Who Really Wrote Shakespeare's Plays Sir Francis Bacon Part 3

About the controversy over who really wrote Shakespeare's plays, arguments against Sir Francis Bacon.



Arguments Against: Many dramatists of the period used legal phraseology more often and more adroitly than Shakespeare. According to H. N. Gibson, author of The Shakespeare Claimants, a "positive 'craze' for the Law, which affected all classes" marked Shakespeare's audiences during a period when courtroom attendance was a popular spectator sport."

Shakespeare's grammar-school education would have included the principal subject of Latin, and London offered many opportunities for self-education; books were plentiful and cheap, and foreign languages were taught. The scholarship displayed in the plays was not erudite beyond the common learning of playgoers. If it had been, there would have been no audience. Geography of the plays, contrary to Baconians' claims, usually consisted of transplanted English locales or scenes borrowed from the foreign sources of Shakespeare's plots. Shakespeare would also have had ample exposure to actors from traveling companies.

Parallelisms exist among almost all Elizabethan writers. Many expressions came from a common fund of cliches. Plagiarism was a common professional practice; yes, Shakespeare plagiarized, but he was plagiarized in turn. As for the alleged usage of Bacon's unpublished Promus in the plays, many of the parallelisms probably resulted from both authors' consulting the same sources. Also, much of Bacon's Promus may not have been written before Shakespeare wrote his plays. Expanded "Promus entries" appear in the works of other writers too, many of them long before Bacon could have compiled the Promus.

The cryptogram argument was demolished by code experts William and Elizabeth Friedman in The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined (1957), which vividly demonstrated that the supposed hidden messages were all arbitrarily "discovered." By way of proof, the Friedmans "deciphered" contradictory messages from the same passages, using Donnelly's and Lawrence's own systems.

Except as a student, Bacon shared the prevalent academic disdain for drama, feeling it was frivolous. "Stage-playing is a thing indeed, if practiced professionally, of low repute," he wrote.

The postscripts convey no deep, dark secrets. "Concealed poets" abounded in England; it was a favorite self-description of noblemen with artistic leanings. Bacon's first-mentioned correspondent was a well-known patron of poets, and Bacon, like numerous other gentlemen, simply knew how to approach him for a favor. The "another" mentioned by Sir Toby Mathew was Bacon's brother Anthony, "this side the sea" in Spain.

Either Bacon's authorship was a secret or it wasn't; such "clues" as the Baconians concoct emerge so frequently that they contradict the secrecy theory. No evidence exists that Bacon had any political opinions to hide, that he headed any authors' syndicate, or that he ever wrote drama--particularly under the coincidental pseudonym of Shakespeare.

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