Will in the World Program



Researching the  Shakespearean Authorship Controversy



William Shakespeare?             Edward DeVere ?                           Christopher Marlowe?                       Francis Bacon?

|Introduction|                                                         | The Research|                                                         | The Debate |



Who really wrote William Shakespeare's plays and sonnets? The obvious answer to this question is the actor from Stratford-upon-Avon who goes by the name of William Shakespeare.

Or is he the front for another brilliant poet who lived in Elizabethan England?

Use your detective skills to evaluate the evidence on the many sides of this debate. Decide who has the most persuasive evidence on this controversy and prepare to defend your opinions

The Research

In this activity you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will research together. As a member of the group you will explore web pages from people all over the world who care about the Shakespeare Authorship Controversy.

You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background by reading some websites about the issue; then you'll read some print sources before discussing and debating.

Background Information
Use the internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can. Follow all interesting links and take excellent notes as you go.

1. What is the Shakespeare authorship problem?
2. Which literary, cultural, and political figures doubt that Shakespeare was the sole author of the work?
3. Make a chronological history of the doubts that surround the authorship of the Shakespearean canon.
4. Now do the same for the doubts surrounding the Stratfordian attribution.
5. Make a list of the six contenders for the authorship question. Then copy down or print out all the evidence for each of the contenders

6. Find other candidates not already discovered in the background section and list why they should be considered as contenders.
7. What is the controversy that surrounds Shakespeare's bust and its inscription as it applies to Sir Francis Bacon?
8. Why should the Marlowe spy theory be reviewed?
9. How has technology, most notably the computer, made its presence known in this controversy?



The Shakespeare Fellowship (http://www.shakespearefellowship.org)

Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable (http://www.shakespeareauthorship.org/)             

Major Candidates for Authorship (http://www.shakespeareauthorship.org/Candidates/candidates.htm)

The Shakespeare Resource Center (http://www.bardweb.net/debates.html)


Sites That May Look At The Evidence From A Limited Point Of View



The Marlovian Theory (http://www.marlowe-society.org/society/policy.html)

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?

2. What role did the British government play in Marlowe's death?

3. Was Marlowe really a heretic?

4. What similarities exist between Marlowe's writing and Shakespeare's writing?




The Oxfordian Theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_de_Vere,_17th_Earl_of_Oxford#The_Shakespearean_authorship_question)

Use the internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to DEVERE WROTE SHAKESPEARE:

1. Many authorities have made claims that De Vere more than anyone is most closely related to being the author of the Shakespearean collection. Why?

2. What are some of the coincidental connections between the Earl of Oxford and Shakespeare?

3. What problems exist between the authorship of the Shakespearean poems and plays?

4. What is the real story behind SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE?



The Stratfordian Theory (http://shakespeareauthorship.com/)

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

1. How is the spelling and pronunciation of Shakespeare's name important to investigate?

2. What are the Oxfordian claims that Shakespeare is responsible for everything he produced?

3. Why is it important to preserve the authorship status of William Shakespeare?

4. What is the most convincing evidence that leads us to believe that Shakespeare, did in fact, wrote Shakespeare?

Will in the World program



After everybody has had time to research, our class will discuss and debate the authorship question

Subpages (1): Hamlet