The True Author of the Works Attributed to Shakespeare

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“I am firm against Shakespeare — I mean the Avon man, the actor.” (Whitman) The true author of the works attributed to Shakespeare have been in question since the late eighteenth century and really garnered attention until the early twentieth century, when famous authors such as George Bernard Shaw, Walt Whitman, and Ralph Waldo Emerson declared their opinions on the question. The most popular candidates for authentic authorship, besides William Shakespeare himself, are Edward DeVere, Francis Bacon, Queen Elizabeth I, and Christopher Marlowe. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, writing was not considered a noble profession; therefore, authors would use either an alias or hire someone to allow them to take their name, which in this case it was Christopher Marlowe who took up Shakespeare’s name. Marlowe is the most credible of the contenders to be the true author because of his style of writing, and his education compared to that which is known of William Shakespeare.

First, the writing styles of Shakespeare and Marlowe are eerily similar. Most notable is the author Calvin Hoffman, who wrote The Man Who Was Shakespeare. In his book he compares passages of Marlowe and Shakespeare’s writings. Most notable is a passage from Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor and Marlowe’s Passionate Shepherd to His Love

“To shallow rivers, to whose falls

Melodious birds sing madrigals:

There will we make our beds of roses

And a thousand fragrant posies.” (Merry Wives of Windsor. Act 3. Scene 1.)

“By shallow rivers to whose falls

Melodious birds sing madrigals

And I will make thee beds of roses

And a Thousand fragrant posies.” (Passionate Shepherd to His Love. Act 5. Scene 1.)

There are obvious similarities between these ...

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Shakespeare, William, and George Van Santvoord. "Act 3. Scene 1." The Merry Wives of Windsor. New Haven: Yale UP;, 1922. N. pag. Print.

Shakespeare, William, and Horace Howard Furness. "Act 2. Scene 2." Romeo and Juliet. New York: Dover Publications, 1963. N. pag. Print.

Wheeler, Kip. "Authorship of Shakespeare's Plays." Authorship of Shakespeare's Plays. N.p., 2014. Web. 08 May 2014.

Whitman, Walt. "In Re Shakespeare: The Authorship of Shakespeare on Trial." Preface. In Re Shakespeare: The Authorship of Shakespeare on Trial. By David Lloyd Kreeger. Vol. 37:609. N.p.: n.p., 1988. 610. Print. The American University Law Review.
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