The Shakespeare Conspericy

35% of women living during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century America published at least one literary work despite their restrictions. During this time American society viewed women as fragile and unable to work. In addition, women were also not allowed to publish literary works such as poems, plays, or novels. However, that does not mean that they didn’t publish anyway.

Susan Eloise Hinton published The Outsiders, a young adult novel, in 1967 under the alias of S. E. Hinton. Hinton published under this name to avoid the criticism of male publishers who would deny her works due to gender (Wikipedia S. E. Hinton).

There are a number of theories, such as the Shakespeare/Baconian Theory, surrounding Shakespeare’s plays due to how little we know about the revolutionary playwright. As in many new societies, the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods viewed women as fragile and weak, unable to join most work forces, and in need of constant care from men.

Women were not allowed to enter the professions i.e. law, medicine, politics, but they could work in domestic service as cooks, maids etc, and a female painter, Levina Teerlinc, was employed by Henry VIII and later by Mary and Elizabeth respectively. Women were also allowed to write works of literature, providing the subject was suitable for women: mainly translations or religious works (Elizabethan Woman).

Assuming women could not write for the stage, William Shakespeare could really be the alias for a woman, for example, Anne Hathaway. All though they were able to write literature, it turns out women were in fact unable write plays. Women were not allowed to act on the public stage or write for the public stage. Acting was considered dishonorable for women and women did not appear on the stage in England until the seventeenth century. In Shakespeare’s plays, the roles of women were often played by young boys (Elizabethan Women).

This would help fuel Anne, giving her plenty of reason to marry at this time. Frenetic about having a baby on the way, Anne’s father had also left her money to inherit when she was wed. (Anne Hathaway Wikipedia Life) However, at twenty seven years old, why choose the young Shakespeare, only eighteen years of age? It has been speculated by many that Anne Hathaway was in fact a cradle snatcher. An adulterous Anne is imagined by James Joyce’s character Stephen Dedalus, who makes a number of references to Hathaway. (Anne Hathaway Wikipedia Literature after 1900).

Young William would have been the perfect target, he was tractable, as he had just turned an adult, was a small and not well known actor, and no one would question him becoming a playwright. In Ulysses James Joyce also depicts Anne to be adulterous, speculating that the gift of the infamous “second-best bed” was punishment for her adultery (James Joyce 195). However, Shakespeare’s hate could very well have been fueled by his realization of what Anne stole from him, trapping him in a marriage only to use him for his name and gender.

The evidence from many of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets fuel the possibility of the real author being a woman when the author references the beauty of men and love for them. The very things that cause fans of Shakespeare to question his sexuality could ultimately be clues to who the real writer is. Although we will never know if Shakespeare really did write this magnificent literature, there will always be theories to fuel the belief or disbelief of Shakespeare’s authenticity.

Haley Davis Final Draft 5th Period; 12.14.12

William Shakespeare, genius or thief? William Shakespeare is acknowledged as a brilliant playwright but speculated to be a crafty plagiarizer. All over the world, he composed thirty-seven plays that are known. It is important to learn about his work so we can see how he lived his life. He would, as theory states, steal the work of others and use what he stole as his own works. Shakespeare’s impact on out modern day language is extensive as he created many of the words and phrases we still use today.

The phrase “Give the devil his due,” is a famous quote first heard in the 1597 performance of Henry IV. During the play Prince Hal says “give the devil his dues,” but the duke of Orleans also says it in Henry V. Today the phrase is used figuratively by many to mean ‘give back what you owe’ be it either money or favors. Yet this is just one of the thousands of quotes still used today.

Shakespeare coined the phrase “fight fire with fire,” in the 1500’s with play King John. “Fight fire with fire” is used to respond to an attack using the same strategy, weapon, or tactics as the attacker. The quote is used today in many ways, being mainly used by those in authority to encourage those under them not to stoop to the level of others.

“Devil incarnate” was used in two of Shakespeare’s plays, both Titus Andronicus, believed to have been written in 1599, and Henry V, written in 1598. In Titus Andronicus devil incarnate Lucius uses the phrase. A mere boy says it in the play Henry V. It is still used today to describe someone as a monster or the as devil them self.

As it turns out, the Bard was in fact actually a genius. Having coined over 1,500 different words or phrases still in use today, William Shakespeare has made a huge impact on the modern world. Through is plays, words and phrases, it seems the magnificent playwright will continue to live on, impacting society.