Who Wrote Shakespeare? Who Cares?

Not I, said the blogger.

Note, for clarity: I think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. I do care. I’m not entirely apathetic. My whole point to this post is that it seems that researching the authorship question has put a fog in front of the works themselves.

There are so many theoretical webs that have been spun over the past several years about who the REAL Shakespeare was. Shakespeare couldn’t have written the plays… he was uneducated, lower class, not well read, didn’t travel, didn’t know about this, that, or the other, blah, blah, blah. Because of all that it must’ve been The Earl of Oxford, or Queen Elizabeth, or Bacon, or a black Jewish woman!

I’ve often pondered what people’s fascinations with finding the “REAL Shakespeare” is. It has become a mystery story with infinite possibilities. The authorship question is a choose your own adventure story among researchers and authors. People are crazy about finding connections between people and possibilities of this and that. Are we searching for answers or are they trying to avoid something by raising different questions?

I’m merely asking questions; I don’t have the answers.

Does all this talk about who wrote Shakespeare’s plays detract in anyway from the works themselves? You decide. I personally am not wholly concerned with who wrote them… they good! If several monkeys with quill and inkwell scribbled out this wonderful poetry, so be it. It’s great theatre and that’s what matters to me. If Arthur Miller didn’t write his plays, shame on him for lying, but they plays are still amazing. Who can argue with quality art? The fact is that we know so little about Shakespeare’s life that it’s not possible for us to say for sure what he could or couldn’t do, what knew and didn’t know, where he went and where he didn’t go.

Maybe the authorship debate is in some way an attempt to knock Mr. Shakespeare off the high pedestal he’s been on for a few centuries. “Shakespeare’s overrated, and no one remembers Oxford. Time to change that!” Maybe. Could it be that a student long ago didn’t want to study Shakespeare’s plays because he was bored and happened to draw some connections between the works and some other person alive at the time? “Now nobody will read the plays, they’ll only read my book on who wrote them! MUAHAHAHA!!!”

I exaggerate. But if Shakespeare didn’t write the plays… so what? That’s all I want to know. People make it such a big issue, but what does it change? I actually enjoy hearing all the crazy stories that people make up on this subject. That’s entertainment! So I’ll continue to let the history detectives do their work. I’ll also continue to read, perform, study, blog about, and enjoy the works by the artist currently known as Shakespeare.