William Shakepeare Debate Paper

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Hillary Carriere
March 30, 2012
Shakespeare Authorship
Honors English

“To be or not to be: that is the question.” This is one of Shakespeare’s most remembered quotes from Hamlet, but it also brings forth the question; was Shakespeare really Shakespeare? Many have argued that Shakespeare in fact was an imposter or a pen name for someone else. The quote above could be read as the real Shakespeare trying to tell the world that not everything is what it seems or it could be interpreted as Shakespeare telling the world simply to believe in what you want to and not what you are meant to believe.

There are numerous theories in the world trying to prove that William Shakespeare didn’t write the poems or plays we all know and study. The Oxfordian theory proposes that Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford, was the author of the plays and poems. However, there is the one important fact that the Oxfordians have yet to reconcile and that is the timeline of the plays and the Earl’s death. The Earl of Oxford, in fact, died in 1604, “before about a third of the plays were written.” (David Kathman and Terry Ross, 3) Oxfordians argue the chronology is wrong, but how can history be misinterpreted or wrong when people spend years studying one subject in order to find the truth.( ) In Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, which “was heavily influenced by written accounts of events in Bermuda that happened in 1609-10, at least five years after Oxfords death.” (David Kathman and Terry Ross, 4)

Oxfordians also try to say that Shakespeare lacked the education to produce such wonderful masterpieces. However, Richard Field, “who grew up down the street from Shakespeare, became one of the leading publishers and booksellers in London.” (David Kathman and Terry Ross, 4) Given this information, it appears that Oxfordians have “greatly overestimated the Earl of Oxfords knowledge and greatly underestimated the resources available to any intelligent Elizabethan who wished to...
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