102 Reasons

There's better evidence for fairies at the bottom of your garden than for De Vere's authorship of Will's plays.

Their manifesto

Fitting up

A key part of the Oxfordians theory is that the work which we know was circulated and published in his name, and is therefore indisputably his own, is compatible with the work of Shakespeare. It is essential to maintain this strand of argument as the two bodies of work have to somehow be made to fit the same man.

Prefiguring genius

A key part of the Oxfordian's theory is that the work which we know was circulated and published in his name, and is therefore indisputably his own, is compatible with the work of Shakespeare. It is essential to maintain this strand of argument as, however many aliases they create for the playwright, the two bodies of poetical work have to be made to fit the same man.

Were I any good as a poet. . .

Oxfordians accept the minute quantity of contemporary praise for Oxford’s literary efforts at face value and lionize him as a man of letters. In spite of some hilarious shortcomings as a versifier, many do not hesistate to describe him as the greatest court poet of his day, in an age where the bar has never been set higher. Yet the commentary on Oxford's poetical work least likely to be affected by issues of patronage comes from the renowned court poet Sir Philip Sydney. And it isn't complimentary at all.

To be or not to be Hamlet

Hamlet and Laertes in Ophelia's grave

At her funeral, Hamlet leaps into Ophelia’s grave to outdo the grief of her brother with his own: “I lou'd Ophelia; fortie thousand Brothers Could not (with all there quantitie of Loue) Make vp my summe.” The anger of the brother and the grief of the suitor square up to each other as the famous scene progresses, setting up the play’s climax perfectly, triggering a new decisiveness in Hamlet which is soon mirrored by Laertes' commitment to revenge his sister, leading to a duel in which they both die.

Peer to Peer

Venus Adonis frontispiece

A tricky one, this. Whatever you make of the plausibility of Oxford's reasons for not putting his name on the plays, his reasons for not putting his name on Venus and Adonis are completely unfathomable. The year 1593 would have been the perfect time for Oxford to launch himself as the greatest court poet of the age. It would have guaranteed him the favour of the monarch, to whom, as an Earl, he could have dedicated it. Had Venus and Adonis appeared under his name, it would have produced many of the rewards he seemed to be energetically seeking by other means.

Pages