Friday, December 16, 2011

Shakespeare : The Man We Don't Know

During the Elizabethan age, there lived a man who is perhaps the most profound author of the ages. But he is also a man we don't really know outside of his literary masterpieces.

The known facts about William are that he married Anne Hathaway and they had three children. Anne and her children and William's parents were all illiterate. William did not have access to any form of education beyond a mere two years in a parish elementary school.

Compare all that to Shakespeare's works. Each work required a great deal of knowledge of different cities and cultures of which William would have had to travel a great deal to know. The amount of traveling experience does not add up.

The likeliest candidate of the real Shakespeare would be the Early of Oxford. He was born in 1550 and died 1604, which the date oddly coincides with the time that Shakespeare's plays had stopped being written. There are several indications:

In 1623 this marble bust in the Straford-upon Avon Church was altered. It went from a hammer and chisel in his hand to a pen and paper on a pillow. The pudgy little man was changed to a tall, lean, high domed face with a piercing gaze.

The Earl or Edward De Vere was a highly intellectual man, who studied at Oxford and had extensive foreign travel. The earl was often blamed and disgraced for being around 'unsavory' characters and was particularly obsessed with theater and plays. He was also an avid admirer of Ben Johnson, a young actor and playwright.

Basically the man that people knew as William Shakespeare is believed to be the Earl's scapegoat so that he could live with the privileges of an Earl but still write plays. He just needed someone to carry out his works.

"In 1920 the Earl of Oxford was put forward as the true author of the works of William Shakespeare by J. Thomas Looney in his Shakespeare Identified in Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. In 1975, the Encyclopedia Britannica (15th edition) commented that, "Edward De Vere became in the 20th century the strongest candidate proposed for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays." From the Life of Earl of Oxford
"Shakespeare is the man that captures emotions no other author has created."G.Grant
"If we understand nothing more from Shakespeare it should be this":
  • He left an incredible literary legacy-Someone created the most magnificent treasure in all of history.
  • History is to not merely be consumed whole, you must analyze and wrestle with the ideas. History is an art.
  • Not only is Shakespeare the creator of a vast legacy, a rich literary legacy that history is an art, not a Science; but he reminded us that the Christian worldview creates a form of art that is different from anything else that any worldview has ever created.
Who was the real Shakespeare? We might never know.
(Quotes from Dr.George Grant)

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