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 Hamlets declaration: “The plays the thing(Satchell 71). ” 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 Shakespeare of Stratford, England. Edward de Vere was the Lord Great Chamberlain and the seventeenth Earl of Oxford. He was raised as a Royal Ward and from a very young age was educated in the sports and arts of nobility. Although disgraceful for a nobleman to waste time writing frivolous plays, Oxford as a young man wrote and staged the entertainment for the court.
As an adult, he became engrossed in theatrical performances and frittered away his fortunes in support of several writers and actors (Friedman 13). During this time, De Vere also began writing several poems and plays. Much like Samuel Clemens, who wrote under the name of Mark Twain, Oxford adopted the pseudonym Shakespeare. Soon after plays appeared under the name of “Shakespeare,” poems by de Vere ceased (Russell 5). Coincidently, the coat of arms of Lord Bulbeck, a third title of Edward de Vere, is a lion shaking a spear (Ogburn 10).
De Vere was also known by the people as the “spear-shaker” because of excellence at the tilts and at jousting (Russell 5). Many believe this pen name was for protection. Many of the plays said to have been written by Shakespeare explicitly describe the corruption in court politics and contain “thinly veiled satires and parodies of politicians and courtiers. ” In addition, public theatres such as the Globe were laced with prostitutes, drunkards and criminals and because of the scoundrel audiences, playwrights were held in low esteem.
Moreover, many scholars believe de Veres reasons for his pseudonym may be linked to the homoerotic threads in many of the Shakespearean sonnets and de Veres possible homosexual affair with his son-in-law. Using his identity would have been a dangerous game when such affairs were a high crime (Satchell 71). There are many allusions in Shakespeares plays which de Vere would have been particularly familiar with. As a child, de Vere was tutored by Arthur Golding, the translator of Metamorphoses. This literary work was alluded to several times in Shakespearean plays.
De Vere also studied law and traveled across the continent, spending a great deal of time in Italy (Tweedale 12). Many references to Italian art and architecture are also alluded to in Shakespeares plays. William Shakespeare of Stratford, however, never left England (Friedman 10). The author of the Shakespearean plays had to possess a rare knowledge in several disciplines including physical sciences, medicine, he law, astronomy, and the Bible. Shakes of Stratford received no formal education with the exception of grammar school through the equivalent of third grade.
De Vere, however, was taught by only the best tutors (Satchell 71). The Shakespearean plays were also written by one who has had interaction with the aristocracy and understood the workings of royalty from the inside out (Friedman 10). Although there is no evidence that Shakespeare moved freely about this society, de Vere was regarded as a “brilliant ornament of Elizabeths court” (Sachmartino 13) and as such would have understood what it as like to live in the aristocracy. De Veres very life is in many ways represented in the plays attributed to Shakespeare of Stratford.
For example, in the play Hamlet, de Vere describes many of the details of his life. Like the main character Hamlet, de Vere is virtually a prince and also of Danish decent. De Veres cousins, Horance and Francis are strikingly similar in name and action to Hamlets two friends, Horatio and Francisco. The anguish Hamlet felt due to his mothers hasty remarriage after the murder of her husband was also similar to the distress De Vere felt over his mothers swift remarriage after the murder of his father. One of the greatest scenes in Hamlet is when Hamlet stabbed Polonius through the arras and killed him.
This is again remarkably comparable to de Vere, who in a fit of rage stabbed an undercook through a curtain for spying on the young nobleman (Ogburn 173) Hamlet is not the only literary work in which de Vere describes his life. De Veres love affair with Anne de Vavasour is portrayed in Measure for Measure, and his own childhood is directly correspondent with Macbeth and Orthelo (Ogburn 11). Oxford died in 1604. This year is also the same year that William Shakespeare retired from writing his alleged plays.
It has been said, “The mouthpiece had to withdraw when the voice was gone (Friedman 11). ” In other word, after de Vere died, his writing stopped, and therefore William Shakespeares career was complete and he thereupon retired. There are also many verbal parallels in the works accredited to Shakespeare and the poetry of Edward de Vere. Contemporary authors will obviously have some phrases and images in common. When hundreds of these similarities are present, however, it tends to show that the authors either corroborated with each other, or that the authors are one in the same.
This is precisely the case with Edward de Vere and William Shakespeare. Because we have only a small number of Oxfords acknowledged poetry, it is impossible to trace each metaphor or image of Shakespeares works to de Veres poetry. According to Joseph Sobran, an author for the Oxford Society, forty or so comparisons would be considered a coincidence. Much more, which is present in the comparisons of Shakespeare and Oxfords works, is “far beyond the possibility of coincidence (Sobran 1). ” In both Shakespeare and de Veres poetry, there are similar images and phrases.
For example, fertility, harvest, and the lazy drones robbing honey were used by both authors. To capture pity, images such as weeping lovers or floods of tears were also used (Sobran 2). Similar phrases can also be found in the poetry of Oxford and the sonnets of Shakespeare. In “Love They Choice,” Oxford writes, “Who taught thee first to sigh alas my heart,” “Who filled your eyes with tears of bitter smart,” and “Colours pale they face. ” These three phrases were also used in Shakespeares plays and sonnets. For example, “Who taught thee how to make me love thee more? s found in sonnet 150 written under the alias of Shakespeare.
Also written under the alias of Shakespeare is Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece which states, “And for these bitter tears, which no you see” and “The colours of thy face, that even for anger, makes the lily pale” respectively (Sobran 3). Common allusions used by both authors include Caesar, Hannibal and Pompey, Venus beauty, blind Cupid with his bow, and countless more from Greek mythology, wish cupid often being referred to as “blind boy” or “wanton” (Sobran 1).
Certain factors for comparison are also used often in the writings of both Shakespeare and de Vere. For instance, the use of sweet versus sour, joy versus woe, ebb versus flow, flowers versus weeds, and heaven versus hell are all commonly found in the works of both authors. As Oxford writes “He pulls a flower, he plucks but weeds,” in “Labour and its Rewards,” Shakespeare echoes this metaphor and similarly writes, “They bid thee crop a week, thou pluckst a flower (Sobran 3). “