01 Aug 2009

Essays on the Shakespearian-Oxfordian Controversy

Growing up, few, if any of us, failed to hear of at least one Shakespearian play, usually Romeo and Juliet.  Shakespeare is cited as the author of over three dozen plays, more than a gross of sonnets, and many poems.  But what if our assumptions about Shakespeare and the plays were wrong?

The Shakespearian-Oxfordian controversy relates to arguments that have been ongoing since the 18th century regarding the authorship of the Shakespearian documents.  Many experts question the ability of a 16th century commoner to be such a competent playwright.  What little records exist regarding William Shakespeare’s life indicate he lacked a university education.  Yet the plays indicate a dynamic understanding of law, politics, astronomy, medicine and foreign languages.

Those who question the authorship have proposed a number of alternative possible authors, the most common being that of Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford).  Correlations between the last of the Shakespearian documents being published in 1604, the same year as de Vere’s death, cause many to believe that he was in fact the author and not Shakespeare.  Additionally, similarities between de Vere’s plays and the Shakespearian plays give support to this argument, particularly in light of Shakespeare’s lack of formal education.

Supporters of the alternative theories also note documents indicating the use of anonymity and pseudonymous publications to hide their identity.  This is similar in nature to Thomas Paine’s anonymous publishing of “Common Sense” prior to the American Revolution.

Stratforians (as Shakespearian supporters are called) point out that there are many details that better educated men would not have made.  For instance, though both Othello and Merchant of Venice take place ostensibly in Venice, no mention is made in either of the canals of Venice, though Merchant of Venice does indicate Venice being a notable oceanic trade city.  The Winter’s Tale refers to Bohemia as having a coastline and The Two Gentlemen of Verona describes the cities of Verona and Milan as seaports.  None of these locations are near the ocean.

With significant evidence and arguments, it is unlikely that this controversy will be soon resolved.  Essays arguing one side or another, supported with appropriate evidence, can be used to impress even the most stoic of college professors.   The challenge of this is obvious and undoubtedly beyond the abilities of most students.  Professional writers like ours, however, prepare such materials every day, fulfilling the academic needs of thousands of students every year.  To take advantage of their experience and talent, all you need to do is place an order.

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