Friday, February 07, 2014

measure for measure | shakespeare authorship | mary sidney

On the day before MEASURE FOR MEASURE's closing, we present the second in our mini-series on alternate theories of Shakespeare's authorship.  Sparked by a comment on Twitter that turned into a conversation that became an invitation for people with various theories to submit their arguments, these views do not represent Pacific Theatre's, but are an invitation to open up discussions on our blog.  We've already shared Hank Whittemore's view that the works of the Bard were penned by Edward de Vere.  Now here is Diana Keng with her argument in favour of Mary Sidney.

Shakespeare was... Mary Sidney
by Diana Keng

I champion Mary Sidney as the Author not as a scholar or academic but a logician with interest in the most simple and straightforward explanation for this historical enigma.

In order to raise the discourse at all, one has to first question whether the actor and homeowner, “William Shakspere”, actually wrote the works attributed to “William Shakespeare”. Historical evidence would suggest he was not the literary genius behind the works as: (1) examples of his signature indicate that he had poor literacy at best; (2) he left behind no books or papers in his estate; and (3) there is no evidence that his sole son ever attended school and his daughters were both unable to read or write. Lastly, the only piece of writing we know for sure was composed by the actor and homeowner, “William Shakspere” is the poem engraved on his tombstone “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,/ To dig the dust enclosed here./ Blessed be the man that spares these stones,/And cursed be he that moves my bones.” which, although iambic in nature, lacks the finesse we come to expect of The Bard, especially in his final resting place.

In the arena of the Authorship debate, the gentlemen whom Academia has focused on are all worthy candidates but none make much sense as the “Secret Shakespeare” as men of the time had no true impediments to their chosen pursuits. Even if they did choose to do hide their identity while alive, why wouldn’t the truth have come to light after their death in obvious and undeniable terms? And, speaking again to the logic of the situation, many of the heavy-hitters – Vere, Marlowe, Dyre – simply died too early to have produced the works attributed to Shakespeare. Mary Sidney lived and died in the bracket of time encompassing the production of Shakespearean works and there is evidence that she exhibited a love of and talent in literary composition in all the public contexts permitted to her as a woman. She had the education, world experience, aptitude, and life connections to give life to the characters and plots that have grown into the Shakespearean cannon; the access to the person of Shakspere to act as her front or mask through her husband, the Earl of Pembroke; and the motivation to hide her identity during her life AND after her death.

Logically speaking, she really is the only possible Author.

-Diana Keng

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