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The case for Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon wrote the works associated with the Bard.

Context

In 1867, the discovery of a stash of Francis Bacon’s personal essays and writing led to theories that the philosopher, author, scientist and historian may have been the real writer of the Bard’s masterpieces.[1]

The Argument

The Similarities in Their Writing Shakespeare’s iconic wordplay and distinct writing style are also present in many of Francis Bacon’s personal writing. Similar words also appear in the two men’s texts. Bacon’s social standing would have prevented him from associating with the theatre, which was associated with the lower classes in Elizabethan England. Had he used his name; his reputation would be severely damaged. This, proponents argued, would prompt him to use a front person. Someone who might be willing to put his name to the work in exchange for money. Coded References There are also coded references to Bacon’s authorship of Shakespeare’s works among their contemporaries. For example, Ben Jonson, who was Francis Bacon’s stenographer and Latin interpreter and had his first play produced by William Shakespeare, referred to the two men in near identical terms. He said of Bacon: “hath filled up all the numbers and performed that in our tongue which may be compared or preferred either to insolent Greece and haughty Rome so that he may be named, and stand as the mark and acme of our language.” In a tribute to Shakespeare published in the First Folio, he later said the Bard was as good as “all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome” produced. In 1626, following Bacon’s death, 32 contemporary writers and ecclesiastical figures wrote eulogies. Many contain phrases and analogies that also appeared in eulogies for Shakespeare. An inscription placed on Shakespeare’s monument in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, which was written around 1620, likens Shakespeare to both the statesman Nastor, Socrates and Vergil. This description is far more fitting of Bacon than Shakespeare.[2] Gray's Inn Law School The first known performance of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors took place on December 28, 1594, for Gray's Inn Law School. On the same day, Shakespeare and his company were performing in front of the Queen in Greenwich. This seems odd for the first performance of his play.[3] There is also a link to Francis Bacon and Gray's Inn. Documentation from 1613 asserts that Francis Bacon was in charge of the performances for Gray's Inn player.

Counter arguments

He Wouldn't Have Had the Time Proponents of the Baconian theory of authorship assume that Francis Bacon had the time to write the volumes of Shakespeare. He would have been far too busy in his work to pen the works attributed to Shakespeare. He Was No Poet Even a quick glance at Bacon's attempts to write poetry reveals the folly in believing he was the author of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. While he could write prose and philosophical texts, his poetry was very weak and does not hold up in comparison to Shakespeare's sonnets.[4] Shakespeare's Mistakes There are several anatomical and scientific mistakes in Shakespeare's plays that Francis Bacon would not have made. Bacon was a learned scientist and would have understood the prevailing theories of science at the time. For example, in a Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare mentions, "certain stars shot madly from their spheres." At the time, it was believed that only other planets, the sun and the moon were part of different spheres. The stars were believed to inhabit the same sphere as the earth. Bacon would have understood this and not made this error.[5] Coded References With a body of work as large as Shakespeare's, it is easy to fabricate and extrapolate any code of your choosing. When Baconians speak of hidden similarities and numerical cyphers, it says nothing more than with a sufficiently large body of work, it is possible to find a "code" or cypher that gives the desired yield.[6]

Premises

[P1] Bacon's writing style is strikingly similar to Shakespeare's. [P2] There are also hints in contemporary writing that the two were the same person. [P3] Therefore, Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Bacon's poetry was nothing like Shakespeare's. [Rejecting P2] There are hints in the texts that show someone of Bacon's scientific prowess did not write the plays. [Rejecting P3] They were not the same person.

References

  1. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/playwrights/shakespeare-the-conspiracy-theories/
  2. http://www.shakespeareanauthorshiptrust.org.uk/pages/candidates/baconhs.htm
  3. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A33253.0001.001?view=toc
  4. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Genius_of_Shakespeare.html?id=izwrAQAAIAAJ
  5. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/68801.The_Left_Hand_of_the_Electron
  6. https://skepticalinquirer.org/2011/11/did_shakespeare_write_shakespeare_much_ado_about_nothing/?%2Fsi%2Fshow%2Fdid_shakespeare_write_shakespeare_much_ado_about_nothing

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 1 Jun 2019 at 16:40 UTC