Friday, March 2, 2012

Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Whofore Art Thou Shakespeare

I just watched the movie Anonymous. It is another conspiracy theory about who actually wrote the plays of William Shakespeare. If you are a Shakespeare aficionado it is alot of fun to see how they juxtapose his plays with the political machinations of the day. If you think we have issues in our political atmosphere today, you should have lived during Elizabethan England. We ain't got nothin' on them...

Everything in the movie was perfect. How people dressed How the city looked. How the Royal Court functioned. How households were run. How people even spoke to each other. How the religious animus of the time infected the entire of civilization. How society was stratified. How international politics played out. It was a ton of fun.

Now I will warn everyone...I hadn't noticed that the old Queen Bess was Vanessa Redgrave. I do despise that woman's politics....she a Trotskyite antisemite...I will admit if I knew she was in the film I might not have watched it. Yes, I know its my own form of boycott. No, I don't think my boycott has hurt her career any.

But if you love Shakespeare, Elizabethan history, conspiracy theories and political machinations this is the film for you.

Meanwhile, there is another interesting theory that came out a few years ago saying that William Shakespeare was actually a woman named Amelia Bassano Lanier. She, the illegitimate daughter of a Venetian musician, who became a courtesan in the Tudor Court. She later married a court musician and became a patron of the arts. She was also rumored to be Shakespeare's mistress. Here are some interesting articles about her authorship of Shakespeare's plays....


The most interesting issue pointed to happens to be found in The Merchant of Venice. As Amelia was herself of Jewish extraction, and historians actually view this play as a an attack on the prevailing antisemitic attitudes towards Jews in England and Europe, it is thought that only a Jew or Jewess, could have written it.

In truth,  it does not really matter.  Verily, these plays and sonnets were written by someone with an inordinate amount of genius. If it was Shakespeare then such a genius could teach himself what he needed to know in order to write such magnificent words, humble beginnings notwithstanding.

But in the end, it is not the author that is important. It is the words and how they resonate through history. These words' ability to touch every subsequent generation and bring meaning to the world is our treasure and our gift. Whether that gift came from Shakespeare, Anonymous or Bassano-Lanier  is not the defining element that gives these words their soul...the defining element is truly the universal spark found in the greatness inherent in humanity itself. For we are capable of so much more than the sum of our parts.

I do have to say one of my most favorite movies on the Shakespeare theme is Shakespeare in Love ...Yes, I know it by heart.

Qi en Pace,


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