Was Edward De Vere Shakespeare?

Essay by TheExperiment13High School, 10th gradeB, September 2014

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Kupinski 3

Tabitha Kupinski

Mr. Burnett

English III

7-8th Hour

Many Shakespearean experts believe that it wasn't truly Shakespeare who had written his numerous amount of plays and sonnets. Although much of it may be circumstantial evidence considering that fact that the man lived in the late 1500's into the early 1600's there is still very compelling evidence to have people believe that someone else had written Shakespeare. There are many candidates as to who could have truly been Shakespeare such Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe who are some popular choices. Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford, is a top ranking candidate for a multitude of reasons. There are many parallels between William Shakespeare and the Earl of Oxford's lives, De Vere's level of education matches what would be needed to write such plays and sonnets, and there was also speculation that Edward had written under the pseudonym of William Shakespeare.

First of all, William Shakespeare and Edward De Vere both had similar lives to make it seem somewhat suspicious. In a video, it was shown that both William Shakespeare and Edward De Vere had strikingly similar faces. It was also stated that Edward De Vere's life was similar to Hamlet's. (" Intro to") Queen Gertrude, mother of prince Hamlet is actually Queen Elizabeth. Hamlet, engaged to Ophelia when in real life Oxford was engaged to a girl named Cecil and were married. Ophelia's older brother had moved off to Paris and Anne's older brother had as well moved off to Paris. ("Hank Whittermore's) There are as well many other characters in Hamlet that can be connected to Oxford's real life. It is as well stated that in Henry IV, Part One Prince Hal often played practical jokes on ill-fated travellers on the same road that Edward De Vere had done the same on. ("De Vere") By chance, but coincidentally nonetheless, Edward De Vere and Shakespeare had lived in the same area, De Vere's Balton Hall home being the Avon River and the Forest of Arden on another. ("De Vere")

Furthermore, Edward De Vere's level of education is what would be needed to be able to write such memorable plays and sonnets. Edward De Vere was a poet and praised as a writer even though the only things that we have been able to retrieve are his poems. He as well had high connections within high courts and other areas as well as in France and Italy. ("Oxfordian Theory") With his aristocratic knowledge of the upper classes and his level of education there are many similarities between Shakespeare's poetry and his. In sonnet 125 it states that Shakespeare "bore the canopy" over Queen Elizabeth in her victory celebration because of the defeat of the Spanish Armada and only Edward De Vere can fit that historical assertion. ("De Vere")

Moreover, there is speculation that Edward De Vere had written under the pseudonym of William Shakespeare for a multitude of reasons. It was said that he wrote under another name to avoid breaking any already established rules and regulations against aristocrats publishing poetry and plays as well as to avoid consequences of the controversial subject matter that he was writing about. Edward's ability at tournaments and coat of arms which presented a lion wielding a spear had him nicknamed as "Spear-shaker" at courts. ("De Vere") Even if it truly was a pseudonym, the credit of who had written the plays and sonnets still need to be credited to the name William Shakespeare out of respect instead of trying to hand it off to someone who may or may not be the person who had truly written wonderful works of literature that people still read to this day.

On the other hand, some people may believe that it was truly William Shakespeare who had written the numerous amounts of plays and sonnets written in his time, but there is a pile of evidence against him. William Shakespeare had no exceptional background to be able to write it and wasn't a writer by profession. He should have had a library of references and copies of his plays, but none were found. ("Stuff They") It was said that William Shakespeare had a personal friendship with Queen Elizabeth, but no documents or record are found of them ever having any contact with each other. After Shakespeare's death and his will was read, he in no way states that he is any way a writer or an author. ("Shakespeare Authorship") By handwriting analysis, we can see that the handwritings of William Shakespeare hadn't matched up to each other either. "(Last Will.") Another popular choice of who wrote William Shakespeare is a man by the name of Francis Bacon. Many people believe that he had left codes and ciphers to reveal that he was the true author of Shakespeare and that he had only written under the name of Shakespeare to hide his royal background. ("Did Shakespeare") A man by the name of Isaac Platt had taken a famous line from Hamlet, "The funerall baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables," and stated that it was anagram that read "Fr. Baconi Nati" which in Latin would mean Francis Bacon had written the plays. The phrase that Platt had created would actually translate as "Of the birth of Fr. Bacon." A proper phrase that would be used by Latin speakers would be "Fr. Baconus Me Fecit" which would translate to "Fr. Bacon made me." Stating that is a method of claiming authorship of a piece of work. Sadly though, the words don't match up very well and, just by statistical chance, a possible anagram may be found. ("Authorship of") One last popular choice would be Christopher Marlowe, but yet again, his arguments fall through. It was said that Marlowe and Shakespeare had met by many Marlowe biographers (such as "Shakespeare In Love"), but there is absolutely no record of the two of them ever meeting together, working together, or even crossing paths.

In conclusion, there are many reasons to believe that Edward De Vere may have been the original author of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. Just the sheer amount of parallels between Edward De Vere's life and Shakespeare's life is compelling. Edward De Vere's high level of education met the requirements of what had to be met to be able to write such in depth plays about other areas of the world. Edward De Vere may have written under the name of Shakespeare to avoid certain repercussions of controversial issues written about in Shakespeare's plays. These men may have lived thousands of years ago, but that doesn't stop us to being curious about the truth.