Shakespeare may have been around centuries before any of us, but his work is just so profound, people are still talking about him today! We’re not too sure how impressed the man who brought us “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” would be if he heard of the latest rumor surrounding his superb playwriting work!
People have been generating theories on Mr. William Shakespeare for as long as we can remember, but is this the craziest one we’ve heard yet? According to a group of people going by the coined “Anti-Stratfordian” theory, Shakespeare didn’t, in fact, write any of the plays he claimed to! Take this idea with a pinch of salt, people.
Where All the Doubt Originated
The Anti-Stratfordian theory started way back in the year 1785, by a man named James Wilmot who was adamant that Shakespeare was not the man we all thought him to be! Being a literary scholar himself, it’s no surprise that Mr. Wilmot was a little familiar with the work of William Shakespeare. In fact, you could say the scholar was quite a fan of the playwrights!
In 1781, Wilmot vowed to create a full written biography on the life of William Shakespeare. Upon inspection of Shakespeare’s life, however, James couldn’t seem to find any evidence of Sir William writing or reading.
Being the prolific playwright he’s known to be, Wilmot had a hard time believing that Shakespeare wasn’t writing and reading on a daily basis! After spending some time struggling to find a correlation between the facts and the evidence, the literary scholar came up with a conclusion. It wasn’t a nice one, but he felt there was no other alternative!
Struggling to Understand the Facts
According to Wilmot, Shakespeare of Stratford was not the man who wrote these plays. It was, in fact, someone else who’d paid Shakespeare to use his name! As far as James was concerned, the playwright was philosopher and essayist, Sir Francis Bacon. The theory soon grew in popularity over time, with US author Delia Bacon even publishing a book on the issue!
It wasn’t long before some notable faces began hopping on the Anti-Stratfordian bandwagon, including figures such as Malcolm X, Sigmund Freud, Hellen Keller, and even Orson Wells. One group of people who are here to disprove this theory completely however are the Shakespeare scholars!
If you asked a professional Shakespeare scholar today, and indeed all those years ago what they thought to the theory, the chances are they’ll laugh straight in your face! Not only is Shakespeare’s name written on all of his poems and plays, but there are plenty of written references by the man. According to these people, the opposing view is simply down to classism.
Here’s the gist of it: Shakespeare grew up in a small town, receiving only a basic education, so as the basis of the Anti-Stratfordian’s argument, it’s hard to picture the man creating such widely-acclaimed plays. So, as we said before, just take this theory with a pinch of salt!