Sunday, June 10, 2012
Sunday Spotlight: William Shakespeare, Street Thug
According to the latest research, reports the Smithsonian, the Bard was quite the seedy character—a petty thug running in a gang and being issued writs for death threats against rival criminals.
This, we are to believe, is the same man who wrote ridiculously famous love sonnets whose nuances are still tirelessly debated, and the hefty corpus of the most oft-quoted and -referenced literary works in the English language after the Bible. Okay, sure!
It's as if Stanley Kowalski actually wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, or if Rocky Balboa actually filmed Rocky ...uh, well, never mind—you know what I mean.
Of course, these revelations only heighten age-old suspicions that Shakespeare's contemporary, the brilliant young playwright Christopher Marlowe (below), didn't actually die in a barroom brawl as sketchily reported, as well as those well-founded observations that the Earl of Oxford had the requisite intellect and breadth of knowledge that a street thug certainly lacked, and add further weight to those myriad computer-run textual analyses that show disturbingly wide differences in word choice, usage and punctuation throughout the Shakespearean oeuvre.
And of course, not one hand-written manuscript of a play has ever come to light. All first appeared in printed form. Doubtless Willy the Wit's manuscripts were stolen by a rival gang, in a kind of Elizabethan version of West Side Story.
So, was "Shakespeare" a joint-venture literary project of the Elizabethan court?