argument top image

What is the Shakespeare authorship debate?
Back to question

Shakespeare's name is on the plays and poems attributed to him

During a time when it wasn't common practice for an author to include a name on a play or poem, Shakespeare is named as the author on the work attributed to him.

The Argument

Shakespeare was a writer during a time when authors tended to omit their name from their manuscripts. Plays generally included the publisher's name and the name of the acting companies that performed the plays. Yet, so many of Shakespeare's plays were published under his own name. This is a testament to his fame. In 1598, when publishers included Shakespeare's name to sell plays, printing techniques could cause spelling issues. This meant Shakespeare's name was spelled two different ways. There is an argument that if a nobleman was writing Shakespeare under a pseudonym, they would make sure the name was spelled correctly on their work. This argument further believes it would have been easier for a writer to keep their anonymity by following the common practice of not including a pen name. Shakespeare was Shakespeare because his name is on the work accredited to him.[1]

Counter arguments

For centuries skeptics have found it hard to believe Shakespeare, a man of common birth, would have the necessary grasp of languages, the classics, political theory, and history to write the plays and poetry attributed to him.[2] Some skeptics believe Shakespeare's plays are more suited to an educated nobleman like the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere. This argument has been supported by influential people such as Orson Welles, Derek Jacobi, and Sigmund Freud.[3] In fact, over 70 alternative candidates have been suggested, and there are still others who don't know who wrote Shakespeare but believe it wasn't him.[1]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 19:37 UTC