DeVere or William Shakespeare?

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DeVere or Shakespeare?

Abstract: The debate over the legitimacy of the authorship of Shakespearean works has been disputed for centuries. While many scholars have held beliefs that Shakespeare's works have been written by figures such as Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, William Stanley, and others, the most heated debate today is between William Shakespeare and Edward DeVere, the Earl of Oxford. Each side of this debate has many followers, the Stratfordians, or those who claim Shakespeare to be the true author, and the Oxfordians who believe that true credit should go to DeVere. My paper, far from being a complete analysis of the possibilities of Shakespearean authorship, attempts to summarize and rationalize the arguments of these two groups. It would be impossible to include all arguments and evidence in a paper such as this. Full books have been written on aspects of the debate I will not even mention, or may just barely touch on. Hopefully after reading this paper, however, you will have a little better understanding of the debate of authorship. As I am not in any respect a scholar on the subject I shall not attempt to make a conclusion as to which of these men is the author, but rather to inform and explain the many arguments on both sides of this debate in the hopes that the reader can learn a little more about the ongoing debate and form an opinion of his or her own.

In countries all over the globe the name William Shakespeare brings to mind literary genius, a character so famed in eloquence and creativity that none other comes close to him in prestige. Yet for centuries scholars, students and readers have argued a very fundamental question: whether or not the plays and poems attribute to William...

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...rpose-to designate a penname without confusion (Whalen 32).

* Principal actors in the plays of Shakespeare's First Folio included Jon Heminge,Henry Condell and Richard Burbage, the same three who were in the late edition to Shakesperes will (Whalen 51).

* Oxford was said to be an excellent playwright, yet no plays written under his name were ever found (Whalen 127).

Works Cited

"A Beginners Guide to the Shakespeare Authorship Problem." Online. 31 October 1999. Available http:

Kathman, Dave and Tom Reedy. "How we know the Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare: The Historical Facts." Online. 2 November 1999. Available http:

Michell, John. Who Wrote Shakespeare? London: Thames and Hudson, 1996.

Whalen, Richard F. Shakespeare-Who Was He? Westport:Praeger, 1994.

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