Analyzing the Shakespeare Mystery– Was Shakespeare REALLY the true author of his plays and sonnets?
The Shakespeare Mystery
There are so many questions asked when analyzing the Shakespeare Mystery. Did he really exist or was he a pen name? Was he really a Catholic hiding in Protestant England? And one of the most elusive of all- were his first sonnets published with his permission?
Alive or Dead? Permission or Not– That is the Question.
On May 20th 1609, the first folio of Shakespeare’s sonnets was published. A man named Thomas Thorpe was listed as the publisher. However, there was no dedication written by Shakespeare and no mention of him involved in the editing or acknowledgements. How could that be?
Critics and historians have analyzed and debated this for hundreds of years, if Shakespeare was still supposedly alive for this publication, why was he not involved in it? And an even bigger question- why were the publication and proceeds not listed in his estate or will?
Some use this as evidence to prove that William Shakespeare really wasn’t the author of the famous plays and sonnets. Others argue that it proves Thorpe published without Shakespeare’s permission. But if that was the case, why didn’t Shakespeare contest it after the fact?
I’ve always found the Shakespeare Mystery intriguing. Personally, I hope we never find real answers to these questions. I hope this for a few reasons.
One- I think I’d be heartbroken if he was ever truly discredited. I’ve been to Stratford Upon Avon, I’ve walked where he walked, seen his grave etc. And I love the idea of a self-taught author who was able to express his genius without any formal training.
And Two- I think the not knowing honestly adds to the romance and mystery of his works. I mean, combined with the magic of Macbeth or Midsummer Night’s Dream– how could you not appreciate the added mystery surrounding the author? The potential suspension of disbelief or acceptance of the unknown?
To me, these swirling mysteries regarding Shakespeare allow him to be held as this almost mythical figure apart from us mere mortals. I applaud the critics and historians who want to crack the case. But for me, I’m content with leaving this as one of life’s great mysteries and perhaps even chalking it up to– magic.