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Was William Shakespeare the author of his plays and sonnets - Essay Example

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Was William Shakespeare the author of his plays and sonnets

It is difficult to determine the identity of the young man, which is apparent from references made in individual sonnets (Baxter, 1917).
As the most important the documents of the time did not mentioned such name such as a Shakespeare. During the Renaissance period, poets were not allowed to publish poetry, so it is possible to assume that one of the poets took a pseudonym "William Shake-speare". Critics suppose that his true name was Edward de Vere. Edward de Vere was better educated than Shakespeare which allowed de Vere to describe events and manners of those times in details. On the other hand, the main problem is that there is no evidence that Shakespeare was an actor. "For example, there is no record of any part he may have played, and only two posthumous traditions to bit parts" (A Beginner's Guide, n.d.).
The main fact against Shakespeare's authorship is that no manuscripts of Shakespeare's plays survive. Indeed, there are very few manuscripts available to scholars of plays of the Elizabethan and Jacobean period. Also, many editions, used as a basis for making modern texts into performances in modern theatres, have been put together by editors from early (sixteenth and seventeenth century) printed versions of the plays, published in small editions after the play itself had ceased to be regularly performed. In these editions the text is not always divided into acts and scenes, and when it is, the work, together with the punctuation, spelling and stage directions, is that of the first compositors who set the type from a manuscript probably supplied by the theatre. The first eight plays of Shakespeare to be published did not bear his name, but this was standard practice at the time, since few editions of plays bore the name of the author. It is important to note that this was normal practice at the time, for once a dramatist had sold his play to a theatrical enterprise, he gave up his ownership and copyright of the work. So, it is possible to say that the plays were not written by Shakespeare. In a preface to their work, the editors claim that their texts are more reliable than those to be found in the quartos, many of which were illegally or hastily prepared. (Lancashire, 1998).
Other facts against Shakespeare's authorship state that some of the earliest printed versions of the same Shakespeare play differ, quite significantly, in the text that they print. The question then arises as to which of the different versions is the 'correct' one. The main problem is that there is no definitive, generally excepted edition. Also most all texts have been reconstructed by generations of scholars from several of the earliest printed editions of the play. In the practice of Shakespeare's theatre, the authority of the written text was secondary to that of the spoken and the visual, and what was considered to be theatrically effective - what made people actually want to pay money to visit the theatre - was the paramount consideration of the actors and dramatist.
The Elizabethan theatre did not possess a huge repertory of classic plays from the past. Almost all the plays shown on the public stages were being shown for the first time, this meant that there was tremendous pressure on dramatists such as Shakespeare to go on producing new plays, because audiences wanted, above all, to see new work. The players, or certainly ...Show more
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Summary

The literary heritage of William Shakespeare includes sonnets, dramas and comedies. The main question interested literary critics is authorship of these works and the role of Shakespeare is their creation. Today, there are a lot of scientific facts showing that Shakespeare was not the true author of his works.
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