Monday, April 30, 2007

PLAYERS - The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare - BOOK REVIEW

Work in Progress Blog is watching In Search of Shakspeare on PBS. I havent seen this series yet - mainly because I do not have time or the inclination to sit down and watch TV. The WIP Blog mentions that much of the TV program is based on probablities, possiblities and assumptions.

I am finding that all the books about Shakespeare are written in the same way. Right now I have just finished reading Players by Bertram Fields, who is a Lawyer. Fields is writing from a lawyers point of view and uses ONLY the evidence. And he says the evidence seems to point to there being two men. Shakespeare the playwright, and the Stratford man or the man from Stratford.

He uses phrases such as "this story does not fit the evidence", "we cannot assume", "we do not know the source", "William may have done this", "dates of performance are not conclusive", "we cannot draw any firm conclusion" and so on.

It does get somewhat tedious in having Fields mention the "proof" in each chapter, and then stating all the evidence that indicates why it is not the Stratford man, which means each chapter ends up with no proof.

By the end of the book Fields can only conclude that there were at least 2 men involved, possibly more, with the Stratford men as a front. However he cannot name the playright with any certainty. Fields does admit that in his opinion, the real Shakespeare is Oxford, and Oxford's son-in-law Stanley who continued the charade after Oxford died in 1604.

The evidence does seem to fit.

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