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4. Now do the same for the doubts surrounding the Stratfordian attribution.


-There is no reference during the lifetime of Shakepere of Stratford (1564-1616) which either speaks of the author of the Shakespearean works as having come from Stratford or speaks of the Stratford man as being an author. (The first indication that the author of Shakespeare's plays came from Stratford appears, ambiguously, in the prefatory materials of the 1623 First Folio.)

-In an age of copious eulogies, none was forthcoming when William Shakspere died in Stratford. William Camden in his book Remaines had praised the author "Shakespeare", but in his Annals for the year 1616 Camden omits mention of the Stratford man's death. Also, in the list of Stratford Worthies of 1605 Camden omits the Stratford man's name, even though Camden had previously passed on Shakspere's application for a family coat of arms. (The inference is that it did not occur to Camden that the author, "Shakespeare", and the Stratford man were the same person.) The first memorial verse to "Shakespeare" appears in the 1623 Folio.

-There is no mention in the documents of the time of a Shakespeare's, or a Shakspere's, intimate acquaintance with the inner court circles as has been implied by such contemporaries as Ben Jonson, later seventeenth-century commentators such as John Ward, the author's dedications to the Earl of Southampton of two poems, and internal evidence from Shakespeare's works.

-The author of Shakespeare's works had to be familiar with a wide body of knowledge for his time --on such subjects as law, music, foreign languages, the classics, and aristocratic manners and sports. There is no documentation that William Shakspere of Stratford had access to such information.

-Despite evidence of Shakspere's unspecified connection with the theater, documentation of any career as an actor is conspicuously absent. For example, there is no record of any part he may have played, and only two posthumous traditions to bit parts. Contrary to all this, the 1623 Folio lists 'William Shakespeare" at the head of "...the Principall Actors in all these Playes." Since the hint that the author came from Stratford is also made here for the first time, the dubiousness of the one claim should make us suspect the other as well.

-In the Stratford man's will, noteworthy for its detailed disposition of household furniture, there is no mention of books, library, manuscripts, or of any literary interest. Indeed, the only theatrical connection there appears as an interlined bequest to three actors.

-The only specimens of William Shakspere's handwriting to come down to us are six almost illegible signatures, each formed differently from the others, and each from the latter period of his life (none earlier than 1612). Three of these signatures are on his will, one is on a deposition in someone else's breach of promise case, and two are on property documents. None of these has anything to do with literature. The first syllable, incidentally, in all these signatures is spelled "Shak", whereas the published plays and poems consistently spell the name "Shake".

-There is no evidence that William Shakepere had left Stratford for London before 1585 (with the birth of his twins). This 1585 date is providing a great difficulty as more commentators find earlier dates for the composition of certain plays and poems.





Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to MARLOWE WROTE SHAKESPEARE:

1. What association to Shakespeare is presented by the Marlowe Society that leads one to believe that Christopher Marlowe's death is associated with Shakespeare's writings? Shakespeares’ sonnet called sonnet 74, it does not seem to have anything to do with the supposed shakesperes life, but the first 3 lines of this sonnet would fit Marlowes’ “faked” death perfectly.

2. What role did the British government play in Marlowe's death? The British secret service is supposed to have played a part in his (fake) death. It is also supposed that Queen Elizabeth herself, and/or Lord Burghley were the ones that used the secret service because they were the only ones that had high enough power and connections.

3. Was Marlowe really a heretic?

4. What similarities exist between Marlowe's writing and Shakespeare's writing? (consider style and structure)

5. What type of logic/illogic is used to support these claims?


  • The Marlowe Society - The home page for Christopher Marlowe, whose members believe he was the author of the Shakespeare canon.
  • Logical Fallacies - A Web site that provides an overview of logic and logical fallacies. Students must refer to this page and identify specific errors in logic as put forth by supporters of each candidate.