Was Shakespeare Really Shakespeare Essay, Research Paper
William Shakespeare was born in April, 1564, the oldest son of John Shakespeare. His father, a glove maker, trader, and landowner, married Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowner of Wilmcote. William Shakespeare married Ann Hathaway in November, 1582, and six months later their daughter, Susanna, was born. Two other children were born, the twins Hamnet and Judith, in February, 1585. Sometime after this he joined a troupe of players and made his way to London. As a member of London’s leading theater company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Company, he wrote plays and eventually became a sharer in the Globe theater. He was so successful that in 1596 he successfully renewed his father’s application for a grant of arms, and the following year he bought and restored New Place, the second-largest house in Stratford. Shakespeare semi-retired from London life some time around 1610. He died 23 April 1616, disposing of his large estate in his will.
These, are the facts of Shakespeare’s life. Anti-Stratfordians claim that this William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was not the author of the plays and poems that contain his name, but the evidence for Shakespeare’s authorship is abundant and wide-ranging for the era in which he lived, much more abundant than the comparable evidence for most other play writers. A strong, tight web of evidence shows that a real person named William Shakespeare wrote the poems and plays attributed to him; that a real person named William Shakespeare was an actor in the company that produced the plays attributed to him; that the actor was the same William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon; that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was part-owner of the Globe Theater, where his acting company
produced the plays written by him; and that those who knew the writer of the plays and poems knew that he was William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon. In this essay I will prove to you without any reasonable doubt that William Shakespeare of Stratford- upon Avon was William Shakespeare the play writer.
Anti-Stratfordians sometimes make much of the fact that the early quartos of Shakespeare’s plays did not have an author’s name on them, implying that there was some effort to keep the author’s name secret. But contemporary plays at that time were not considered literature, and most people didn’t pay much attention to their authors. William Shakespeare was an actor in the company which performed the plays of
William Shakespeare. From 1594 on, the plays of William Shakespeare were performed exclusively by the acting company variously known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men , Lord Hunsdon’s Men , and the King’s Men. William Shakespeare was a prominent member of this acting company, as the following evidence demonstrates: On 15 March 1595,the Treasurer of the Queen’s Chamber paid “William Kempe William Shakespeare & Richarde Burbage servants to the Lord Chamberleyne” for performances at court in Greenwich on 26 and 27 Dec of the previous year, and on 13 March 1602, John Manningham of the Middle Temple recorded in his diary a racy anecdote about Richard Burbage and William Shakespeare.
Now I will give you some written history. In a deed of trust dated 10 October 1601 by Nicholas Brend to John Bodley, legally tightening up the control of Bodley of the Globe, the theater is described as being tenanted by “Richard Burbage and William Shakspeare gentlemen.” In a deed of sale of John Collet’s interest to John Bodley in 1608, the Globe is once more described as being tenanted by “Richard Burbadge and William Shakespeare, gent.” So now I’ve established that William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was an actor in the company that performed the plays of William Shakespeare, and was also a sharer in the theater in which the plays were presented.
To anyone who can think, they will realize William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was also the writer of the plays and poems that bear his name. He is the man with the right name, at the right time, and at the right place.How do I know that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare? I know because the historical record told me so. The historical evidence demonstrates that one and the same man, William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, was William Shakespeare the player, William Shakespeare the Globe-sharer, and William Shakespeare the author of the plays and poems that bear his name. Anti-Stratfordians must rely solely upon speculation about what they think the “real” author should have been like, because they cannot produce one historical fact to help their refusal to accept who that author actually was. No
matter how hard they try to ignore it or explain it , the historical record — all of it — establishes William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon as the author of the works traditionally attributed to him.