Lord Willoughby, Oxford’s Brother-in-Law, at the Court of Denmark in Elsinore, the setting for “Hamlet” — Reason 74 why Edward de Vere was “Shakespeare”

“Travel up to Hamlet’s Castle in the city of Elsinore, where you will see the outer walls and towers of this historic fortress immortalized by Shakespeare…”

Castle Kronborg at Elsinore -- the setting for "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark"

Castle Kronborg at Elsinore — the setting for “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”

Tourists are encouraged to visit Castle Kronborg, known as Hamlet’s Castle, but the advertisers are not quite sure why “Shakespeare” chose Elsinore (as opposed to Copenhagen) as the setting for his great play about the Royal Court of Denmark.  Given the Stratfordian view, which dates the play’s composition circa 1600, they point to the Elsinore castle’s historical prominence because of its strategic location at Sound Oresund (three miles across from Sweden).  Whenever the tourism promoters decide that Hamlet was actually written by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, however, they will find a far more obvious and logical reason.

Peregrine Bertie Lord Willoughby 1555-1601

Peregrine Bertie
Lord Willoughby

In the summer of 1582, Queen Elizabeth sent Oxford’s brother-in-law Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby de Eresby, on a special mission to the Royal Court at Castle Kronborg in Elsinore.  Under the rule of King Frederick II, Denmark had become one of the great powers on the Continent and claimed the right to levy dues on all foreign merchant ships passing through its sea lanes.  Willoughby’s task was to invest Frederick as a Knight of the Garter while trying to persuade him that English ships trading with Russia should be free of molestation as they sailed through.

Willoughby remained at the Elsinore castle from July to September 1582, soaking up the atmosphere of the great fortification.  He and the king became great buddies during that time; and although the mission itself was not entirely successful, he wrote a colorful and detailed chronicle of it, circulated at the English Court and still preserved at the British Museum, entitled “Relation of my Lord Willoughby’s embassy into Denmark, in his own hand.”  In the account he described daily hunting expeditions and nightly revels with drinking bouts that prompted “many affectionate and loving speeches to Her Majesty and all of the Order,” adding that these grand toasts were “performed after a whole volley of all the great shot of the castle discharged, a royal feast, and a most artificial and cunning fireworks.”

Castle Kronborg

Castle Kronborg

Charlton Ogburn Jr. in The Mysterious William Shakespeare (1984) points to the January 1896 issue of Contemporary Review in which a scholar (Jan Steffanson) observed that the author of Hamlet manifests a “correct knowledge of Danish names, words, and customs of his time” along with “a local knowledge of the royal Castle of Elsinore, which he could not have derived from books.”  The dramatist shows a detailed knowledge of one particular room in the castle and a familiarity with the strictly Danish custom of drinking “cannon healths” by which the cannons are fired every time the king drinks:

King.  No jocund health that Denmark drinks today

But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell…

(A flourish of trumpets and ordnance shot off, within.)

Hamlet.  The king doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,

Keeps wassail and the swaggering up-spring reels;

And, as he drinks his draughts of Rhenish down,

The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out

The triumph of his pledge…

King.  Give me the cups;

And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,

The trumpet to the cannoneer without,

The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,

“Now the king drinks to Hamlet!”

Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby was married to Oxford’s sister Mary Vere.  At dinner Edward de Vere’s brother-in-law would have regaled them and other family members and friends with hilarious tales of King Frederick at the Court of Denmark in the castle at Elsinore.  And that would be just one reason why many Oxfordians have concluded that Edward de Vere wrote the first version of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark in 1583 or 1584, nearly two decades before the traditional dating of that great play, which he would have revised right up until his reported death on June 24, 1604.  It would also be another of these 100 reasons to conclude that Oxford was the great author who, in 1593, began to use the pen name William Shakespeare.

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://hankwhittemore.com/2013/08/18/lord-willoughby-oxfords-brother-in-law-at-the-court-of-denmark-in-elsinore-the-setting-for-hamlet-reason-74-why-edward-de-vere-was-shakespeare/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

33 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My God. How many things like this do you need to at least QUESTION how the author got his knowledge? How blind are the Strats?

  2. You know, Hank advancing in years as I am, there are two wonderful things that I would like to experience in life before I pop my clogs.
    The first is the proof of alien life and the second is undeniable proof that the 17th Earl of Oxford was truly, “Our beloved Shakey”.
    Now, there’s not a lot you can do about the first one, lol but hurry the second one on a bit ‘cos I don’t know how much time I have left!

    Tremendous good fortune on your efforts, Hank!

    Jim Foley (UK)

    • Thanks Jim hang in there:-)

      Sent from my iPhone

    • Jim
      If you give me your email I will share some things about the first. Not for public consumption. kenstory458@msn.com

      • Jim,
        Since you never emailed me I’ll ask two questions and leave it at that.

        !) Why must contact be physical? With the senses. What if its energetic and intuitive? Why must other sentient beings in this vast Universe conform to our extremely limited conceptions of what their life and being is like? What if their vibrational frequency is much higher than ours, their forms are primarily energetic, and their capacity for communication is virtually unlimited because their evolution is so beyond ours at this moment.

        2) What if its already happened and is happening now, continually as we speak? Through many vehicles. What if their energy, guidance and communication is visceral, tangible, and right on? And is immersed in the energy of love?

        You already are in an “out of the box” field in which the chief complaint is the ossification of conventional thinking. Will you now turn around and play the Strat role because another explanation comes from out of your box?

        I claim extremely strong first hand knowledge of this. Take it for what you will.

    • Hi Jim,

      we are busily working on the second one 🙂 A lot of red wine surely will help you to wait what you hope for 🙂

    • Jim, If you send your address to my email-address I’ll write to you, you won’t regret I promise. My address is:


      Waiting for your reply. Best regards.

  3. Whittemore, just adding, we have a record that Hamlet was performed somewhere in England in 1593 (I think in Oxford. I can’t show now the sources because I have little time right know but I may show you when I get the time I need), almost a decade after the original writting of the play, after Oxford’s brother-in-law came back from Denmark. And he wasn’t the only one to have came from Elsinore that knew and may have talked of that kingdom to Oxford: Rutland himself went to Denmark in 1603 and came back no longer after that. He was a close friend of Southampton and niece to the close and late friend of Oxford’s Edward Manners. Didn’t Oxford certainly rewrite and perfomed Hamlet in 1603, in the same year Rutland went and came to and from Denmark? He may have had news details from there that his brother-in-law didn’t give in 1582. Once again, a close relationship and influence between Oxford and Rutland does show… As the days pass, I’m getting quite convinced that Southampton wasn’t Oxford’s only son by the Queen…

    Great post, by the way 😛

    • Thanks … I am at a seminar so limited time but will bring up the topic! I agree Rutland is more in the picture than we have realized

      Sent from my iPhone

      • And he wasn’t there for Hamlet, he was too for Twelfth Night, that was performed in his Belvoir Castle. He assisted to some of Shakespeare’s plays to in Wilton House, in the same time Mary Sidney wrote “we have the man Shakespeare with us” (no, I don’t think she was refering to Rutland but if we take him as one of the co-authors of Shakespeare, this can be an evidence), and by the end of 1599, he and Southampton spent their time tougether in public theatre, when Shakespeare was getting even more famous with his plays. Rutland was always there, in the right time. We know well that Oxford wrote Shakespeare and being Rutland a close friend to his son, it was natural they knew each other. But as I already showed you, there are puns in the Sonnets that, following your logic that some words have double meaning, may suggest the triangle of Mother, Son and Father of Elizabeth, Southampton and Oxford wasn’t just a “love” triangule but more a square…

        And after all, isn’t curious Stratfordians’ claims of Shakespeare stop writting between 1604 (Oxford’s “death”) and 1612 (the year of Rutland’s and Trenhtam’s deaths)?

  4. Whittemore, I have a question: did Essex’s Rebellion started to be conspirated in the begining of 1590’s ? I was reading “Venus and Adonis”, once again, and I found the curious conceit of Jeously causing mutiny where Love reings. Could Jeously be a personification of Essex and this verses be an anticipation of Essex’s Rebellion, as well could have been Lucrece?

    • It could be, Francisco, but if so it was too early to foresee what would happen several years later.

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Maybe, and afterall, Robert Cecil, not William Cecil, was the team to beat, right? Cecil was so relevant in the begining of the 1590’s, as far as know, compared to his (foster) father Burghley. What else could jeously be tied with, if ever Venus and Adonis is written in the same double language of the Sonnets?

  5. Venus and Adonis is certainly written in a ‘double language’ like the Sonnets. Both are stylistic progressions from de Vere’s earlier Fidessa Sonnets (‘Fidessa: More Chaste Than Kinde’, B. Griffin, 1581). I’ve been working on an explication of V&A for several years; I expect they’ll make a blockbuster of it one day. Hank, I just finished reading your ‘The Rival Poet in Shake-speares Sonnets’ (William Boyle, editor). No question, you’re absolutely right; the rival is de Vere/Seymour’s ‘Vere-iation’ or altered identity… all very orderly… and confirmed on a number of occasions by the great man himself.

    • Hi Michael. I never heard of the possibility of Oxford’s authorship on Griffin’s sonnets, I’ve always taken Venus and Adonis and the Sonnets (at least, the 26, or 18) as stylistic progressions from Oxford as Marlowe to Shakespeare. This can be noted in the similarities between Hero and Leander and Venus and Adonis (actually, I believe H&L was written after V&N, somewhere between this one and Lucrece, but being too far “sexy”, if this is the correct word, to be published as Shakespeare, he later published it as Marlowe with the help of Chapman, that certainly knew Oxford’s secret authorships). And thank for giving me an aswer. If Venus and Adonis is written with the same language of the Sonnets, the only problem to solve is the meaning of Jeously, that I still don’t get it. Thank you anyway (and forgive my bad english 😛 )!

  6. Francisco,
    I think ‘iealousie’ is modernized as jealousy. In this instance the writer means: ‘fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions’.
    If I’m correct, and ‘love’ is a metonym for the weak affection between Elizabeth and the Earl of Leicester, we may understand that he is ‘fiercely possessive’ of his share in the material valuation of the English Crown. Note that ‘gentle love’ (l.653) identifies this ‘love’ as: ‘meek, bland’ (Schmidt). Therefore:

    For where Leicester reigns, tumultuous greed
    Doth call itself affections sentinel;
    Gives false alarms, suggests usurpation,
    And in peaceful times doth cry ‘Kill, kill!’

    Your difficulty points up problems for the non-native English reader. Semantical variety, or polysemy, can be very confusing, especially when the writer employs allegory. Shake-speare was a virtuoso with our language; when he composes in ‘counterpoint’, with multiple voices expressing two or three identities for a single character, it will leave everyone scratching their head; witness the various madmen in ‘Lear’.
    Secondly, Englishman are uncommonly fond of idiomatic phrasing.
    I have an interesting little book titled ‘Embarrassing Moments in Spanish’ by James N. Mosel. It describes just the sort of difficulties you appear to be having with English, but in the Spanish language. Since the Shake-speare Authorship Question involves re-interpreting much of his work with an eye to semantics, ambiguity, and idioms, you may have to rely on the efforts of native English speakers to discover the authors dissenting voice.

    I realized too late that I left the seminar with your copy of the essay on acrostics in Shake-speare. If you’d like it back, tell me where I can send it. Sorry.

    • Thanks Mike … Will email you soon … On cape cod for a week … Good discussion

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Thanks too, Mike. You’re right. That happens to everyone who is exploring a new language beyond of their native tongue. Yet, I can’t understand: why identifying Leicester with Love in Venus and Adonis?

  7. Francisco,
    Perfect question! Why identify Leicester with ‘love’?
    Shake-speare, naturally enough, followed a practice of his only true antecedent among English playwrights – John Lyly. This was to relate real individuals in the court of Queen Elizabeth with names from classical mythology or from history. De Vere, as both John Lyly and Shake-speare, was an existentialist; he interpreted his own life in terms of the great stories of antiquity.
    So Adonis becomes a metonym for de Vere as Venus for Elizabeth. Note that Elizabeth was fond of naming her court associates with pet names – these are metonyms – that form the historical justification for my analysis. A careful look at the poem reveals that their ‘love’ is not erotic but political. The language of love disguises a family squabble over the loss of the Tudor Monarchy to an insidious pair of opportunists. This pair seized on Elizabeth’s pregnancy by Thomas Seymour (1548) to assume effective control of church and state, and gather enormous wealth to themselves. They are William Cecil, under the metonym ‘Time’, and Robert Dudley as ‘quick (i.e. unstable) love’.
    At ll.37-42 we read that the ‘horse’ of state is fastened to the ‘ragged bough’; this signifies the ‘bear and ragged staff’ of the Dudley family. The rider (l.40) is the ‘Wonder’ (l.13, wordplay: ‘first’ among Tudor) child – Edward de Vere – who is likewise tied to Dudley.
    Claire Asquith described all Shake-speare as an extended pun. She’s not far off. Here is de Vere’s process in a nutshell:
    – Characterize an event from life as a retelling of myth or history.
    – Bend the narrative to fit the facts.
    – Use linguistic phenomena, particularly polysemy and amphiboly to make what is literal and true appear fanciful.
    I hate to reduce the ‘Vere-iety’ of Vere’s rhetorical devices to so few words. I have a web-site that shows my notes and conclusions on ‘Venus and Adonis’, as well as other of Shake-speare’s works: devereshakespeare.wordpress.com

    • I’ve been reading a little of what you wrote, Michael . It’s seems to make sense. Yet, I have read Venus and Adonis and Hero and Leander and the style and glossary it’s preety much similar and you commented above you dated Venus and Adonis to 1581. I have nothing against it but I believe Oxford made a transgression of his poetic style from Marlowe to Shakespeare, and it’s probable that Hero and Leander and Venus and Adonis (at least, some of the first stanzas) may have been writting in the same, with the intention of being both published has by Marlowe. With the front man’ s death, Oxford must have changed the game and Venus and Adonis was published as by Shakespeare and Oxford’s plays writting as Marlowe were published has anonymous and later as Shakespeare. That’s my idea. Let’s see if there is some way to reconcilie the Sonnets language with Hero and Leander, which cleary wasn’t about Oxford-Elizabeth.

      At the same time, I’m curious: what the relationship between Fidesse and Venus and Adonis or Shakespeare or Oxford?

  8. Francisco,
    You’re right. There are similarities between Marlowe’s H&L and ‘Shake-speare’s V&A. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn they are by the same author; however, I am not able to pull from H&L the sort of self-referencing narrative characteristic of de Vere.
    Stylistic analysis can only go so far, but the chief difference between the two is that V&A is rich in a vocabulary that is semantically ambiguous. De Vere uses words that lend themselves to allegory, or purposed literary deception. If you have time, please visit my web-site and read ‘V&A Pdf Surname Fragments’; these are the odd constructions that ‘authorize’ the works of de Vere. They include wordplay on E. Vere, Tudor, Seymour, Richmond, Woodstock, and Beaufort. I posit that if these are absent, the work is not by de Vere.
    Also, take a look at ‘Three Sons pdf 4:7:13’ that examples what Marjorie Garber terms Shakespeare’s use of syllogisms. These are lengthy expositions in the form of riddles… very challenging.
    ‘Shake-speare’ did make a remarkable transition from the rigidly stylized Euphuist rhetoric of John Lyly to the ‘plain’ and more naturally written tragedies… from Love’s Labours Lost to, say, Coriolanus. If I had to compare Marlowe’s style, I would note his ‘studied’ classicism – not a bad thing, but without the free inventiveness of de Vere.
    I would suggest that ‘Venus and Adonis’ was probably written close to it’s year of publication – 1593. There is the problem of references to Robert Dudley who died in 1588; but the Dudley family patrimony – the partial control of the English Monarchy – lived on in Robert Devereux.
    Likewise, references to de Vere’s worsening relationship with the Cecil family, as Robert Cecil took over many of his father’s responsibilities, suggest the early 1590’s. It was the ‘Fidessa Sonnets’ that were written during de Vere’s incarceration of March to June 1581.
    There is no question that V&A is authentic autobiography. It ‘neatly’ covers the life of Tudor-Seymour, or de Vere, from 1548 to the maturity of Henry Wriothesley. I’ll take another look at H&L to see if there is some reference to de Vere’s life that has eluded me.
    I suppose we shouldn’t entirely neglect the possibility that Marlowe is co-author, or front-man for the Earl of Derby, another known playwright who has been left without portfolio.

    • One piece of strong evidence that rules out Marlowe-Shakespeare as the same on any level is preferred Bible verses. Because Shakespeare was so prolific (over 2000) in references to specific Bible verses in his work, Stritmatter compared what he called “preferred verses”, ones that I think were used 3 times or more as an authorial “fingerprint” between Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Bacon. The differences were striking in what each author leaned toward. There was very little overlap.

      On a radio show, a Marlowe as Shakespeare proponent dropped his claim immediately when confronted with the specificity of this evidence.

      I am personally very uncomfortable in the tendency to attribute a wide range of authorship to Devere to other writers. I think Lyly was influenced heavily by Devere. I’m not sure Devere wrote all of Lyly. I think Marlowe may have been influenced by Devere. I absolutely do not think Marlowe and Shakespeare were the same writer.

      Stephanie Hughes does this with Robert Greene.
      I like to very careful. Extravagant claims weaken our position.

      • Ken, when I mentioned Oxford as Marlowe I have my reasons. We have from similar quotes between Oxford as Shakespeare and as Marlowe to Oxford’s biography in Marlowe’s plays, for example: “Dido” can be Oxford’s affair with the Queen. And Mena made a strong case for Oxford as Marlowe in his Donne-Nashe-Spenser theory. After reading you, I may make a review of my theory of Oxford as Marlowe.

        Robert Greene and Thomas Watson were cleary pen names to Oxford, and John Lyly is a strong candidate to his pen names. Once again, “Endymion, the man in the moon” seems to reflect the love
        triangule of Oxford-Elizabeth-Anne Cecil.

        If there is something in Marlowe Oxford may have written is Hero and Leander, and Hughes made a good case too for this authorship. Let’s see what we can take with all this stuff 🙂

    • Michael, I’ve been reading some of pdf and I love what I’m reading. It makes sense, yet, I must read some more, because I’ve been involved with other themes very different from that of the Authorship. When to Marlowe, at least I found similarities between his affair with Elizabeth in “Dido”, which could have influence too “Antony and Cleópatra” (with the same theme) and poems like “Come live with me and be my love” as directed to Elizabeth Trentham and therefore dated back to 1590-1591.

      When to Hero and Leander, I found difficulty to find any biographic references to Oxford. Actually, I believe Southampton and Trentham had an affair that inspire Willobie his Avisa and maybe H&L, at least, the young androgynous boy Leander who rejects love and later falls in love and try to seduce the fair and chaste priestess of Venus, Hero, who can’t have a relationship with him because of her vow, remember me of the long-haired and love lacking Southampton and the chaste piestress of Venus remember me Trentham in her years of Maid of Honour of Elizabeth. Yet, I’ve found no possible clue of a marriage of Hero with another man, and in the Sonnets, Oxford always says he and his son are one and the same, even before those who were written during 1601-1603 (Sonnet 22), so, maybe there is some way to conciliate the androgynous boy with Oxford and the piestress with Vavasour.

      Well, let me read a little more of your essay and then maybe I may try to found something in Hero and Leander

  9. Ken and Francisco,
    The work of Stritmatter is strong evidence against Marlowe-as-Shake-speare; and I confess, I too am a little mystified by the ‘Hydra Heads’ of de Vere authorship. Yet Marlowe is magnificent. He’s a meteor – a Renaissance Percy Shelley – unless he’s a ‘front’. Any intrigue or connection that sends us back to him for another read won’t cause lasting harm.
    I think there’s only one clear path through this Oxfordian morass. We must integrate the de Vere and Tudor-Seymour analyses. The Shake-speare canon consistently reveals an author of several identities. He knows and repeatedly tells us he is the ‘tender boy’ (bois), ‘Mollis Aer’, or ‘Tender Ayre’; he is the proferred heir, heir currency, and current heir. Though he be a bastard, he is the only direct descendent of the Tudor Monarchy. Review Venus & Adonis ll.91-114: Adonis is obviously the ‘not ever’/never/(Ever) “passenger in Sommer’s heat”/Seymour’s lust; and Thomas Seymour must surely be the “direful god of war” who’s “stronger strength” and “sinewy neck” “obeyed” “stronger-tempered steel”. If you pay very close attention, you’ll see V&A is a ‘perfect’ allegory. The erotic subtext transposes word for word with an historic ‘supra-text’. This is the “hidden treasure de Vere begs us to look for at V&A ll.767-8:

    “Foul cankering rust the hidden treasure frets,
    But gold that’s put to use more gold begets”

    Rephrase the second line polysemically (polysemantically?):

    “But ‘ore’ that’s put ‘Tu’ use ‘mour’ ‘d’or’ begets”

    There’s two d’or/Tud’or there; and scores more of Tudor-Seymour ‘signatures’ throughout the canon. They are indeed treasures and it’s always a thrill to find a new one.
    He does the same thing with ever/never. E. Vere is the writer’s source – his Spring, well, ring, etc. This is his title. This is where his (tailed) estate descends from; but it is also the malignancy – the Boar – that will kill his true self.
    Finally, there are the noms de plume who warrant casual acknowledgment in the works. Perhaps the emphasis on ‘Will’ really does refer to his Shake-speare pseudonym – time will tell.
    So there are three identities in ‘One being’ – each one exclusive of the others. I think this is a very agreeable idea and certainly modern! Perhaps we still have not taken Heminge & Condell’s (1623) admonition to heart:

    “Reade him… it then you doe not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger not to understand him.”

  10. Ken and Francisco (cont.)
    As apologists for Shake-speare, we have a single purpose – to explain his words and method. The Oxfordian Cause is crippled, not by internal disagreement, but by having no product to sell; and the only product worth our trouble is explanation. We must do what the Orthodoxy cannot. Every Stratfordian thinks they know Hamlet, Lear, and Othello, but can they interpret the minor characters? the fools? the madmen? In the utterances of fools is the confirmation of a combined de Vere/Tudor-Seymour theory. Our greatest success would be to dissect the works syllable by syllable, and deliver that product to the high school and college student.
    Hamlet pleads that his words “tell my story”. Horatio is de Vere’s conflation of (Latin) oratio and hortatio: language and exhortation. He did not ask of his audience to become amateur sleuths and ‘gum shoes’; he asked that we learn to read him aright. De Vere took great pains to develop a consistent method of expressing himself so that “All” of his life might be understood.

    Why do I think de Vere is a least the primary author of John Lyly? See Venus and Adonis ll. 226-31:

    She would, he will not in her arms be bound;
    And when from thence he struggles to be gone,
    She locks her lily fingers one in one.

    “Fondling,” she saith, “since I have hemmed thee here
    Within the circuit of this ivory pale,
    I’ll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer;”

    Tudor-Seymour/de Vere is subsumed in Lyly ‘thieves’, ‘One’ (the ‘Prince’) within another. Lyly, a paid informant or communicant of Wm. Cecil, lodged in de Vere’s Savoy apartments and ‘managed’ his theatre companies; he is well placed as his ‘shadow’. This passage introduces the critical ‘Deer Park’ section of V&A (ll. 231-50), in which Seymour/Vere/Adonis is confined within a ‘Royal Park’ and Forest Law. There he finds ‘protection’ for the “venison (Venus Son) and the vert (Ver)”. This autobiographical ‘Super-theme’ continues to the fatal ‘kiss’ of ‘the Boar’ and Tudor-Seymour’s rebirth in his first son.

    • I initially though Lyly as Oxford’s pen-name because some of Lyly’s plays reflects Oxford’s biography (“Sapho” seems to reflect Oxford’s affair with Elizabeth, as well as “Endymion” the love triangule of Oxford-Elizabeth-Anne Cecil) and some of Lyly’s influence in Shakespeare. The same to Marlowe. But maybe I need to make a review of this two’s authorship. Hughes thinks Marlowe was a literary pupil of Oxford and Walsingham and Lyly Bacon’s pen-name. Maybe I sould read again about this. Your essays, Michael, seems to be very logical and to contain some of the keys we need to the Authorship. I really need to review all this again…

  11. I’m new to this – and working through Gontar’s “Hamlet Made Simple”. But i have to wonder about the last bit of the essay:

    “… began to use the pen name William Shakespeare.”

    Why would de Vere use the pen name of another man? The only reasonable explanation for that would be that there was, in fact, nobody around named Wm Shakespeare. But the birth records say there was.

    • There are many theories, nothing absolutely conclusive. Some feel as in this fine essay from Stephanie Hughes here


      that a deal was struck early on. Others believe the deal was struck later. Harvey in a quote about Oxford very early said ““Thy countenance shakes a spear!”
      (Hank’s essay)


      What intrigues me about a potential front who is a real man is the mysterious life and shadowy nature of William of Stratford. He became very wealthy in his life. How? Writers who author two plays a year for 8 lbs a play don’t buy one of the best houses in town for 40 lbs by 1597.

      Green’s Groatsworth gives us a clue in the character of Roberto who cuts and patches plays and is a play broker and money man, a small time financier who may have later parlayed his abilities into bigger things.

      One truly intriguing thing is As You Like It Act V scene I where William of the forest makes his only appearance and is confronted by the courtier clown Touchstone over the contention for Audrey’s hand.

      A brilliant essay is on this is here by Alex McNeil


      It has always seemed peculiar that the author escaped persecution for seditious material, especially the savage satirizing of Burghley in Hamlet and the involvement of his play Richard II in the Essex rebellion.

      Why did the actors believe the works came to them polished, “never blotting a line”? We know that’s not true. We know the author revised his plays.

      So many inconsistencies. So any questions.

      This is a huge issue that has no easy answer. But I hope I have given you resources to start and understand why it could have evolved that way and why.

  12. Constans(?) and Ken,
    I would add that Wm. Shake-speare and John Lyly are the only pen names that de Vere acknowledges in the canon; here is another quote from Venus and Adonis that admits of his being subsumed in the name of Lyly:

    Full gently now she takes him (Adonis) by the hand,
    A lily prison’d in a gaol of snow,
    Or ivory in an alabaster band;
    So white a friend engirts so white a foe:
    This beauteous combat, wilful and unwilling,
    Show’d like two silver doves that sit a billing. (361-4)

    This indicates that he did not publish under his own name from 1578. This is easily explained. Since de Vere’s unique complaint is that he is by birth Edward Tudor-Seymour, he ‘will not’ use the de Vere name:

    ‘I know not love’ quoth he, ‘nor will not know it,
    Unless it be a Boare, and then I chase it;
    Tis much to borrow, and I will not owe it; (409-11)

    “Tis too much to borrow (Boar-O)” (V&A l.411); and he ‘shall not’ use the name Tudor-Seymour by command of either the Queen or the ‘Protectorate’ of Cecil/Dudley.
    ‘Constans’ is correct that this presumes the content of the works has not been fully understood; otherwise Shaksper would quickly find himself under intense scrutiny. The man Shaksper must therefore have been unquestionably the ‘wrong man’; that is, he was a known entity who no one could mistake for the learned author.
    There is good evidence that informants reported to Cecil on the suspicious nature of ‘red & white’ metonymy in V&A. It is also likely that Cecil and his ‘censors’ understood some of the obfuscated language of ‘Shake-speare’, but did not think it powerful enough to be a political threat… that de Vere was a harmless, de-fanged ‘never serpent’ (17) in their midst, and that he enjoyed some protection by his mother.
    If you followed my notes to Francisco Martins above, you’ll know that de Vere believed he had left nothing to chance. Through metonymy, amphiboly, and ‘context shift’, he thought he had expressed himself clearly.

  13. Yet another question: I remember reading that Shakespeare had a variety of signatures – many of which seem to have survived. Is this the mark of someone who wasn’t quite comfortable with spelling, or of a creative genius throwing accepted forms to the winds?

  14. […] This article explains it much better. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: