'Anonymous' delves into Shakespeare conspiracy
Did William Shakespeare write his own works?
Rhys Ifans stars as The Bard in Roland Emmerch’s film about the true identity of Shakespeare, “Anonymous.”. Photo from imdb.com
"What if I told you that Shakespeare never wrote a single word?" It is a question asked by renowned British actor Derek Jacobi in the new Roland Emmerich film, "Anonymous."
In the film, Emmerich questions whether the most well-known playwright of all time did in fact write the plays and sonnets that are attributed to him. The director of "2012" and "Independence Day" guesses instead that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, wrote such plays as "Hamlet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" but had another man publish them since writing plays would have been improper for a member of a royal court.
This is but one conspiracy theory surrounding the true authorship of Shakespeare's plays. Some believe that Shakespeare's plays were written by one or more than one of his contemporaries, such as Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe.
Those who believe Shakespeare did not exist or did not write his plays do have questions that cannot be answered so easily. In a promotional video Emmerich released on the web to promote "Anonymous," he states ten reasons that he believes Shakespeare was a fraud (all while throwing quills at darts at a cartoon statue of Shakespeare). Emmerich's reasons include the fact that there are no records of Shakespeare receiving a higher education, attending court in London or even traveling out of the country, which is strange considering his apparent mastery of the English language and knowledge of court traditions and foreign cities as written in his plays.
Adjunct theatre professor and self-professed Shakespeare enthusiast Daniel Yates said he believes Shakespeare was real and did indeed write his plays.
"I have always found the conspiracy theories very annoying," Yates said. "There is no credible proof that someone other than Shakespeare wrote the plays."
Yates is not alone in his disbelief of the conspiracies. According to a poll conducted by the New York Times in 2007, 82 percent of undergraduate college professors surveyed thought there was no good reason to question Shakespeare's authenticity; 61 percent thought the theories were without convincing evidence and 32 percent thought them a waste of time and a classroom distraction.
Yates, who recently directed Seton Hall's production of Shakespeare's comedy "Twelfth Night," recommended James Shapiro's "Contested Will," saying the book explains how many of the conspiracy theories were started.
"There is so much confusion surrounding the practice of playwriting during [Shakespeare's] time," Yates said. "It's very easy to dupe people because they just don't know much about the culture, history or even how people spelled words in those days."
Erin Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More thesetonian News Articles
Recent thesetonian News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR THESETONIAN NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST THESETONIAN NEWS
RECENT THESETONIAN CLASSIFIEDS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Skydiving Vikings to Deliver Minnesota's Game Ball
- IRS Warns Taxpayers of Latest Phone Fraud Scam
- Putting Your Vacation Home to Work for You
- Finding Answers to Growing Concerns About Water Fluoridation
- Empowering People to Regain Their Mobility
- On-Site Workplace Health Clinics Emphasize Chiropractic Care
- 5 Important Tips for Choosing a Medicare Health Plan
- Welcome Your Holiday Guests With Inviting Lighting
- A New Prescription for Finding the Right Doctor
- Be on the Lookout for These Invasive Species
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- College women switching to Sobrr this Halloween as the best app for fun -- and finding soul mates.
- Win $1,000 to Study Abroad in Italy. The ItaliaRail Study Abroad in Italy Scholarship for Spring 2015 is now accepting applications.
- 7 Tips for Scoring a Tailgating Touchdown
- Renowned Engineer Ric Bradshaw Conducts Fujifilm-Sponsored Campus Tour on Tape Technology
- 5 DAYS ONLY! Semi Annual Consignment Sale!