter that was waiting on the lawn. I remember her story and her description of the basement and could describe it to this day. If I used it in a play or a film, would you then call me a fraud as I could not possibly have been there to experience it?
9 The Stratford monument. Mr. Emmerich doesn’t seem to understand the 17th century attitude to players, plays and playing. The status was the lowest of the low. The only status that would be comparable today would be a porn star. If you were a respected member of society, would you want to put up a monument to your activities as a porn star. The monument was indeed altered later when writing had become a respectable activity.
10 His last will and testament. It goes with n° 9. The last thing he would want is the other people in Stratford to know how he had made his money.

Knowledge of The Courts, etc, are all things that one can find out if one is dedicated to one’s craft. As indeed are knowledge of glove making and leather working or the Warwickshire countryside. But I feel that it is much more reasonable that a lad from the provinces would do the research necessary to give credence to his plays – knowing that they were to be performed for Royalty and Nobility - than a noble would do the research to learn about glove making and leather working.

And finally; These plays were written by someone who understood the theatre and what it means to be a player. They could never have been wrought by an amateur. As for The Earl of Oxford writing them, there’s the uncomfortable fact that he died before a number of them were written, have you ever read any of the plays that he wrote and acknowledged? They are dreadful and very amateurish. He also had a reputation for being very arrogant and full of himself.
I will refrain from drawing an obvious comparison.

Mark said...

The "1604 argument" is a powerful one. Namely: The weight of evidence (not scholarly tradition) actually suggests the author stopped writing the year de Vere died. WIll Shakespeare had 12 years to live.

Shakespeare's extensive references to glove-making. That's rich. Thank you for sharing that one.