Monday, August 11, 2014

Did Derek Jacobi write Shakespeare?

I don’t actually much care who wrote Shakespeare’s plays – just love and revere him, whoever he is. But I have to say I think the case against Shakespeare the actor is weaker than the case against any alternative so far suggested by Sir Derek and the other sceptics. Apart from the much-touted arguments against him, is it credible that the company at the Globe and elsewhere could have rehearsed and performed the plays and been deceived into believing their colleague wrote them when he didn’t? Wouldn't he have been consulted about the meaning of this line or that, about stage ‘business’, about the meaning of one of the words he invented? If he wasn’t the author, wouldn’t it have been a case of ‘Bill? - thick as three planks – he couldn’t possibly have written Hamlet. He’s having us on.’? Wouldn’t someone have mentioned that the scripts kept arriving in a plain brown envelope with nobody’s name on it? Instead of which the members of the company – and his writer colleagues and friends Chris Marlowe and Ben Jonson and the rest – were desolated when he died, celebrated him as a great writer, and two of them actually worked on producing his Collected Plays.
No, I think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, and none of the alternatives convince.

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