Shakespeare's Authorship and Questions of Evidence

Shakespeare's Authorship and Questions of Evidence

Length: 353 words (1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Summary of Shakespeare's Authorship and Questions of Evidence

Scholar Diana Price in her article, "Shakespeare's Authorship and Questions of Evidence" takes an independent, serious and thought provoking role in investigating the answer to a question of over 400 years: Was Shakespeare of Stratford really responsible for writing all those stories and sonnets?

Was it Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Edward Dyer, the earl of Derby, and of all most suspected by the anti-stratfordians' Edward de Vere (the 17th earl of Oxford)?

Price believes that perhaps were approaching this problem with the wrong question. Asking whether or not Shakespeare was the author might be framed incorrectly as a result of a false dichotomy set-up by ardent Oxford scholars. Rather, our author believes the more precise question should be asked as, "Was it Shakespeare or was it Oxford?" Price states, "Arguing an alternative case for a candidate who may or may not be the right one is ultimately an exercise in futility, because it does not first require that Shakespeare's literary biography be rejected on the strength of the evidence." It is through this false dichotomy that orthodox scholars are essentially off the hook. These orthodox supporters criticize the differences in the incidental case for the contender, while not exploring the same arguments thrown against the incumbents. This is because the authorship question is never a true way to attain objective.

But the question still begs for an answer because as Price states, "neither side can produce arguments or documents that can satisfy a skeptic."

While this question is important, the article shows just how intricate tracing a piece of literature back to an author can be. For instance, she states that wealthy men who enjoyed authoring could write for pleasure but if he sold his plays to companies, he would be perceived as a rogue capitalist. To avoid this mess, writers could sell his plays to a middleman under a false name or as a condition of anonymity. The second alternative to the previous option would be to sell a piece of work to a Battillus, who would take ownership and receive any accompanying accolades. It through the cultural pressures which makes it incredibly difficult to research and come up with a definitive author to not only Shakespeare's work but other writers' of his time.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Shakespeare's Authorship and Questions of Evidence." 19 Jun 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Who Wrote Shakespeare: Defining Authorship Essay

- The works of Shakespeare are some of the most respected in English literature. They have set the standard for all the great writers who followed. Although these works have been attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford, they could have been written by anyone. The definite authorship of a work is always uncertain, but these works are particularly contested. There are those who believe someone besides Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the works, while others believe his identity, as a whole, is a conspiracy....   [tags: Shakespearean Literature ]

Research Papers
1900 words (5.4 pages)

Essay about Shakespeare Authorship Controversy

- Shakespeare, the man who wrote 37 plays and more than a hundred sonnets, is known throughout the world. Many people consider him one of the best English playwrights of our time, others say that he was a genius. William Shakspere was born in Stratford-upon Avon in 1564 and died in 1616 at the age of 52. In the mid-19th century, questions had arisen about the Shakespeare authorship controversy, and many scholars wondered whether Shakspere, the man from Stratford, wrote the plays. Ralph W. Emerson once said, ?I can not ?marry....   [tags: William Shakespeare]

Research Papers
1490 words (4.3 pages)

The Controversy Surrounding the Validity of Shakespearean Authorship Essay

- The Controversy Surrounding the Validity of Shakespearean Authorship This research paper takes a look at the controversy surrounding the validity of Shakespearean authorship. I must tell you that before performing this research, I had no idea that this topic was such a debate in the world of literature. My goal in writing this paper is to hopefully bring some insight and knowledge to those who read it. Who was the man we call William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare was a man who wrote more than 36 world-famous dramas portraying the range and depth of human nature....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
888 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on The Shakespeare Authorship Debate

- The Shakespeare Authorship Debate Although William Shakespeare is considered to be one of the most revered and well-renowned authors of all time, controversy surrounds the belief that he actually produced his own literary works. Some rumors even go so far as to question the reality of such a one, William Shakespeare, brought on by paralleling the quality of his pieces with his personal background and education. With such farfetched allegations, it persuaded others to peek into the person we all are taught to learn as “Shakespeare”, but who is actually the person behind these genius works of literary promise and enlightenment....   [tags: Shakespearean Literature ]

Research Papers
1616 words (4.6 pages)

The Authorship of Shakespeare Essay

- Shakespeare was a playwright from Stratford who had arguably the most influential affect on English literature and the English language. His works are still praised to this day for their divine superiority, however, controversy in exceeding amounts has risen over the dispute of his authorship. This controversy has been the topic of many arguments between differently opinionated scholars who support opposing theories and beliefs (Friedman XV). "A difficult dilemma confronts biographers who tell the story of the glove maker's son from Stratford-on-Avon who is supposed to have become the world's greatest poet and dramatist" (Whalen 3)....   [tags: English literature history]

Research Papers
1631 words (4.7 pages)

Shakespeare Authorship Controversy Essay

- John and Mary Arden Shakespeare gave birth to William Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 23, 1564. William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright and his works are known throughout the world. There are no official records of William Shakespeare's actually birth but it has been said that he was the fourth child out of the Shakespeare’s eight children. Shakespeare supposedly attended the best grammar school in Stratford around the age of five but there are also no official records to prove when exactly he started his education....   [tags: Historical Mystery, English Literature]

Research Papers
1344 words (3.8 pages)

Doubt Of Shakespeares Authorship Of His Plays Essay

- Doubt of Shakespeare's Authorship of His Plays Over the years, various persons have expressed doubt as to the authorship of William Shakespeare. These doubts are as old as his plays. American author, Henry James once said, "I am haunted by the conviction that the divine William is the biggest and the most successful fraud ever practiced on a patient world. (Hoffman 27) On the other hand, author Calvin Hoffman was convinced that Shakespeare was "the author of the most magnificent English dramatic prose and poetry ever written....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
2391 words (6.8 pages)

Doubting Shakespeare's Authorship Essays

- Adding to the list of those assumed to be the legitimate authors of the Shakespearean works, a theory naming poet and dramatist Christopher Marlowe the writer of the plays. The coincidence regarding Marlowe's death in 1593 and the publications of Shakespeare's early works are the forefront for this argument. The Marlovian theory states that the death of Christopher Marlowe was faked, and he was the main author of the poems and plays attributed to William Shakespeare. "Around the time of Marlowe's apparent death, the name William Shakespeare appeared in print for the first time, attached to a new work, Venus and Adonis, described by its author as 'the first heir of my invention'" (Barber 84)...   [tags: English literature history]

Research Papers
1177 words (3.4 pages)

Shakespeare - Authorship Essay

- In 1564, a man was born by the name of William Shakespeare. He was born to a poor family, was given little education, and had no interaction with sophisticated society. Thirty-eight plays and over 150 sonnets are not attributed to this ignorant man. Those who believe that Shakespeare was the author have no definitive proof but instead point to Hamlet’s declaration: &quot;The play’s the thing(Satchell 71).&quot; The true author, however, lies hidden behind he name of Shakespeare. Edward de Vere the premier Earl of Oxford is not only considered a great poet in history, but he may also be the great playwright who concocted the sonnets and plays which are now attributed to William Shak...   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
1790 words (5.1 pages)

Authorship debate Essay

- William Shakespeare’s works being just that is a notion most accept; however, there has been a lot of evidence and arguments by historians, who opt to challenge this notion, arguing that Shakespeare was the pen name of Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford had to conceal his authorship for social and political reasons. After careful examination of historian’s evidence this theory doesn’t measure up and it was indeed Shakespeare, who was the genuine author. The world has come to accept that William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, during the year of 1564....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
1603 words (4.6 pages)

Related Searches

Price also shows us evidence that is used by scholars to support Shakespeare's authorship; while, she also concisely points out how that same evidence could discredit Shakespeare as the author.

This rather lengthy article spans much more than what I have briefly discussed here. Price not only asks us to look at the evidence supporting for or against Shakespeare's authorship but also to understand how we ask that very question.

Return to