Why Couldn't Shakespeare Write Shakespeare?

I get really aggravated when people say that someone other than WS wrote Shakespeare. Reasons given are that he only had an eighth grade education, had no experience with royalty and the lifestyles shown in the plays, or that the collected works are simply too great for one person to have written.

Let's take the education thing first. Who in the world thinks that education has anything to do with genius? I've known plenty of idiots with PhDs and lots of scantily-school people who are either wiser or smarter than most of us, sometimes both wiser and smarter.

As far as his experiences go, we don't have to experience a lifestyle to be able to imagine it; we simply have to have an imagination. Shakespeare put himself into the mind of a teenaged girl as well as he put himself into the mind of a king. It's his talent, not his background, that we see in his work. I'm a great admirer of Mark Twain, but he was one who made this argument, and I think it's ironic. What was that little town Twain grew up in? Can you say "hick from the sticks"? Twain wasn't a slave, but he certainly captures the slave's view of things.

And then that the collected works were done by committee. Having worked with many, many commmittees, I contend that there's no way a group could achieve the passion, the focus, and the striking characters that we see in the great WS plays. I agree they were messed with by lots of people. They were working scripts, and things tend to change as a play is staged. So sure, we might have ended up with three murderers in Macbeth because someone's nephew needed work. And so what if someone forgot to change the original scene where Macbeth only hired two?

So here's my take on it. There was a guy from Stratford. He came to London, tried his hand at acting, wasn't very good at it. But he found out he could write, so he did. He wrote from inside himself, because he had to, and he kept writing until his personal well was dry. Then he went home to Stratford, never dreaming that people would argue hundreds of years later whether he was gay or straight, happily married or forced into matrimony, and most importantly, whether he ever existed at all.

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Comment by Peg Herring on July 9, 2008 at 4:49am
Right. As we all know, there aren't any new plots, just interesting ways to present them.
Comment by John Weagly on July 9, 2008 at 4:10am
Let's not forget, too, that most of Shakespeare's plays were based on other works. "Romeo & Juliet," for instance was based on "Romeus & Juliet" by Arthur Brooke and "Palace of Pleasure" by William Painter. I believe "The Tempest" is Shakespeare's only play that doesn't borrow from someone else.

This doesn't take away from his genius, though.
Comment by Peg Herring on July 9, 2008 at 3:54am
Isn't that the truth! I guess I love the idea of a guy with all that talent oozing out of him and very little else in his favor. I want to believe he beat the odds.

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