Thursday, 8 December 2011

So Did Shakespeare Actually Write Shakespeare?

This has been an interesting time to have a film out about the life and times of William Shakespeare. The Roland Emmerich film, Anonymous, has sparked a huge debate about the authenticity of Shakespeare's work.

A few years ago I worked with British actor, Sir Derek Jacobi, and asked him about his views on the subject and I was amazed when he told me that he believes that Shakespeare didn't write the plays. 

Simon Cox with Sir Dereck Jacobi
So during the filming of Discover Shakespeare's Stratford Upon Avon, I asked Rev Dr Paul Edmondson, Head of Learning and Research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, what his views were on the subject. He told me that the conspiracy theory was just over a 100 years old and that all of the writers that were suspected to have been involved in the conspiracy, (Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe and Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford etc) were all very good writers in their day, but they didn't write Shakespeare  because their works were different in style and tone. He said that if you study the texts and compare them, they are all very different.

During the making of the film I had a unique insiders view of his life and I was lucky enough to flick through one of the first folios, and to be honest, it was pretty impressive. So if Charles Dickens can be very prolific in a short lifetime, and officially be uneducated, why shouldn't a local man from Stratford Upon Avon be able to write an incredible body of work.