View Full Version : Did Shakespheare Write Those Plays?

07-02-2008, 04:59 PM
Did Shakespeare even write those plays? I don't think so. Before King Henry VIII was incapacitated with syphilis, he was a writer, poet, song writer (Greensleeves), and of course singer. Because he was King of England, he wasn't allowed to publish under his own name. It's believed by many that he wrote a silly folk song, "Where are You Going Henry My Son?" He was very religous and wrote a book defending the Sacredments and was named by the Pope, "Defender of the Faith." The use of language and the very syntax seems to point to him. Styles of writing are as different as one's finger print. He wrote reems of poetry, never published, but they are very simular to Shakespearean "writing." Shakespeare had his own playhouse and certainly produced and directed them.

07-02-2008, 06:30 PM
What are you trying to say? Are you just having a laugh?:(

What are you trying to say? Are you just having a laugh?: (

If he never published his poetry, how do you know it was similar to Shakespeare's?

It was NOT Henry, Elizabeth, Bacon, Oxford, or anyone else. Why do people insist on trying to say it WASN'T Shakespeare? There is absolutely no reason, or proof to say it wasn't him. The only "reason" people started to doubt him, (and not until centuries later, there was never any question of it being him at the time) is based on pure snobbery.

I'm sure Henry, cultured and talented Renaissance man as he was, had loads of time, in between ruling the country and all that entails, to knock out 37 plays and loads of sonnets, of pure genius. And I'm sure that the publication of the First Folio in 1623, some 80 years after the death of the King, was very easy to get hold of, and publish, without any courtier or aide to him ever letting it slip. That would be one major conspiracy theory.

07-02-2008, 08:21 PM
Did Shakespeare even write those plays? I don't think so. ....

You're not the only one who doubts his authorship :)

"Coalition forms to discredit Shakespeare's authorship":

Shakespeare Authorship Coalition:

"Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare":

However, just to be on the safe side :D

"Experts to avoid Shakespeare's 'curse' in restoring tombstone":


07-02-2008, 09:43 PM
Of course Shakespeare wrote his plays and all the other great works that you and others are trying to discredit him of. Even if Henry never published his poetry, there would still be records of them, so why would Shakespeare's works not be among those in his personal keep?

Shakespeare increased the size of the English language by about 30%. Take a look and see if Henry used similar phrases and diction as well.

And I know this is off topic, but Henry is absolutely not as religious as he plays to be.

07-03-2008, 01:42 AM
He was very religous and wrote a book defending the Sacredments and was named by the Pope, "Defender of the Faith." .

Didnt know that, good to know My personal :nod: opinion is not that shakespeare himself wasnt the authour but that Marlowe and shakespeare were one and the same writer which ever it may have been.

07-03-2008, 01:50 AM
Didnt know that, good to know My personal :nod: opinion is not that shakespeare himself wasnt the authour but that Marlowe and shakespeare were one and the same writer which ever it may have been.

Yeah, right. Slight problem with that theory. Marlowe died in 1593. Shakespeare died in 1616. And was knocking out plays several years after Marlowe stopped a dagger with his face.

07-03-2008, 07:20 AM
I can't believe people really believe this nonsense. Here's one Professor on the subject.

Stephen Greenblatt, a professor at Harvard and author of the best-selling biography of the Bard, Will in the World, is one of America's most esteemed Shakespeare scholars.

"Like most scholars, I think it's reasonably clear that the man from Stratford wrote the plays," he says. "But it's certainly a subject that doesn't go away. He does seem like he did drop in from another planet. The level of achievement is remarkable."

Remarkable, says Greenblatt, but possible, even for a village lad if he were a genius. Greenblatt has little use for those who question the authorship of Shakespeare's works and compares doubters to Holocaust deniers and those who don't believe in evolution.

Greenblatt has compared doubters to Holocaust deniers and those who don't believe in evolution.

He says the most powerful evidence of authorship is the simplest: that the name William Shakespeare appeared on some of the plays published during his lifetime.

"It's nothing that gives you the kind of certainty that can never be called into question," Greenblatt says. "Anything can be called into question. But you'd have to have a very strong reason to believe that there was skullduggery or an alternative account.

Also, Ben Jonson, who published the First Folio, was a friend and a colleague, and there's no doubting there who Shakespeare was.

People just seem to want to deny the existence of genius, citing his education etc. Is Mozart ever questioned? "Oh a child could not have composed that?"

As someone who is a great Shakespeare fan, I get very protective about people trying to deny him. :(

07-03-2008, 09:21 AM
Didnt know that, good to know My personal :nod: opinion is not that Shakespeare himself wasn't the author but that Marlowe and shakespeare were one and the same writer which ever it may have been.

Yeah, right. Slight problem with that theory. Marlowe died in 1593. Shakespeare died in 1616. And was knocking out plays several years after Marlowe stopped a dagger with his face.

Note the syntax of my original post, if you will, I didn't say Shakespeare was written by Marlowe, I said they were one and the same writer meaning that maybe Shakespeare ghost wrote for Marlowe, maybe there was a ghost writer for the pair of them , Maybe Shakespeare inherited a box of plays Marlowe had already written. There are lots of possibilities to the puzzle.
And of course I could be completely wrong I never said it was a fact I said it was a personal opinion.
And of course I cant be forgetting my favourite theory ( very dramatic and Hollywood-esque) Marlowe never died he just faked his death and 'became' Shakespeare.

08-03-2008, 08:34 PM
wessexgirl, you are definitely in favor or the original man. Oxford's known verse sure has a similar quality to it as the plays. Also, I haven't heard about a follow-up to the initial examination of how many 2,3,4,5-length, etc. letter words per thousand words where the plays were similar to word lengths of the presumed dead Marlowe. You are probably right, but there are reasons to present alternatives. What I can't figure out is why they don't have original hand written scripts? or do they have them? If so, can't handwriting be compared?

08-05-2008, 01:28 PM
Shakespeare Wrote Them!

09-20-2008, 06:13 PM
Ahhhhhhh! Not again! :flare: Why does this myth keep persisting? I'd say the argument that someone named Shakespeare really didn't write the plays is quite ridiculous, and I'll give my opinion on why I think so:

How can so many different authors write in such a consistent style: ever notice how all of Shakespeare's plays are filled with bawdy sexual jokes and references to disease, or how the plays vary expertly from great seriousness to sudden comedy? How can so many writers tackle the same themes in almost every play (sexual infidelity, bedroom tricks, sexual diseases, alcohol)? Ever notice how Shakespeare's characters are sometimes "types" (the witty lower class drunk or manual labourer, or the strong independent female in disguise who tries to find her lover, etc)? Did ALL of these authors have the skill to write like this? Also, why would all those writers even care to write on such topics? Highly unlikely!

Also, Shakespeare revolutionized theatre by breaking the rules and inventing his own style of writing: his characters switch between prose and verse depending on their mood or circumstances. Also, he didn't always write things in iambic pentameter and sometimes used 9, 11, or 12 syllable lines when they suited him. And he used split lines: other writers didn't do this (which is why for a long time scholars had trouble figuring out why some lines were 3,4,5,etc syllables long and not the standard 10). How is it possible for a variety of writers to ALL share these traits and the same style of writing?

Bacon did not write the plays. He was a deeply scientific, logical, and precise thinker: he wasn't given to flights of poetic fancy, because he was a scientist. If you've read his aphorisms and essays, you know Bacon simply didn't write the plays. He helped invent the essay format (no joke), and you're telling me he wrote something as funny as Midsummer Night's Dream? He was also pretty corrupt like many other officer holders of his time and helped to prosecute his own friend and benefactor Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex (he seems too "inhuman" and unkind to be Shakespeare or write of such things as uncontrollable love, betrayal, or comedy so easily).

And Marlowe died way before Shakespeare did and couldn't have written all those later plays.

Further proof: the poet John Milton was born on Bread Steet, London, in 1608, and Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were often seen drinking at a bar on that very street. Milton, who was around 8 years old when Shakespeare died in 1616, wrote a sonnet dedicated to Shakespeare in 1630 called "On Shakespeare." Are you telling me that Milton was also "in on the joke/lie" that Shakespeare wasn't really real? That seems very unlikely. Milton, who might have actually seen Shakespeare and certainly admired his writing (enough to write a sonnet on him), presents solid proof that Shakespeare was a real person. Just ask yourself: why would Milton write a sonnet on a person named Shakespeare if that person never existed? What would he have to gain from such an elaborate lie?

Neither did Elizabeth or Henry or any other monarch write the plays. Why? Because Shakespeare depicts the very lowest of the lower classes and knows how they speak and act and their living conditions: how could someone like Queen Elizabeth or Henry 8th know these things? Did Elizabeth or Henry hang out at bars or on the streets and learn poor people's slang (including the sexual stuff?). I'd don't think it'd be very proper for a monarch of England to be seen in such places or write of such things. Also, Shakespeare wrote on some contemporary issues, and Henry 8th died much before Shakespeare, so how could he write of that stuff?

But then this begs the question: how did Shakespeare, a commoner, know of the life of royalty? Answer: he performed for royalty (like with his The King's Men acting company) and he perhaps conversed with them, like writing Macbeth for James the 1st. And he would easily be able to read of monarchs in other books, like Holinshed, or, living under a monarchy, hear stories or see the life of royalty firsthand.

But how could Shakespeare, who comes from a middle class family (he's not lower class), be so brilliant? How the hell does anyone predict how genius works? How was Einstein the most brilliant scientist of the last century if his parents were no where near as brilliant as him? How did the brilliant Abraham Lincoln, born in poverty in a small log-cabin, rise to become president of a country? How? He was self-taught and devoured books and had a natural talent for learning (and he also loved Shakespeare). Funny how Mark Twain doubted Shakespeare's authorship even though he didn't go to school himself, but was so brilliant.

Just because Shakespeare's brilliant beyond belief (which seems to be people's main problem) doesn't mean he didn't work very hard on his plays: so we may be mistaking pure brilliance for extreme hard work.

And ask yourself this: why would the other writers who are alleged to have written Shakespeare's plays, like Marlowe or Bacon or whoever, not claim credit for the plays, since they're already professional writers? Seems dumb to me. So the simplest answer is that Shakespeare was real, and he wrote those works.

10-28-2008, 03:48 PM
Abdiel, Answer me one question: when the Stratford Shakespeare came to London did he have a decent chunk of money to travel to Italy? Well, maybe. Because in one of these authorship books it mentions a certain painting or art work that is referred to in Othello, such that you had to be in Florence or Rome in the summer 1602, or some such date (getting fuzzy because can't quite recall the details). Also, I suppose by listening to stories about falconry, anybody could translate it into expertise writing, rather than experiencing it directly as, say, Oxford did. Ditto for navigation, sailing, warfare, astronomy, gardens. Also, when Richard II was presented and all hell broke loose in England because of treason threats, how come Stratford Shakespeare find himself in prison. Or, maybe he did, and wrote some tragedies in the dungeon.

Does anybody know about what happened to handwritten manuscripts?

10-28-2008, 05:39 PM
[QUOTE=byquist;634098]Abdiel, Answer me one question: when the Stratford Shakespeare came to London did he have a decent chunk of money to travel to Italy? Well, maybe. Because in one of these authorship books it mentions a certain painting or art work that is referred to in Othello, such that you had to be in Florence or Rome in the summer 1602, or some such date (getting fuzzy because can't quite recall the details). QUOTE]

This is just clutching at straws. Do you mean "The Taming of the Shrew?"

Check out this website, where you can find any of these barmy theories refuted.


This may be what you're referring to in defence of Oxford.

For example, a painting referred to in the introduction of The Taming of the Shrew was on display in Milan only between 1585 and 1600 -- too late for Oxford to have seen it, but just right for Derby and Rutland.

It seems to point to yet more "candidates", showing how ludicrous these theories are...... and can be twisted to throw up any number of names.

There were only questions about the authorship centuries after Shakespeare died, and I think one of the leaders of the questioning who championed Oxford, was aptly named....Looney!

11-04-2008, 08:45 PM
Wessexgirl, That article is a bit erudite and dull for my tastes. But the truth is often very pedestrian indeed. One guy who makes the case is Joe Sobran in his book, Alias Shakespeare. In Appendix 2 and 3 he compares Oxford's know poems and letters with phrases and works in the 36 or more plays.

Like Oxford: Drown me with trickling tears
Shake: Drown the stage with tears; which burns worse than tears drown; tears shall drown the wind, etc.

Oxford: I am not as I seem to be
Shake: I am not what I am

Oxford: secret thoughts
Shake: Nor shall he smile at thee in secret thought

Oxford: The secret signs that show my inward frief
Shake: my grief lies all within, etc.

Oxford: Nor will I frame myself to such as use
Shake: And frame my face to all occasions; frame yourself to orderly soliciting;

Oxford: raze the ground
Shake: raze the santuary

Page after page of comparisons, poems to plays.

Then 6-7 pages about Oxford's letters:

Ox: by these lewd fellows
Sh: by this lewd fellow

Ox: experience doth manifest
Sh: manifest experience

Ox: in an eternal remembrance to yourself
Sh: together with rembrance of ourselves

Oxford: I serve her Majesty, and I am that I am.
Sh: "I serve his majesty"/I am that I am (Sonnet 121

Ox: Thus I leave you to the protection of almighty God
Sh: So I leave you to the protection of the prosperous gods.

Ox: if by mine industry I could make something out of this nothing
Sh: For nothing hath begot my something grief/Or something hath the nothing that I grieve

Oxford: but the world is so cunning as of a shadow they can make a substance, and of a likelihood a truth
Sh: Richard II all about "shadow" like "Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows."

Sum up: this Sobran comparison of phrases, vocab words, and rhythms of language are rather convincing.

Give me an opinion about his book.

11-18-2008, 09:36 PM
This is a topic that I find very interesting, but the comments in this thread are a good example of a perspective that detracts from the benefit of such an intellectual exercise: people inevitably react emotionally and this causes them to ignore reason.
It is a fact that none of us can say without a doubt exactly who it was that penned all of Shakespeare's plays because we weren't there with a camera and a contract. The most likely scenario will always be that the man whose name was attributed to the plays is in fact, as he and other writers, scholars and entertainers of the time state outright, the true author.
But contemplating whether or not there is some other possibility is not equivalent to slapping the man in the face... not in itself. So it makes no sense at all to get angry and makes even less sense to shut off our minds to any such argument purely because we are worried that it might offend the memory of a great genius or is in some way betraying that memory. Based on the cynicism and satire of his comedies (and indeed many of his tragedies), and the poetic license he himself took to the presentation of history, it seems clear to me that were the author of these plays sentient of the long-standing argument over authorship he would look a little more like: :lol: as opposed to :bawling: - so there's no need for us to be any different.
That is not to say that emotion hasn't clouded the argument "against" Shakespeare's authorship. Some of the strongest proponents for Marlowe, or Oxford or any of the Royals, etc also show the very emotional fault of searching for factoids of support rather than analysing articles for evidence.
Personally, I am quite sure that whoever was the author had help, shared ideas, excerpts, storylines and characters both forward and backward and was, regardless of his actual name, education, experience or collar-size, a genius.
At the very least, isn't it a surity that the man (or woman) was intelligent enough that speculation over whether "one man could possibly have written...", if "a public secondary school education could have nurtured such...", or that "this broad range of knowledge must needs be plagiarised..." could ultimately be viewed by him/her/them/it as an enduring flattery in the form of amazed incredulity?

If you had the power to do something truly amazing, wouldn't you consider:
"no freaking way could you have possibly done that!"
just as flattering a testiment as "wow - you're really great"
As long as you knew for a fact that it was you, of course.
and whoever "Shakespeare" was...
Shakespeare knew.

11-23-2008, 12:40 AM
My emotion is mostly based on exasperation. As you say, people search for factoids to support their desired belief rather than evidence which points them to the truth.

Irvin Leigh Matus put this subject quite to bed in his book Shakespreare: In Fact and ALL people curious about the subject should read it before speculating further.


PS Until you find that book, you could spend some time here:


10-14-2014, 03:37 PM
Some Basic Shakespeare Authorship Problems:

Here are what seem to me to be probably the most basic evidence conundrums that have sparked and maintained an interest in this authorship question. This is very much abridged from what others have written.

One of the great differences in opinion from ‘Pro’ and ‘Post’ Stratfordians concerns the genuineness of the primary evidence as it’s come down to us. Let’s look at this briefly.

First we ask - Are the claims made in the First Folio believable? For instance, above the famous Droeshout ‘portrait’ of Shakespeare we are told that the plays are being “Published according to the True Original Copies”. Then in the Epistle Dedicatorie we’re told that they (Heminges and Condel) have been “Guardians” of his “Orphanes”. And then in their “To the great Variety of Readers” we hear these theatre men and friends of the great author say that they “have scarce received from him a blot in his papers”. Yet, there is little or no doubt, beyond maybe a quibble of an interpretation, that none of this is true. It’s a fabrication. I don’t mean that in an anti-ethical sense, only that either for promotional purposes, or for political reasons, or maybe just for some kind of jest, that some kind of inventive presentation appears to have been used.

From Irvin Leigh Matus’ book Shakespeare in Fact he quotes Charlton Hinman, from 1961, who wrote “Some of the plays in the Folio apparently do reproduce Shakespeare’s own “foul papers”; but others are mere reprints of earlier quartos, and a number were set into type from combinations, part manuscript and part printed, of materials variously related to Shakespeare’s original papers…Some of the copy supplied to the Folio printers, on the other hand, must have been very different both from Shakespeare’s original text and from anything that can be thought to reflect accurately his final intentions or even his acquiescence—though notably inferior copy was commonly mended by copy of higher authority.”

Matus goes on to show that this lying was more the rule than the exception. The publisher of The Beaumont and Fletcher volume of plays likewise claimed that he was printing “even the perfect originals without the least mutilation” and we know that also was untrue. Most of you also likely already know this.

But now, secondly, let us move on to some disputed territory. The prevailing belief is that Heminges and Condell were the genuine authors of the passages attributed to them. For about 100 years now that belief has been disputed with evidence. And from what I’ve seen this contrary evidence hasn’t been addressed. Of course, I’m not familiar with all scholarship commentary on this question but I don’t see it addressed in checking Matus’ book, or Schoenbaum’s Shakespeare’s Lives, or Ian Wilson’s Shakespeare the Evidence or in the Arden Shakespeare versions I’ve checked. So if anyone can provide a source where it has been defended that would be most appreciated.

Here’s a brief summary of the evidence against Heminges and Condell’s authorship. And I’m taking these points from Katherine Chiljan’s Shakespeare Suppressed, 2011.

The counter argument to the standard one is that it was Ben Jonson who actually authored those parts in addition to those with his name or initials.

In the two Folio preface letters “there are direct parallels between three passages by Horace and Pliny”, and Heminges and Condell are unlikely to have been familiar enough with these classical authors, or to have read them at all, to quote these passages. The folio Dedication includes:

“Country hands reach forth milk, cream, fruits, or what they have: and many Nations (we have heard) that had not gums & incense, obtained their requests with a leavened Cake. It was no fault to approach their Gods, by what means they could: And the most, though meanest, of things are made more precious, when they are dedicated to Temples.

Now compare to Horace’s Odes:

Hold out your hands, palms turned to the sky, when the
New moon is up, my country-bred Phidyle;
Treat well the Lares [household gods]: bring incense, this year’s
Pure, empty hands touch altars as closely as
Those heaping dear-bought offerings. Simple gifts
Soothe angry household gods; the poor man’s
Salt that will spit in the fire and plain meal.

And next from Pliny’s Natural History:

Country people and many nations offer milk to their gods; and
They who have not incense obtain their requests with only meal
And salt; nor was it imputed to any as a fault to worship the gods in
Whatever way they could.

Now, there was an English translation of Pliny in 1601. However, one reviewer found that the author of the Epistle Dedicatorie “apparently drew upon the original text, and that with considerable skill.”

So it seems the burden of proof is on the those arguing for the standard model to show that Heminges and Condell were skilled at writing such promotional compositions, were familiar with some classical texts, and could read them in Latin.

On the other hand, that Ben Jonson had this capability is a given. Chiljan then shows, as have others before her, that the Folio letter “To the great Variety of Readers”, supposedly also by Hemines and Condell, “is a pastiche of phrases found in several of Jonson’s works that are too many for coincidence.”

Here are several from Jonson’s writings that I need to present in snippets since I don’t have the space for the whole extracts she used:
“To the reader”, “I departed with my right”, “the author”, “judge his sex-pen’worth, his twelve-pen’worth, so to his eighteen-pence, two shillings, half a crown”, “censure”, “arraign plays daily”, “are numbered”, “not weigh’d”, “how odd soever men’s brains, or wisdoms”, “canst but spell”, and there are others.

To conclude, the evidence suggests to many, that Heminges and Condell did not write the portions of the First Folio ascribed to them. It appears these too were written by Ben Jonson. This, therefore, also strongly suggests another serious fabrication in its publication. The evidence against the standard model has to stand until someone can provide stronger evidence to support it.

A third problem is with the Droeshout engraving. Among its many shortcomings I just want to mention what seems to me the most obvious. And that is the doublet that Droeshout drew. John M. Rollett, in Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? was the latest to review this evidence. And the only point I will repeat is the quote from The Gentleman’s Tailor written back in 1911. This expert tailor said the doublet “is so strangely illustrated that the right-hand side of the forepart is obviously the left-hand side of the backpart; and so gives a harlequin appearance to the figure, which it is not unnatural to assume was intentional, and done with express object and purpose” (emphasis added).

In essence, he testifies that the design too was a fabrication, and most likely intentional. This is especially so since Droeshout is known to have the skill to make any such portrait of a human face, and clothing, to appear much more natural. It is so obvious, even to many non-experts with open minds, that its purpose and express object seems to be to call attention to itself that it is not genuine, nor meant to be taken as such, and so not meant to be a representation of the author. One would have to do some serious dancing around a very itchy feeling of cognitive dissonance to try and convince oneself that the engraving still looks acceptably authentic.

A fourth obvious irregularity is with the Stratford monument. Setting aside all the debate about its own genuineness, the one thing that is also blatantly obvious, and corroborates the eccentricities of these other obvious red-flag, attention-getting, design is the command and question on the monument plaque:

“Stay Passenger, why goest thou by so fast,
Read if thou canst, whom envious death hath plast
Within this monument Shakspeare.”

How any Shakespeare enthusiast could read that and then just shrug and continue on, I just don’t get. I know it can be very difficult to question some things that seem like common knowledge. And I and probably all other doubters were often in that same predicament, so we can relate. Anyway, there was one Shakespearean scholar that did examine and contemplate these peculiarities. Puzzling Shakespeare by Leah Marcus, 1988, presents her brief foray into thinking the unthinkable. Prof. Roger Stritmatter, from the Oxfordian perspective, reviews her book here:


And the one quote I’ll repeat from his review is Marcus’ statement that The folio “makes high claims for “The AUTHOR” while simultaneously dispersing authorial identity; so that “Mr. William Shakespeare” becomes almost an abstraction, a generic category, while remaining an unstable composite.” To paraphrase, all in all, it appears in essence to be a total fabrication.

And yet, whether it be from thinking too precisely on th’ event, her scruples restrained her from any additional uncomfortable deductions or, for that matter, any such inductions from her examination of the corpus. Still, as I like to think, today’s a new day, and this generation of Shakespearians can tarry a little and read, if they can, a little further into the question of whom envious death hath placed in some Shake-speare monument. None of us appear to have the final answer to our questions so the mystery drives us on.

Jackson Richardson
03-09-2015, 04:51 PM
What about the quartos? Hemings and Condell didn't write those.

05-12-2018, 09:46 PM
Actually, Henry VIII DID write a great deal of music, which I have on a CD that is performed by period musicians and singers. He was well-known for being able to write fine music, he did, as OP correctly points out, write a book opposing Martin Luther, he set five Masses to music (which have since been lost, but we know from the diplomatic papers of the time that he did it), he designed and built ships and palaces, he spoke Latin, Greek, English, French, and some Italian and Spanish. In fact one of his soldiers once said that "Henry knew much. There was not one trade, from that of King to that of carter, that he did not have sight of". Oddly, Greensleeves is one he is credited with writing that he probably did NOT write.

Kings and other nobles could and did write, and publish. It is pure unsupported myth to say that they did not.

Yaakov001, MA, History, emphasis Henry VIII and Elizabethan Periods.

05-12-2018, 09:50 PM
The idea that Shakespeare did not write Shakespeare is one of the most absurd claims ever made in the history of literature. It's as bad as saying Napoleon was actually another person entirely.