William Shakespeare, the English playwright and poet, is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language. However, there have been claims made by some individuals that he was not the true author of the works attributed to him. This has led to a long-standing controversy known as the Shakespeare authorship debate. In this article, we will explore the evidence for and against the idea that Shakespeare was a fraud.
The Shakespeare authorship debate has been ongoing for centuries, and it shows no signs of abating anytime soon. The debate centres around the question of whether or not William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was the true author of the works attributed to him. Some people claim that he was a fraud and that he did not write the plays and sonnets that bear his name. Others argue that there is overwhelming evidence that he was indeed the author of these works.
2. The Anti-Stratfordian Theory
The primary argument put forward by those who believe that Shakespeare was a fraud is the anti-Stratfordian theory. This theory suggests that someone other than William Shakespeare wrote the plays and sonnets attributed to him. Several candidates have been proposed as the true author, including Francis Bacon, Edward de Vere, and Christopher Marlowe.
3. Illiteracy of Shakespeare’s Parents
One argument often used by those who claim that Shakespeare was a fraud is the illiteracy of his parents . They argue that it is unlikely that a child born to illiterate parents could have become one of the greatest writers in history. However, this argument is not necessarily valid, as there are many examples of individuals who have achieved greatness despite coming from humble or disadvantaged backgrounds.
4. Shakespeare’s Education
Another argument put forward by those who believe that Shakespeare was a fraud is that he did not receive a formal education . However, there is evidence to suggest that he did attend school and that he would have received a basic education. Furthermore, Shakespeare’s works demonstrate a remarkable knowledge of a wide range of subjects, which suggests that he was highly educated.
5. Lack of Contemporary Evidence
One of the key arguments put forward by those who believe that Shakespeare was a fraud is the lack of contemporary evidence linking him to the plays and sonnets attributed to him. However, this argument is not necessarily valid, as there are many examples of famous historical figures for whom contemporary evidence is scarce.
6. The Shakespeare Industry
One argument often put forward by those who claim that Shakespeare was a fraud is the existence of the Shakespeare industry. They argue that there are too many books, films, and other works that rely on the assumption that Shakespeare was the true author of the plays and sonnets attributed to him. However, this argument is not necessarily valid, as the popularity of Shakespeare’s works is a testament to their enduring quality, regardless of who wrote them.
7. The Authorship Question and the Arts
The authorship question is not unique to Shakespeare’s works, and it is a debate that has been ongoing in the arts for centuries. There are many examples of works that have been attributed to one author, only to be later revealed to have been written by someone else. However, this does not necessarily detract from the value of the works themselves.
In conclusion, the Shakespeare authorship debate is a controversial and ongoing one. While there are many arguments put forward by those who claim that Shakespeare was a fraud, there is also a significant amount of evidence to suggest that he was indeed the true author of the plays and sonnets attributed to him. Ultimately, the debate may never be fully resolved, but what is certain is that the works themselves continue to captivate audiences and inspire new generations of writers.