THE SHAKESPEARE IDENTITY PROBLEM

INTRODUCTION


I became interested in the problem of Shakespeare's identity after seeing a TV program about it, now almost 10 years ago. More recently I have begun to read extensively on the subject and have come to certain conclusions I'd like to put on my web page. That's partly because I noticed that almost all of the professional scholars and teachers are convinced that William Shakespeare of Stratford Upon Avon was Shakespeare the poet and dramatist, while a number of famous authors, some journalists and others claim the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, was Shakespeare. I also noticed that the "academic side", the Stratfordians, made scathing remarks about the "amateur" dissenters, considering their views almost sacrilegious and laughable, whereas the Oxfordians were equally convinced of the merit of their own case, but less vitriolic in discussing the views of their opponents.

My interest at this time was that I thought with many years of investigative auditing behind me, which often involved reviewing large numbers of legal and other documents, I could perhaps examine the evidence on both sides with some impartiality and at least come to a conclusion which would satisfy me, if no one else. I thought I had some minor qualifications for this self-imposed task. As a youth I took the Oxford Higher School Certificate exam with major subjects English and History (4 papers each) and minors, Economics, French and Latin (1 paper each). I read voraciously and this included many of Shakespeare's plays, his sonnets, and his long narrative poems. The results were gratifying. 4 As in English, 4 As in History, A in Economics and pass in the rest. My Headmaster told me I was 6th in England in English. From there I went on to take a degree in English at Oxford (and read more Shakespeare) I had studied in particular Lear, Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth and some of the comedies extensively, and read most of the other plays plus books by critics and scholars of those days, including the obvious Chambers, Bradley, Wilson Knight, etc.

In those days some claimed that Francis Bacon was Shakespeare and others that it was Christopher Marlowe. I read enough of each to decide in my own mind that their claims were unfounded. If Shakespeare wasn't Will from Stratford Upon Avon he certainly wasn't, I thought, one of them.

But now, back to the present, and after my fairly extensive reading of Stratfordians and Oxfordians, and renewing my acquaintance with the poems and plays, as someone who has spent most of his life conducting investigations including for the Supreme Court of Ontario and the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, besides being a member of research committees or working sub-committees for the Ontario and Canadian Institutes of CAs..so having spent most of my life in researching and evaluating evidence I thought it might be helpful to examine and comment on the Shakespeare identity problem, as my investigative auditing experience in particular may give a somewhat different perspective.


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