Lest Friday we saw Roland Emmerich’s new film, ANONYMOUS. The movie provides a fictionalized version of the questions surrounding Shakespeare and whether or not he was in fact the author of the 30+ plays and sonnets said to have been penned by him.
It’s an interesting question. While the movie puts forth the hypothesis that the plays were actually penned by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, there has long been controversy surrounding the name William Shakespeare, mostly because the “real” William Shakespeare was said to be an uneducated son of a glover. Since many of Shakespeare’s themes involved extensive knowledge of politics, law, and philosophy — almost exclusively the province of the wealthy at the time in question — many scholars and lay people believe that Shakespeare could not have penned the plays and sonnets.
In reality, de Vere is only one of many candidates put forward as possible authors of Shakespeare’s works. Others include the Elizabethan philosopher Francis Bacon and even two women.
Whatever the truth, it’s an interesting mystery, non? And one certainly worthy of a Mystery Monday.
What do you think? Was William Shakespeare a pseudonym? And if so, who is the most likely candidate as the author of Shakespeare’s legendary work?