Shakespeare Code Revealed. Again.

Just when you thought it might be safe to believe that Shakespeare was Shakespeare again, there’s a new book to set your naive, un-elitist head straight. The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare, by Brenda James and William Rubinstein offers up the newest proof that Shakespeare was, in fact, someone else. Who? Well, it turns out that Henry Neville’s claim to fame is not as one of the founding members of the Neville Brothers. No, he’s actually the latest in a long line of contenders for the title of The Real William Shakespeare. And I had just recovered from the shock of discovering that Shakespeare was actually Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, which was so very scandalous, because it snuck up on me while I was busy thinking that Shakespeare was really Sir Francis Bacon, which was the conclusion I came to after I thought he was Christopher Marlowe. So how do we know this time that Shakespeare was Henry Neville? It’s so obvious:

“James said that she began exploring the connection between Shakespeare and Neville about six years ago when she deciphered what she believes is a code on the dedication page of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The code revealed the name Henry Neville.”

Can we be sure? Will our Shakespeare-wasn’t-Shakespeare hearts be broken again with the next earth-shattering discovery of Shakespeare’s true identity? Well…

“The authors say Neville’s life helps explain a switch in Shakespeare’s plays, from histories and comedies to tragedies, at the turn of the 17th century. Neville was imprisoned in the Tower of London from 1601 to 1603 for his role in the Essex rebellion (the attempt by the Earl of Essex and his supporters to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I), which the authors say accounts for the more tragic tone of Hamlet, written in 1601 and 1602, and the plays that follow.”

Oh yes. I believe the world is now collectively saying “Duh,” completely unable to believe that nobody saw it before. Hamlet‘s a tragedy because its author was in prison. Obviously.

I hope that when they pick the next William Shakespeare, they can find someone whose life can explain the switch from the tragedies to the romances, because that’s a real head-scratcher.

Seriously. I think it’s time someone called Dan Brown.

12 Responses

  1. William S. Gump?But the real
    William S. Gump?

    But the real question is, who will play him in the movie?

  2. I can’t let go of the donkey
    I can’t let go of the donkey theory

    I, for one, can’t let go of the donkey theory.

    Perhaps you’ve heard about the second man in the iron mask. They kept this guy in the Tower of London, see. Whenever he was out in public, he wore an elongated mask. Why did the mask extend so far out from his face?

    When one reads in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream about the character Bottom being transformed into a donkey, or ass, one may extrapolate to discover the underlying message contained inside the head of the writer. Ancient notarized documents, which I have seen with my mind’s eye, tell the story of a marvelously gifted writer who could never appear in public because of a grievous deformity.

    He had the head of a donkey!

    Thus did this writer toil in secrecy to compose the plays we now regard as “Shakespearian.” Almost every famous person alive during that time got together and conspired to pull the wool over the ass, as the saying goes. These plotters, who met at a pub, included Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Christopher Robin, Phillip Marlowe, Henry Neville, Aaron Neville, John Bonham, and Graham Kerr. The idea was to each come up for an idea for a play, then make the donkey-headed man write the plays, then produce them in a Theatre called Shakespeare’s Dinner Club. They took the name of the dinner club and, because the unfortunate prisoner was “willing” to write these plays, they called their fictional author “William Shakespeare.” Also because Francis Bacon sometimes got drunk and engaged in what was then known as “shaking the spear” but is now commonly called, especially by rednecks, “doing the helicopter.”

    Why the secrecy? To avoid paying union dues.

    One will also note that in all early depictions of Hamlet speaking to the skull of Yorick, Hamlet holds the skull at arm’s length. This is because the original story called for a donkey skull, the snout of which extended further than that of a human being.

    I won’t even go into my fairy theory.

  3. well…Will knowing who he

    Will knowing who he was let me finish Antonio & Cleopatra faster?

  4. This is an excellent theory,
    This is an excellent theory, Bill. I should’ve known that it was all about union dues in the end.

  5. Probably not, so when it
    Probably not, so when it comes down to it, knowing his so-called “real” identity doesn’t really matter much, hm?

  6. Well, J, there are a lot of
    Well, J, there are a lot of things in heaven & earth.

    That’s what I always say.

  7. It’s like Levi said. Someone
    It’s like Levi said. Someone can proclaim, “Homer wasn’t really Homer! It was some other blind poet!” Which, of course, is pointless, because whoever wrote it, wrote it, no matter what name we attach. A rose, by any other name, still kicks ass.

  8. Billy ShivertimberBilly
    Billy Shivertimber

    Billy Shivertimber is my joke name for William Shakespeare…

    Shakespeare IS Shakespeare–regardless of all theories to the contrary. I’ve been to his hometown, Stratford-on-Avon twice and have done my homework. I realize some wags and PhDs think otherwise.

    However, good “Old Will” was a folk genius and deserves his own credits. To me, it is kind of like saying that Walt Whitman wasn’t Walt Whitman.

    I studied Shakespeare at the height of the controversy and the folks that think Shakespeare was a fraud have opinions which “don’t hold water”.

  9. I’m glad to hear someone say
    I’m glad to hear someone say that. Seriously. Maybe when people run out of ideas for master’s theses and doctoral dissertations, they have to think up wacky theories.

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