Who was Shakespeare? Was he a man from Stratford-Upon-Avon who started with little and became the greatest English author to ever live; or was he a privileged Earl who was a favorite at Queen Elizabeth’s court? That is the great mystery. This particular mystery is difficult to solve because of the lack of documentary evidence. The Elizabethans did not believe in getting everything in writing as people do today. Therefore, the truth may never be known with certainty. However, evidence does exist to support at least two theories about the Shakespearean authorship: one that the man from Stratford wrote the works, the other that Edward de Vere the Earl of Oxford was the author. The question then becomes, which argument does the majority of the evidence support? Could a writer as prolific, insightful, and universal as Shakespeare have been an actor with only a basic grammar school education? Other examples of genius from meager beginnings do exist. For instance, Albert Einstein got poor grades in high school, yet he turned the scientific community on its ear with his groundbreaking theory of relativity. Abraham Lincoln had little or no formal schooling, and he became the president of the United States and wrote the moving and eloquent Gettysburg Address. Perhaps education and social standing are overrated when it comes to intellectual virtuosity. Though the evidence for Oxford as the author of the Shakespearean canon is impressive, the lowly man from Stratford remains the true Bard.
In an article for the New York Times, William Niederkorn, a playwright and editor, notes that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford was first nominated as a candidate for the Shakespearean authorship in 1920 by J. Thomas L...
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Kathman, David and Terry Ross. “Barksted and Shakespeare.” The Shakespeare
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Matus, Irvin. “The Case for Shakespeare.” The Shakespeare Mystery. 1996. PBS. 15
March 2004 <http://www.pbs.org.wgbh/pages/frontline/shakespeare/debates/
Niederkorn, William S. “A Historic Whodunit: If Shakespeare Didn’t, Who Did?”
The New York Times. 10 February 2002. 1 April 2004 <www.nytimes.com/
Ogburn, Charlton. “The Man Who Shakespeare Was Not (and Who He Was).”
The Shakespeare Mystery. 1996. PBS. 15 March 2004 <http://www.pbs.org/
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