I remember this theory coming up when I took College Lit 25 years ago.
At the time scholars were closely comparing the academic writing styles of Bacon and the Shakespeare plays. The idea was that a scholar like Bacon needed a pen name to hide his association with socially common works like plays.
I was reminded of this because they’ve been advertising a movie about William Shakespeare being an uneducated patsy for someone needing a pen name.
Did Shakespeare have access to books? Because if he did, there was no limit to what he might have known. The 16th Century saw a massive explosion of knowledge following the dissemination of the printing press, with books written not only on every subject known in Europe, but also written for the general reader, and not just for experts. In fact, the period is often referred to as the golden age of knowledge, because information had yet to become specialized into specific fields, and thus far more accessable than it is today.
Very smart people with limited formal education are often autodidacts. Let’s put it this way - if Abraham Lincoln could pass the bar after reading some books he found in a barrel, William Shakespeare could write about science and kings. Formal education is vastly overrated.
I believe the consensus is that the known works by Bacon and the known works by Shakespeare are sufficiently different in things like vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and style that they are not the work of the same person.
It’s nothing more than a run-of-the-mill conspiracy theory, as Sage Rat’s quote says. In order to make a case for Shakespeare not writing Shakespeare’s plays, you must overlook a mountain of evidence to chase at will o’ the wisps. People have criticized Mary Shelley, saying she was too uneducated to write as scientific a text as Frankenstein. Except she went into very little detail except to specify experiments of an electrical nature and dead tissue animation. Basically, info that she could have gleaned from perusing abstracts off of whatever passed for jstor in her time. I think the same is true of Shakespeare. Besides, would Bacon have been so careless as to include a clock in the Roman Republic?
The proponents of the Oxfordian idea I’ve encountered have included, as part of their lunacy, the notion that de Vere faked his own death. Which should tell you something about the quality of the ideas.
It isn’t even a theory, except in the headbangy ‘Obama is a sekrit Muslim’ kind of way. There’s no evidence that Shakespeare didn’t write the plays, and plenty that he did.
Basically, centuries after Shakespeare’s death, he no longer fit some people’s image of what a great playwright should be like. The Romantics felt he should be a noble and an intellectual, not some mere commoner. Hence, stupid conspiracy theories to force the facts into line with what people wanted to believe.
As for the idea that ‘he wasn’t educated enough’ - for one thing, he was plenty educated. And for another, whoever wrote those plays was a genius - he had an amazing mind that worked a dozen times as fast and as fluently as most people’s. He could perfectly well have educated himself, a dozen times as fast and as easily as most people.
I xcannot remember the historian, but I have read that his willing his secondbest bed to Anne Hathaway was sort of private, affectionate gesture on Shakespeare’s part, the seondbest bed being the one they had most often shared. He was willng her a sentimental, but well used article.
That’s a strawman. So are claims that the entire argument rests of cryptography or class warfare.
There are real legitimate pieces of evidence but some people would rather point at the silly stuff because it’s easy to dismiss that. And then they dismiss the entire argument without ever acknowledging the other evidence exists.
Of course, there’s no way that Edward de Vere, who died in 1604, could have published the First Folio in 1623. So obviously it must have been William Shakespeare, who died in 1616, who must have published the First Folio in 1623.
Nobody’s disputing that there was a person named William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon who also lived in London. And nobody’s disputing that somebody wrote the plays and poems that are now attributed to William Shakespeare. But the connection between the William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon and the William Shakespeare who wrote the plays is surprisingly small. Nobody connected the two men in Shakespeare’s lifetime. It basically comes down to one person, Ben Jonson, who identified the playwright as being from Stratford-upon-Avon in 1623.
Edward de Vere was known as a poet and playwright. But he stopped publically writing when it became dangerous. But there are contemporary references that he continued to write under a pseudonym.
The plays were originally published under the name Shake-spear not William Shakespeare. References in the works show that the writer pronounced his name Shake-spear with spear rhyming with deer. Edward de Vere’s coat of arms was an arm shaking a spear. William Shakespeare actually signed his name Shaksper or Shaxper and pronounced it to rhyme with Baxter.
There have been a large number of words that have been attributed to Shakespeare’s invention. He was supposedly the first person to ever use them. But people have since found out that they many of these words were not first used in a work by Shakespeare - they first appeared in early works by Edward de Vere.
Examinations of Edward de Vere’s personal library have found that quotes, characters, and plotlines that appeared in Shakespeare’s plays have been underlined in de Vere’s books. So apparently whoever wrote the Shakespeare plays was doing a lot of research of de Vere’s library.