Reason 49 to Conclude that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford was “Shakespeare”: His Pervasive Presence in the Plays

This reason to believe Edward de Vere was “Shakespeare” follows from the previous one, about the pervasive presence of Queen Elizabeth in the plays.  The focus now is on the pervasive presence of the author himself.   The material here does not prove that the Earl of Oxford wrote these works, but it does add to the overwhelming evidence that he did.   A continued gaze through an Oxfordian lens brings a completely different picture into focus, one that feels like truth.

In a debate in New York City a Stratfordian opponent complained that I was trying to “take away” his personal conception of Hamlet, by suggesting the Prince is a mirror reflection of Oxford.  I replied that it’s the other way around, that knowing who created Hamlet can only enhance our appreciation in every way.  It certainly can’t detract from it!

Hamlet the character is not strictly autobiographical.  That idea is foolish on its face.  The author used various pieces of his own nature and experiences in life and grafted them onto various outside elements including classical sources, some of which served as templates.  The mirror image is not literal.  After mixing all the elements, he breathed life into a new creature of his imagination.  It’s no wonder Hamlet seems to be as alive, even more alive, than anyone in real life.

Here, again, the topic is quantity.  Aspects of Oxford’s own personality and life make their appearances in play after play, in the form of characters who reveal themselves as creations of the artist Edward de Vere.

In some cases Oxford apparently splits himself into two separate characters embodying opposite sides of his own nature, such as Valentine and Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.  Valentine is virtuous and endowed with noble qualities, while Proteus is viewed as “perjured, false and disloyal,” according to Silvia [Elizabeth].   In fact the Queen of England held both views of the Earl of Oxford, who, as a truth-teller, freely expresses his divided nature.

Another instance of splitting himself into two characters can be seen in his portraits in Measure for Measure of the noble and kind Duke versus the less-than-virtuous Angelo; and in As You Like It we can see Oxford expressing the melancholy side of his nature through Jacques, while Touchstone the former courtier is the poet who plays the fool with a scathing wit as well as a profound wisdom:  “When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a man’s good wit seconded with the forward child Understanding, it strikes a man more dead that a great reckoning in a little room.”

Here’s just a partial list of characters that seem, in various ways, to reflect Edward de Vere:

  1. Angelo …………………………… Measure for Measure
  2. Antonio …………………………. The Merchant of Venice
  3. Benedick ……………………….. Much Ado About Nothing
  4. Berowne ……………………….. Love’s Labours Lost 
  5. Bertram …………………………. All’s Well That Ends Well
  6. Duke ………………………………. Measure for Measure
  7. Philip the Bastard …………… King John
  8. Fenton …………………………….The Merry Wives of Windsor
  9. Feste the Clown ………………. Twelfth Night
  10. Hamlet ……………………………. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  11. Jacques …………………………… As You Like It
  12. King Lear …………………………. King Lear
  13. Othello ……………………………. Othello
  14. Pericles ……………………………. Pericles
  15. Posthumous ……………………. Cymbeline
  16. Prospero …………………………. The Tempest
  17. Proteus ……………………………. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  18. Romeo …………………………….. Romeo and Juliet
  19. Timon ………………………………. Timon of Athens
  20. Troilus ……………………………… Troilus and Cressida
  21. Valentine …………………………. The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Philip the Bastard or Faulconbridge in King John offers a terrific view of Edward de Vere as a high-spirited young courtier, full of merry mischief and zeal for military combat and glory.  Although King John is a play of royal history, Philip is the author’s own creation.  Oxford [who had been called a bastard when he was thirteen] would have relished the chance to let his Bastard dominate the play and even conclude it with nationalistic gusto:

This England never did, nor never shall,

Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,

But when it first did help to wound itself.

Now these her princes are come home again,

Come the three corners of the world in arms,

And we shall shock them.  Nought shall make us rue,

If England to itself do rest but true.

That word “true” is often a tipoff that Oxford, whose motto was Nothing Truer than Truth, is representing some aspect of himself through the character.  “But I hope truth is subject to no prescription,” he wrote to Robert Cecil, “for truth is truth, though never so old” – and consider, for example, this speech by Troilus:

True swains in love shall in the world to come

Approve their truths by Troilus: when their rhymes,

Full of protest, of oath and big compare,

Want similes, truth tired with iteration,

As true as steel, as plantage to the moon,

As sun to day, as turtle to her mate,

As iron to adamant, as earth to the center,

Yet, after all comparisons of truth,

As truth’s authentic author to be cited,

“As true as Troilus” shall crown up the verse,

And sanctify the numbers.

[The “numbers” are verses, as in Sonnet 17:  “If I could write the beauty of your eyes,/ And in fresh numbers number all your graces.”]

By bringing plays to the royal court, Oxford played the part of the Jester.  Olivia [Elizabeth] in Twelfth Night calls Feste [Oxford] a clown or “fool” who is “allowed” to run off at the mouth and make sport of others:  “There is no slander in an allowed fool, though he do nothing but rail” — the Queen’s personal playwright can scold or rant all he wants.  So long as she shields him with the royal protection, no one dares to accuse him of slander.

Imagine the ticket she gave him to use his powers, as a master of hilarious, merciless satire, to aim at those who deserved the roasting!

This single Reason to believe that Oxford was “Shakespeare” could fill up a thousand pages, so I’ll stop right here and conclude with this thought:  A few characters resembling aspects of Edward de Vere might be deemed a coincidence, but the sheer quantity of them indicates that much more is at work.


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