Continuing his series titled `No doubts about Shakespeare’s authorship, V S Ravi, in part 5, demolishes the claims the Earl of Oxford wrote some of the plays attributed to Shakespeare.
Before I discuss the detailed arguments put forth by Louis Marder shattering the baseless theories of the Oxford school that the 117th Earl of Oxford was the real author of Shakespeare’s plays, I would like to mention one other clinching piece of evidence – one obvious fact – which again even many Shakespearean scholars have either missed or not taken into account, for reasons I am unable to comprehend.
Read Part 1 Here; No Doubts About Shakespeare’s Authorship Part 1
Read Part 2 Here; No Doubts About Shakespeare’s Authorship Part 2
Read Part 3 Here; No Doubts About Shakespeare’s Authorship Part 3
Read Part 4 Here; No Doubts About Shakespeare’s Authorship Part 4
The 17th Earl of Oxford died in 1604. Shakespeare wrote King Lear in 1605, Macbeth in 1606, Antony and Cleopatra in 1608 and the Tempest in 1610. And we know that this is the same man who wrote Hamlet in 1600 and Othello in 1603. All these six plays contain the same “rounded perfection and felicity of expression, of which Shakespeare is the master” to quote Matthew Arnold. Now where and how exactly does the 17th Earl fit into this equation? Nowhere! “. Let us now take up some of Marder’s arguments
It is contended by the Oxford school that the Earl of Oxford had got injured in a duel and became lame. Shakespeare also refers to himself as being lame in one of his sonnets. Therefore, they are one and the same. The answer to this is that Shakespeare was not lame in the real sense – he used the word as a figure of speech – after all nowhere else is there any reference to his having been lame.
The Oxford School is of the view that the fact of Oxford’s authorship had been suppressed by his heirs and supporters though no explanation has been given. Even if we concede that for some reason Oxford’s authorship of the Plays had been suppressed by Oxford’s heirs and some other people for certain reasons, why should their descendants have kept quiet for about 300 years. After all what a literary triumph it would have been for them had they revealed it, to the world.
The Oxford school has come out with a theory that there was a conspiracy to hush up Oxford’s authorship. Is it proof that there was a conspiracy to hush up the authorship of Oxford, because all evidence such as monuments to Oxford, all letters, all tributes to the great loss the World of Drama had sustained, had been deliberately obliterated. Who would have stood to gain by such destruction of evidence?
Apart from that is it conceivable that eminent literary historians have allowed it to remain a secret without carrying out a thorough investigation to arrive at the truth.
According to the Oxford School, the occurrence of the word “ever” refers to Oxford. Any speculation that the occurrences of “ever” in various lines indicate that they are direct or indirect references to E ver i.e Edward Vere, has no basis and therefore unwarranted.
There is some evidence of Oxford having written a few insipid comedies (not certainly “As You Like It” or” Twelfth Night”! -Oxford could never have created the impish Rosalind, the unforgettable Malvolio, and the vivacious Viola). Oxford has however left no evidence to suggest that he wrote tragedies, which are Shakespeare’s best plays. Is this not eloquent proof that Oxford did not write the plays?
As stated in Part 1 of the article Shakespeare’s authorship has been doubted only by a few persons including perverted novelists like James Joyce, poets like Walt Whitman (who have contributed very little to the poetic heritage of English literature) and eccentric actors like Orson Welles who keep changing theories like a chameleon changes its colours, to cite a few names. Their theories can only be attributed to petty jealousy, or even ” motiveless malignity” a phrase coined to describe Iago’s evil nature by Coleridge (ironically Coleridge, who had once equated Shakespeare to five hundred Newtons, was one of the “doubters” referred to, in Part 1). On the other hand many eminent writers like Thomas De Quincey, Logan Pearsall Smith, Bradley, Harold Bloom, and Quiller Couch, great poets like Matthew Arnold, John Dryden, and Alexander Pope, and actors of unquestioned stature like Sir Lawrence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson, and Kenneth Branagh regard Shakespeare as the poet who in genius excelled the human race and hold the view that there are no doubts about Shakespeare’s authorship. What better proof do we need?
To be continued in Part 6 (Final part)