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July 9, 2024 63 mins

Playwright William Shakespeare is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential writers in the English language, and his plays have been read or performed millions of times around the world. He was also quite prolific: Between about 1590 and 1613, Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays and collaborated on several more. Yet for more than a century various researchers known collectively as anti-Stratfordians have argued that Shakespeare didn't actually write some -- or all -- of his work.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hey, did you guys ever hear about this Willy shakes dude.

Speaker 2 (00:04):
Kind of a big deal. They teach him in high school,
so you know he's important.

Speaker 3 (00:09):
Willy triple shake, that's what I remember of him, The
old triple shaky because it's so big, you gotta shake
it three times.

Speaker 2 (00:18):
Old two hand Shakespeare.

Speaker 3 (00:20):
You don't want to get anything on the pantaloons, right right.

Speaker 1 (00:24):
The playwright William Shakespeare is sort of famous in English
because he is considered to be one of the most
influential authors in human history. He's also cartoonishly prolific. Between
about fifteen ninety and sixteen thirteen, he wrote something like

(00:49):
thirty seven different plays or was it Francis Bacon or
was it a brand name?

Speaker 4 (00:59):
Right?

Speaker 1 (01:00):
The same way that you know, you go into an
airport and you will see paperbacks written by purportedly the
same author.

Speaker 3 (01:10):
Oh wait, are we talking about Bill Shakespeare?

Speaker 2 (01:12):
Oh? You know Bill, Billy, Billy Willy.

Speaker 5 (01:15):
You know what is that from?

Speaker 3 (01:17):
What's that from? He's a regular Bill Shakespeare. That's like
a line that's in my head.

Speaker 4 (01:21):
Sounds like some Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler comedy basically
invented comedy too by the way well Billy shakes.

Speaker 1 (01:30):
Yeah, I guess I always thought that the first human
who invented comedy was the person in a survival situation
who lived when someone.

Speaker 3 (01:41):
Else died Seinfeld, Right.

Speaker 1 (01:45):
So we are thrilled to introduce you to a group
of what we will call renegade academics. Their street name
is anti Stratfordians. Their idea is that the storyory of
William Shakespeare himself is just.

Speaker 2 (02:03):
That, a story, a narrative. What part of it is true?

Speaker 6 (02:10):
From UFOs to psychic powers and government conspiracies, history is
riddled with unexplained events. You can turn back now or
learn the stuff they don't want you to know.

Speaker 3 (02:34):
Hello, welcome back to the show. My name is Matt.

Speaker 1 (02:36):
Our friend Noel is on some adventures.

Speaker 2 (02:38):
As we record today, they.

Speaker 1 (02:40):
Call me Ben. We are joined with our guest super
producer Ramsey Ramjams junt so say hello to him when
you get the chance. Most importantly, let's.

Speaker 3 (02:51):
Talk about you.

Speaker 2 (02:52):
You are here.

Speaker 1 (02:53):
You are you that makes this stuff they don't want
you to know.

Speaker 3 (02:56):
I really thought he was talking about me that time,
because he looked right at me when he.

Speaker 1 (02:59):
Said the show, the show would be nothing without you
met as numerous Apple Music or Apple Podcast reviews have assured.

Speaker 3 (03:09):
Us, Oh really, well, I don't know if that's true,
but I agree with it. Well, you know what, none
of us would be who we are today if we
didn't have a certain playwright, a man that we all
call back to, that we all imagine as perhaps the
father of.

Speaker 2 (03:25):
Plays, the father of plays.

Speaker 3 (03:28):
At least when I was growing up, I always imagine
him as like the play, the one from which all
other plays that I was reading kind of sprung from,
or at least we're heavily influenced by.

Speaker 2 (03:40):
He's the most well known. That's a fact.

Speaker 1 (03:44):
We are talking, fellow conspiracy realist about Shakespeare. William Shakespeare
from Stratford on Avon. Do you did you ever act
in Shakespearean production?

Speaker 3 (03:55):
I was never in a full on production. I have
did many a scene. Yes, My favorite, I would have
to say, came from the Tempest, and it included just
a line that has really influenced my whole life. I think,
what is it? I might paraphrase here, but it is
Hell is empty and all the devils are here, or

(04:16):
something to this effect, because all the devil's here. I
don't remember exactly his language.

Speaker 1 (04:20):
But I know the paraphrase. The paraphrase is enough to
convince the least take us to that line.

Speaker 2 (04:27):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (04:27):
I did some Shakespeare's stuff as well in high school
and early college, I believe. But past is a watercolor
in the rain, you know, things blur. I'm still pretty
sure it happened today. Playwright William Shakespeare is widely acknowledged
as one of, if not the most influential writers in

(04:48):
the English language. His plays have been read or performed,
whether in part or a whole, numerous points millions of
times across the planet over centuries. Yeah, people are reading this,
they're performing parts of it, they're performing entire productions. Here
in Atlanta, where this podcast is based, there's the Shakespeare Tavern,

(05:09):
which we can mention a little bit later. I just
want to drop that seed here. Shakespeare was also quite prolific.
Between about fifteen ninety and sixteen thirteen. Uh, he wrote
at least thirty seven plays, collaborated on several more.

Speaker 2 (05:25):
But who was this man? Who was Willie Shakes? Really?

Speaker 3 (05:32):
No, we're just gonna go ahead and push this little button.
That's I don't know who left this button here, But
let's just let's present and see what happens.

Speaker 5 (05:39):
Hey, guys, I heard you were asking who Shakespeare was.

Speaker 2 (05:43):
Whoa Jonathan Strickland.

Speaker 3 (05:44):
Hi, that's what the button was.

Speaker 2 (05:47):
Yeah, it's labeled Strickland.

Speaker 5 (05:50):
Yeah. Yeah, you know, marked out Quister because this is
the same show, the same show as that.

Speaker 2 (05:55):
That's true.

Speaker 5 (05:55):
Yeah, yeah, So.

Speaker 7 (05:58):
I actually have the honor maybe honor is too strong
a word to be playing William Shakespeare at the twenty
nineteen Georgia Renaissance Festival. So, as you might imagine, I
have done my fair share of research into this subject,
and there's a lot of stuff I could tell you,
but I feel like to really get a grasp on

(06:18):
why William Shakespeare is this person we still talk about
four hundred years after he last wrote anything. I want
to recite to you one of the most famous speeches
from Shakespeare. And there's tons right, there's to be or
not to be. There's two two solid flesh. Those are
two speeches about suicide from the same play. He has

(06:40):
a famous Shakespeare's But no, I'm going to recite to
you one of my favorite speeches in all of Shakespeare's
from the History of Henry the Fifth, and it's called
the Crispins Day speech, and this is to set the scene.
The English army is in France. They are outnumbered five
to one. They have been spending the entire previous day marching,

(07:02):
so they're exhausted, whereas the French troops are fresh, And
just as the lords of England are are looking out
and they're feeling a sense of dread. They're talking with
one another about what is to come. And one of them, Westmoreland,
says that he wishes that just ten thousand more Englishmen,

(07:23):
who are otherwise laying in bed back in England had
joined them. And the king happens to overhear him. And
so is that's to set the scene. Here's the speech.

Speaker 1 (07:32):
Oh Paul, could Paul Ramsey? Could we get maybe a
nice sound design.

Speaker 3 (07:39):
Some rousing music?

Speaker 5 (07:40):
Yeah? What's he that wishes?

Speaker 7 (07:42):
So, my cousin Westmoreland, No, my fair cousin, if we
are mocked to die, we are enough to do our
country loss.

Speaker 8 (07:54):
And if to live the few of the men the
greater share of our honor God's will, I pray THEE
wish not one man more.

Speaker 5 (08:05):
By Jove. I am not covetous for gold, nor care
I who doth feed.

Speaker 7 (08:10):
Upon my cost It earns me. Not if men my
garments wear such outward things, dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honor, I
am the most offending soul alive. Now faith my cous
wish not a man from England God's peace. I would

(08:32):
not lose so great an honor as one man, more, methinks,
would share for me. For the best hope I have, Oh,
do not wish for one more. Rather proclaim it westmelit
through my host, that he which hath no stomach to
this fight, Let him depart. His passport shall be made,

(08:55):
and crowns for convoy put into his purse. We would
not die in that man's company that fears his fellowship
to die with us. This day is called the Feast
of Chrispian. He that outlives this day and comes safe home,
will stand a tiptoe when this day is named, and

(09:18):
rouse him at the name of Chrispian. He that shall
live this day and see old age, will yearly on
the vigil feast his neighbors and say tomorrow is Saint Chrispian.
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
and say, these wounds I had on Chrispian's day, old

(09:44):
men forget, yet all shall be forgot, but he'll remember
with advantages.

Speaker 5 (09:51):
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
familiar in his mouth as household words, Harry the King,
Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester be
in their flowing cups freshly remembered this story shall the
good man teach his son and Crispin Crispians shall ne'er

(10:16):
go by from this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered.

Speaker 3 (10:24):
We few, we happy, few, we.

Speaker 5 (10:29):
Band of brothers.

Speaker 4 (10:31):
For he today that sheds his blood with me shall
be my brother. Be he ne'er so vile this day
shall gentle his condition. And gentlemen in England now a bed.

Speaker 8 (10:42):
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold
their manhoods cheap.

Speaker 5 (10:49):
Whilst any speaks that.

Speaker 7 (10:50):
Fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day, Now, now here's
the thing, God, here's the thing that really really brings
that back.

Speaker 5 (11:02):
So this speech.

Speaker 3 (11:05):
There's a little bit more, all right, thank you.

Speaker 7 (11:08):
But that speech that I mean Shakespeare, not me, that
that speech was all meant to try and rouse the
troops to fight, and in fact wes Moreland himself says,
he turns to Westmoreland says, do you want to have
someone join us now? And west Moreland says, if it
were just me and you, we could take them all.
And sure enough, as the story unfolds, the French lose

(11:31):
thousands and the English number they're dead at twenty five
twenty five hundred twenty five.

Speaker 3 (11:39):
And this is historically accurate more or less.

Speaker 7 (11:41):
Yes, the Battle of Agincore was a phenomenal battle in
which the English faced overwhelming odds against the French, but
they used a lot of interesting tactics, including using the
longbow and hiding essentially kind of guerrilla warfare in the
woods to the sides of the battlefield to kind of
shower the French with arrows.

Speaker 5 (12:03):
Yeah, use it.

Speaker 7 (12:04):
Yeah, it turns out that's a really useful tactic. But
this speech, I think is one of those that to
this day tends to be one of the ones that
in England is referred to as a truly patriotic speech.
This idea of that because there are so few of us,
that actually makes this even more of an honorable action.

(12:27):
And for those of you who do live. Just imagine
the stories you're going to be telling your children and
their children, and how everyone from this point forward will
remember that you were here, Like, that's an incredible thing.

Speaker 1 (12:39):
Yeah, and at the time, let's see, So Henry Henriett
fifth was written around fifteen ninety nine.

Speaker 5 (12:47):
Yeah, correctly, Yeah, it was.

Speaker 7 (12:48):
It was in the second second Henriad, actually the Henry Ad,
which was the second four play series in his histories.

Speaker 1 (12:56):
And the battle we're referring to occurred in fourteen fifty. Yes,
so this is at the time the first time at
stage this is an historical work, you know what I mean.
People were regarding this in some ways similar to the
way modern audiences regard things like a World War II

(13:17):
film or maybe The Patriot with mel Gibson or Braveheart
with Me you know something, but not necessarily with mel Gibson.

Speaker 7 (13:25):
Well, and the English history plays from Shakespeare that spans
eight plays, from Richard the Second to essentially h Richard
the Third. Yeah, that's that's oddly enough, Richard the Second
and Richard the Third, not back to back. There's a
whole bunch of kings in between.

Speaker 5 (13:43):
So the.

Speaker 7 (13:45):
That story is actually the War of the Roses, that
that entire sequence of plays. And the interesting thing to
me is that Shakespeare wrote the four plays that represent
the end of that Henry the Sixth, Parts one, two
and three, and Richard the Third, he wrote those earlier
in his career, and then he wrote the four plays
that represent the beginning of the War of the Roses,

(14:08):
Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth Part one and two,
and Henry the Fifth.

Speaker 5 (14:11):
Those he wrote later.

Speaker 7 (14:12):
So you could think that kind of like Lucas, he
went back and wrote the prequels, and like Lucas, we also.

Speaker 5 (14:18):
Knew where this story had to end up.

Speaker 7 (14:21):
I mean, this was history, although he takes great liberties
in his history play, yes.

Speaker 5 (14:26):
But it was this.

Speaker 7 (14:28):
This eight series of plays tells you the full history
of the Lancasters and the Yorks, from the point where
Richard the Second abdicates his throne and gives Henry Bolingbrooke,
who becomes Henry the Fourth, control of England, all the
way up to when Richard the Third loses the crown
and Henry Tudor, the father of Henry the Eighth, who

(14:48):
in turn was the father of Queen Elizabeth, his monarch
at the time. Like that was that full story. So
this was a story that a lot of the Englis
knew very.

Speaker 1 (15:00):
Well, and this is an excellent summation, or I would
say a slice of the pie.

Speaker 2 (15:08):
Shakespeare wise.

Speaker 1 (15:10):
Again, we have to thank you for that excellent recitation.
We do once recommend if you happen to be in
the area, that you check out the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Jonathan,
I know that I give you a lot of guff
off air because it makes my day to do.

Speaker 2 (15:27):
So I'm not going to stop on weekends.

Speaker 7 (15:30):
I put on tights, I run around in Georgia weather.
It's all right.

Speaker 2 (15:36):
I admire that part.

Speaker 3 (15:38):
And just by way of a plug and very honest one,
I took my son last year and he absolutely adored it.

Speaker 7 (15:46):
Yeah, it's the sort of thing that I loved as
a kid, and honestly, it's the interactions with kids that
I still enjoy.

Speaker 5 (15:51):
Yeah.

Speaker 7 (15:51):
It runs mid April through the first weekend of June,
and if you do go, there will be open auditions
with William Shakespeare. I'll be auditioning parts. So if you
if you've ever wanted to stand up on a stage
and recite, I'll have lots of different speeches on hand.
From all the different plays so that we can we
can cast all the I mean, I'm going to be

(16:14):
performing all the shows. I got to cast every single part.

Speaker 2 (16:16):
Right, Yeah, I'll go. Yeah, well I'll go.

Speaker 7 (16:20):
But I'm I can't wait to hear the rest of this.
So I'm waiting for you to tell me that Shakespeare
didn't write Shakespeare, so I can lay the smack down that.

Speaker 2 (16:28):
I'm glad you said that because the.

Speaker 1 (16:31):
Originally we examined this, this group of thoughts as a
video in our YouTube video series and it was fascinating
because off air we've all worked together for years, folks.
Oh yeah, off air, there have been times where more
than once, actually where you, Jonathan, I don't want to

(16:55):
say quite out of the blue, but you have come
up to me. We weren't talking about me, think in
particular to tell me how much this idea has bothered
you and it bothers a lot of people.

Speaker 7 (17:07):
The concept the anti Stratfordians. Anyone who thinks that that
someone other than William Shakespeare must have written the plays.
I find it infuriating and perplexing at the same time.

Speaker 3 (17:20):
But was there even a real William Shakespeare?

Speaker 5 (17:23):
Yes?

Speaker 7 (17:24):
So well, there are legal documents that have his name
on them.

Speaker 3 (17:28):
I've seen six specific Yeah, I was gonna say I've
seen a few.

Speaker 1 (17:32):
So with that excellent introduction, let's dive into the life
of William Shakespeare. Let's also just Jonathan, let's go ahead
and kidnap you. Sure, you work on several other shows.
You work on tech stuff, you work on the brink,
You have a malt You're a man of many hats.

Speaker 7 (17:49):
Yeah, I'm wearing one of them right now.

Speaker 5 (17:51):
You are wearing.

Speaker 2 (17:52):
You are wearing. It must have been tough to choose
the one.

Speaker 3 (17:55):
So they give me a porter.

Speaker 5 (17:56):
Yep.

Speaker 1 (17:57):
So we're going to there's a story there, So we're
going to We're going to kidnap you absolutely all right,
we've conscripted you to be a guest along with Ramsey
on the show today. Let's explore William Shakespeare. He is
born in as I believe you had established earlier, fifteen
sixty four ish, right.

Speaker 7 (18:15):
Yeah, sometime around there. We don't have the actual record
of his birth. We have the record of his baptism.

Speaker 1 (18:20):
Right, and that's a relatively common thing at this point
in the historical record. He was brought up in Stratford
upon Avon and eventually he was buried there. Of course,
he made a couple stops in London. Yeah, and he
maintained his household in Stratford for the duration of his
career in London. But other than that, the things we

(18:43):
know for sure about the individual, the human William Shakespeare,
they seemed relatively scant by today's terms.

Speaker 3 (18:53):
Especially for someone who was so influential and did so
many things in his life.

Speaker 1 (19:00):
And we don't have as many details as we would want.
We do know that someone of pretty much the same name,
the same guy. Again, the person married and had children
in Stratford, because there is, as you mentioned, that baptismal register.

Speaker 6 (19:15):
Right.

Speaker 1 (19:16):
One of the problems that we should establish from the
jump here is that you can find contemporary written records
with Shakespeare's name mentioning him, even a few with what
is confirmed to be his own signature, but the spelling varies,
and so for people who have an issue with something

(19:39):
about Shakespeare, they'll say, well, why does the marriage bond
have shagspear?

Speaker 3 (19:45):
And yeah, who's the shagspear Karen?

Speaker 2 (19:47):
Are they the same as Shak's pair? Oh?

Speaker 3 (19:51):
Yeah, that was another one, isn't it. Shax p ere
E Shakespeare.

Speaker 7 (19:56):
Yeah, I actually actually have answers to these, but I
don't know if you want me to give.

Speaker 2 (19:59):
Them not yet, but there are answers.

Speaker 1 (20:02):
So we do know that William Shakespeare gave evidence in
a court case. He signed some documents, he went home
to Stratford. Eventually he made a will and around sixteen
sixteen he.

Speaker 7 (20:15):
Died apparently possibly on the same date that he was
born on April twenty third. That's a guess. It's still
based on the baptism.

Speaker 1 (20:24):
Yeah, still a guesstimate, but well written, just structurally.

Speaker 7 (20:30):
Yeah, yeah, No, if you're if you're going to have
a mysterious life, being born and dying on the same date,
not the same day, but the same date, is it
does add to that era of mystery, doesn't.

Speaker 2 (20:43):
Kind of like Samuel Clemens came or Twain.

Speaker 5 (20:47):
That'll bring me back out again.

Speaker 2 (20:48):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (20:50):
Shakespeare's Shakespeare's work in his career, well, a lot of
it starts obviously in London. He becomes an actor and
then a shareholder in what was called the Lord Chamberlain's
Men and the known later as the Kingsmen. Matt were
what were the Kingsmen? They were the playing company that

(21:10):
owned the Globe, right.

Speaker 3 (21:11):
Yeah, this is the part where the Globe Theater, the
world renowned Globe Theater comes in. Also the Blackfriars Theater.

Speaker 7 (21:20):
That would be later, but yeah, that was one of
the first indoor theaters in London.

Speaker 3 (21:26):
Yeah, Jonathan tell us a little bit about the Lord
Chamberlain's Men.

Speaker 5 (21:29):
Sure.

Speaker 7 (21:30):
Yeah, So you had theater companies that typically had a
patron that supported their work so that they could get
the upfront costs they would need to put on a performance,
and they would recapture those costs through whatever means like
ticket sales once you got to the theaters. Theaters in
London were brand new when Shakespeare got there. They had

(21:51):
only been around for maybe fifteen years. Before that, you
would typically see a play performed in the courtyard of
an in house or maybe in some real fancy person's
like waiting room that just happened to be as large
as a theater would be, that kind of thing. But
this was a time where theaters as purpose built structures

(22:13):
were brand new in England. So Shakespeare is a part
owner with this theatrical group, which means he gets a
percentage of the box office. That's actually how Shakespeare made
all his money. You didn't make very much money publishing
a play because you didn't publish plays, you performed them.
Shakespeare in his lifetime never published any of his plays.

(22:35):
Some of them got published, but it wasn't his decision.
And so he was making money by helping produce work
that could be performed in this theater and then getting
proceeds from the ticket sales.

Speaker 1 (22:49):
And he was making money off of his own work
because I think the Kingsman had the exclusive rights to
produce his plays ye for a period of times fifteen
ninety four.

Speaker 7 (23:00):
Yeah, he was essentially Essentially he would write material for
the theater that he had ownership in, and he would
also we think, perform in those shows. He was often
listed as one of the actors that we don't know
what parts he played, Like you.

Speaker 2 (23:17):
Think he ever did a one man.

Speaker 7 (23:21):
Juliet, I'm going to do a production of Hamlet except
all the characters. We do actually think that he may
have played Hamlet's father's ghost in Hamlet, but there's there's
not a lot of there's not really any hard evidence
to back that up. So so you've got essentially a
guy who owns part of the theater and he's a

(23:43):
gifted writer. Assuming that we're going with the story that
Shakespeare wrote. Shakespeare he's a gifted writer who is supplying
his own theater with material to attract people. You also
have to remember that at the time, let me set
the scene here in London, you have Puritans who are
very powerful in the They do not allow theaters to
operate within the city limits of London, so.

Speaker 5 (24:05):
All the theaters are either north of the city or.

Speaker 7 (24:07):
South of the city on the across the Thames on
the south part. So if you want to go see
a show and you live in the city, you have
to find you have to pay a ferryman to get
across the river, or you have to travel all the
way to the London Bridge, which is not close to
where the theaters are, make your way to the theater,
pay your penny if you're a groundling, to stand and

(24:27):
watch the show, and then you have to hustle back
because the city gates of London were meant to be
locked at sunset.

Speaker 2 (24:34):
Makes sense because of the vampires exactly right.

Speaker 7 (24:37):
You know, you don't invite them in, right, so you
have to rush back to London to get back inside
in time so that you could go to bed right.

Speaker 3 (24:43):
Yeah.

Speaker 7 (24:44):
The theater district was in the same district as all
the brothels, the bear baiting arenas, the gambling houses, and
the ends of ill repute.

Speaker 1 (24:54):
It was a sleezy It was considered a sleezy profession, Yeah,
and a sleezy show to attend.

Speaker 7 (25:01):
In fact, the sleazy profession is what lends some people
to suggest others who may have written for Shakespeare, because
they wouldn't want their own name attached to so lowly
a profession.

Speaker 1 (25:13):
Ah, there we go. Okay, so now we've hit upon it.
The one other thing we know about Shakespeare is that eventually,
in after fifteen ninety six he became a gentleman because
his father was given a coat.

Speaker 7 (25:27):
Of arms which Shakespeare paid for, yes, which.

Speaker 2 (25:31):
Did have some money involved.

Speaker 1 (25:33):
And we can talk for hours and hours and days
and days about probably each place specifically because there's such
a depth and wealth of connection and I don't know,
ripple effect now in modern society sure.

Speaker 3 (25:50):
Yeah, And just to put this out there talking about
that ripple effect, my wife just the other day went
to the Plaza Theater where they were showing a version
of Romeo and Juliet bas Lherman exactly and still still
today in twenty nineteen. The effects are seen like in
those ripples as they you know, as they affected bas Luherman,
as they affected even my wife when she watched it,

(26:12):
and now all the other people who are watch it well.

Speaker 7 (26:14):
And then you have all the adaptations like West Side Story,
which is not it's essentially Romeo and Juliet, but it's
a musical, and it's changed the location, it's changed the
two warring families to two gangs. But we still see
these ripples going just as strong. In fact, I wouldn't
even say that they've weakened over time. We might see

(26:34):
them in cycles. It's also interesting to see which plays
are are popular during different eras, because you'll find one
era where Hamlet is considered the height of Shakespeare's genius,
and then after say nineteen sixty or so, it started
to shift toward King Lear. And what it really tells
you is more about the society that is currently enamored

(26:58):
of that specific play than the play itself.

Speaker 1 (27:01):
Right, Like how that remake of our adaptation of Titus Andronicus,
Police Academy four.

Speaker 7 (27:12):
Police Academy four, What's eating you?

Speaker 2 (27:16):
It's true? So this guy, this individual.

Speaker 1 (27:20):
This playwright is so prolific, especially even even in a
modern day setting. Writing thirty seven plays that aren't garbage
is a phenomenal feat.

Speaker 2 (27:32):
Right, yeah, and.

Speaker 1 (27:34):
This guy did it without the access to the wealth
of instantaneous near instantaneous information we have today, without a
word processor, probably without probably without a lot of help,
or did he have help. It is a huge body
of work for one man, and it's not surprising that many,

(27:57):
many people from various walks of life disagree with what
we just gave you. We gave you the official narrative,
but what about the people who don't agree with it?
We'll explore their side of the story after a word
from our sponsors.

Speaker 2 (28:18):
Here's where it gets crazy, So, Matt.

Speaker 1 (28:22):
Earlier Jonathan mentioned the rise of a group of people
called the anti Stratfordians.

Speaker 3 (28:29):
Anti Stratfordians.

Speaker 5 (28:31):
There are many flavors of them.

Speaker 1 (28:33):
There are There are positively like skittle level, you know.

Speaker 3 (28:39):
That six or seven.

Speaker 2 (28:40):
Well, let's taste the rainbow find out.

Speaker 1 (28:42):
So, so, Matt, what what are these people?

Speaker 2 (28:47):
What's their what's their stick? What's their thing?

Speaker 3 (28:49):
Well, yeah, it's it's groups of people who, over the
centuries have come together and agreed that they do not
agree that William Shakespeare wrote all of his plays. They are,
at least some of them don't believe he wrote any
of them. Some believe that William Shakespeare wasn't even actually
William Shakespeare or a person necessarily. And it varies very

(29:12):
it varies widely.

Speaker 1 (29:13):
Yes, and some people disagree with their own disagreements, you
know what I mean. The anti Stratfordians are not a
monolithic group. The one thing they agree on is they
don't think that William Shakespeare did everything. Yes, and they
have some beef with each other within their community. But
you're absolutely right. There's the idea that someone else wrote

(29:35):
the place. There's the idea that Shakespeare's maybe an umbrella term,
similar to the theory about Banksy the Street Artist, probably
one of the best in the world right now.

Speaker 2 (29:46):
There's the theory that you know.

Speaker 7 (29:48):
That's actually a collective rights operating under a singular identity exactly.

Speaker 3 (29:55):
I tend to enjoy that idea.

Speaker 1 (29:56):
Yes, yeah, for Banksy. But one thing's for sure, this
particular genre of conspiracy theory has a massive staying power.
This isn't like a jade helm thing where it comes
up with an expiration date or a world will end
in twenty twelve.

Speaker 2 (30:13):
Think.

Speaker 1 (30:13):
You know, this concept has persisted for some time, but
it's not as old as most people assume. I would
argue because, contrary to popular belief, the idea of a
Shakespeare a Shakespearean conspiracy, or a question about the authorship
is historically speaking, somewhat recent.

Speaker 7 (30:35):
Yeah, there's some some nineteenth century thinkers who were proposing this.
You mentioned Samuel Clemens earlier, Mark Twain. Mark Twain's one
of the people who suggested that perhaps Shakespeare did not
write Shakespeare.

Speaker 2 (30:48):
But that guy's such a troll. Yeah as well.

Speaker 7 (30:50):
No, well, I mean, you know, Mark Twain was pretty
much convinced that no one was as clever as he was.

Speaker 1 (30:55):
So you know, I used to love that author true story,
and to a friend got me a copy of his
woefully unedited autobiography.

Speaker 2 (31:07):
It just goes on and on. I feel like I'm
done with Mark Twain till about twenty thirty.

Speaker 5 (31:13):
Well, let's let's lay out why don't you guys. I
don't mean to take over your show.

Speaker 2 (31:16):
No, no, wekid you.

Speaker 5 (31:17):
I would love to hear you.

Speaker 7 (31:18):
Guys sort of lay out some of the usual suspects,
the ones who are often proposed as the possible people
who actually wrote those Shakespearean for sure.

Speaker 1 (31:30):
Well, the best way for us to get there is
to explore some of the history. You mentioned nineteenth century
thinkers who first proposed these.

Speaker 5 (31:41):
Alternatives.

Speaker 2 (31:41):
Alternatives. Yeah, that's a very safe word.

Speaker 3 (31:43):
Yes, that's the eighteen hundreds, everybody, that's yes, that's.

Speaker 5 (31:47):
When Samuel Clemens would be right.

Speaker 1 (31:48):
So no one really seemed to doubt that Shakespeare wrote
these plays until around the eighteen fifties. The first public
anti strap forty and claim was written by an American,
Deally A.

Speaker 2 (32:03):
Bacon.

Speaker 1 (32:03):
She had an article in Putnam's Magazine in eighteen fifty
six called William Shakespeare and his Plays, an inquiry concerning them,
which is, I know what a we need to talk
kind of a kind of message. But what was in
this What was the gist of this article?

Speaker 3 (32:20):
Well, I mean it's it's an opinion that is kind
of valid in a couple of ways and then just
silly and others. So she thought the plays were were
more than stories, like historical stories that are being retold.
She thought they were written deliberately to spread ideas about enlightenment,

(32:41):
about modernity, about progress of humanity, and she thought the
plays were essentially, like I guess, a form of propaganda,
and it was written by a secret committee essentially of people,
like an illuminati of sorts. I mean, it sounds kind
of silly, but at the same time, it's an interesting

(33:03):
thought experiment if we go into it. And she cryptically
hinted that there was a different person that had actually
written the plays, or at least had had a big
hand in writing the plays, a certain Sir Francis Bacon.

Speaker 2 (33:17):
No relation to Delia Bacon. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (33:20):
She she said that there was a secret collective in
the Bacon.

Speaker 2 (33:26):
Obviously was the was the leader of the group. Uh.

Speaker 1 (33:29):
Delia Bacon never found any any smoking gun evidence for
her beliefs.

Speaker 7 (33:35):
Or or anything beyond her belief vaguely circumstantial evidence.

Speaker 2 (33:41):
All right, now, I know you've got some irons in
the fire on this one.

Speaker 1 (33:44):
Yeah, we want to know, we want to know, we
want to know, we want to know, but we want
to get you set up in the right place. As so,
a lot of people will perhaps unfairly uh, cast dispersion
on deal Bacon because she had a painful private life
as well. She when she passed away, it wasn't an asylum,

(34:07):
which was a brutal place to be in that time
and era. But just like Shakespeare, Just like Shakespeare, she
had ripple ripples throughout history. As this single article it
lit the fuse, It lit the fire for what would
become an explosively controversial line of thinking, and one that

(34:34):
very much, even in the modern day, aims to be
considered a serious academic discipline, much to the massive irritation
of people who are Stratfordians. Yeah, right, exactly, And I
love academic beef. I think it's I think it's so fascinating.
But to your question, a little bit of a circuitoust
way to get there. But to your question, Jonathan, if

(34:57):
it was not William Shakespeare, if Shakespeare was not the author,
or if it were a brand name for a bunch
of people working in secret, who would the actual author be.
Candidates include Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe.

Speaker 5 (35:11):
That would have been a tricky one.

Speaker 1 (35:12):
That would have been a tricky one, just time wise.

Speaker 7 (35:14):
Yeah, because he died in a bar fight while several
plays were still being written, although there have been theories
that stated that the plays were already written, either the
place had already been written and then were published regularly,
or performed rather because again they weren't published, I performed
regularly after Marlow's death, or the even crazier idea that

(35:39):
Marlow faked his death in a bar fight and secretly
was still writing the place because he just couldn't give
it up.

Speaker 3 (35:49):
Oh my gosh, did he move to like Cuba, kind
of like Tupac.

Speaker 7 (35:53):
No, he just sort of moved to Southampton and.

Speaker 2 (35:57):
Put you know, you got some different clothes. Yeah, kept
on a.

Speaker 5 (36:02):
Silly wig and a fake nose.

Speaker 3 (36:04):
Well, let's talk about who Christopher Marlowe is. Sure.

Speaker 7 (36:07):
Yeah, marlow was another writer and playwright of the sixteenth
century England.

Speaker 5 (36:12):
Also was a spy.

Speaker 7 (36:14):
He actually did work on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, which
was not the safest of professions.

Speaker 1 (36:23):
I don't think working for a royal family at that
time is ever going to be an inherently safe profession.

Speaker 7 (36:29):
Honestly, Elizabeth in England, any profession was an unsafe profession
because if you were a Catholic you were all that
was that was dangerous by itself, and Shakespeare's family, by
the way, Catholic, so that was But that's another.

Speaker 2 (36:44):
Segary for the time.

Speaker 7 (36:45):
Yeah, so so you've got You've got Marlowe, who's uh
he wrote Faust, so famous play's he wrote a couple
of others. He is really well known for writing drama,
was not known for writing comedy, which is possibly why
some people say maybe he contributed some of the plays,
but maybe not all of them, because there just wasn't
any evidence to suggest that he could write comedy. I

(37:07):
would argue that based upon some of Shakespeare's comedies, there's
not a whole lot of evidence that he could do
it either. But no, there's actually some very funny shakespeare comedies,
but there a lot of the humors lost on us,
the modern audience, because we no longer have those puns,
so they don't really make sense to us anymore. But anyway,
so marlow is this very dangerous kind of individual who's

(37:31):
also prolific writer. Also comes from a fairly humble background,
which will be important later exactly so we'll get into
that later. But he ends up trying to come to
the defense of a friend in a tavern, and as
a result of the fracas that breaks out, he sustains
a critical injury and dies. And this is in the

(37:54):
middle of Shakespeare's productivity.

Speaker 2 (37:57):
Right.

Speaker 7 (37:57):
So that again, assuming that the death is legit and
it wasn't Marlowe trying to fake his death so that
he could live out his golden years, which would have
been many. He was not that old when it happened,
and he was of an age similar to Shakespeare, they
were about the same age. Assuming that that didn't happen,

(38:18):
that he didn't fake his death, it would have made
it very tricky to continue writing.

Speaker 1 (38:22):
Side note, unrelated, this is just a fact I've found,
and I think you guys would enjoy it if you
hadn't heard it before. I'm just reminded because of the
idea of literary buddies or peers, creative peers, Ernest Hemingway,
James Joyce, solid writers, Yeah, I'm being very fair, solid writers.

Speaker 2 (38:45):
Notorious drunks. Yes, do you know this story?

Speaker 1 (38:48):
Now? Apparently they were known for getting into bar fights,
wasn't sur Joyce ed? I mean, you just have to
read fitting its weight to know that the guy runs
at the mouth bit. But apparently he was somewhat of
a nebbish character, somewhat of a.

Speaker 3 (39:07):
Yeah, what's what's another word for nebish?

Speaker 2 (39:10):
Milk toast? That's really good, Actually, yeah, it was. It
was a little bit more that.

Speaker 7 (39:14):
It didn't come across as masculinity personified the way Hemingway.

Speaker 2 (39:19):
Right, so they would be a barfight.

Speaker 1 (39:21):
Allegedly, James Joyce was famous for running his mouth and
then starting to fight, and then physically running to hide
behind Ernest Hemingway while yelling like, take care of him,
him away, Crimson his face.

Speaker 2 (39:35):
That's perfect.

Speaker 1 (39:36):
So that notice I just used that as cocktail trivia
at your next James Joyce or Nest Hemingway themed soare and.

Speaker 3 (39:46):
You know, there is a conspiracy that the bar fight
that Chrisopher Marlow got into was actually or there's a
theory that it was a conspiracy to assassinate Marlow.

Speaker 7 (39:55):
That's yeah, yeah, well yeah, there are a lot of
stories about that. I mean that was fifteen ninety three,
which in Shakespeare's timeline would be right at the very
beginning of his rise, and those would still be the
plays produced in the early fifteen nineties were still considered
the sort of the juvenile works of Shakespeare, the ones

(40:17):
before he really found his voice.

Speaker 1 (40:19):
Right, right, And that's like maybe just a year before
the exclusivity agreement comes into effect. Other other candidates include
the fifth Earl of Rutland, who that's all you need
to know about them, actually, the sixth Earl of Derby,
the seventeenth Earl of Oxford. Note that there are a
lot of aristocrats being named.

Speaker 5 (40:40):
Oxford is one of the.

Speaker 7 (40:41):
Big ones Oxfordians are. It's one of the larger camps.

Speaker 2 (40:44):
Of anti Stratfordians.

Speaker 1 (40:46):
Yes, and then even Queen Elizabeth one has been proposed.
That seems a little out there, right. It turns out
there more than eighty potential real Shakespeare's and this is weird.
Why do people believe this? In the case of Bacon
Deally Bacon's original argument, you can say there's a little

(41:08):
bit of classism involved because Shakespeare at the time in
which Delia writes this article, Shakespeare is very much deified,
especially especially in his homeland. He's depicted as as a
person being from a relatively uncultured.

Speaker 7 (41:29):
Town, right, a rural old neighborhood.

Speaker 3 (41:33):
Right.

Speaker 1 (41:33):
And people say has no formal education, because they'll say
there's not an exhaustive written record.

Speaker 7 (41:39):
Well, he didn't attend university.

Speaker 1 (41:41):
He didn't attend University Calebridge, right.

Speaker 3 (41:45):
But he sure knew a whole lot about history.

Speaker 2 (41:50):
He wrote, He.

Speaker 1 (41:53):
Wrote a lot about history as if he were correct
is the best way to say so.

Speaker 2 (41:59):
At the time.

Speaker 1 (41:59):
Though, this this anti Strap forteen argument, is that based
on what what the plays have in terms of content,
based on the various historical literary illusions and the extensive vocabulary,
they say, well, there's not really a way a guy
who didn't go to college could do.

Speaker 2 (42:21):
This, I mean, if we're being honest.

Speaker 7 (42:26):
Which yeah, that is a very common argument, the idea
that how could someone from essentially the Sticks, right, And
it's the effectively you're saying, some some hick from the
sticks son of a glove maker and an amateur actor
who then turns pro How could that guy end up
creating what many people believe to be the pinnacle of

(42:50):
poetic language, particularly in play format.

Speaker 2 (42:54):
And that's another part.

Speaker 7 (42:55):
You know, you know, you're you're thinking not just not
just that these are cracking, good story but these are
characters who seem to embody much deeper representations of human
nature than what you would see in contemporary works. Now
that's tricky to say, because there are not a lot
of contemporary works that actually survived that era.

Speaker 2 (43:17):
Sure, a lot of stuff in general.

Speaker 7 (43:19):
There's a couple of Shakespeare plays that may have existed
that we don't have anymore. Loves Labors one is one
of them, and the Cardinio. Both of those are lost
plays we don't know. We've got a an adaptation of
the Cardinio that was done in the nineteenth century, but
that was a heavy rewrite, which was not uncommon. You

(43:40):
often had theaters rewriting Shakespeare to perform it later on,
especially as different values arose in society, where certain things
were considered taboo, they would rewrite Shakespeare's plays to get
rid of anything that would refer to that, And so
Shakespeare's plays went through a lot of transformation, particularly in

(44:01):
the nineteenth century, eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Speaker 1 (44:03):
I love what you're pointing out, though, about the way
you point out earlier, the way theater was perceived at
the time. This plays into the views of anti Stratfordi
and scholars or researchers or enthusiasts. Because at the time
which Delia Bacon is writing this, and at the time

(44:24):
in which Shakespeare was performing, popular thought of regarding what
could be considered art and what could be considered a
higher form of art or a lower form of entertainment.
Popular thought drew a sharp distinction between various forms of
the written word. Poetry was a manifestation of high culture.

(44:48):
The best book was and always will be, the Bible,
and you will die if you don't like the version
we have.

Speaker 7 (44:54):
Now, especially once James came along and presented his version.

Speaker 1 (44:58):
I know, which was so Kanye of him. But but theater,
on the other hand, was seen as like vulgar entertainment.
The groundlings that that phrase comes from the mosh pit.

Speaker 2 (45:13):
Yeah, theater.

Speaker 7 (45:14):
You would stand in this in this space that was
right in front of the stage, and for a penny
you could stand there and watch the show. And if
you had sixpence, I think it was, you could sit
in the galleries, so you would be in a seated
position further back with a full view of the stage.
And but you know, it also spoke to the popularity

(45:36):
of the theater, the fact that they could get commoners
who you know, even when you sit there and say
it was one penny for a show, for some people,
that was that was the equivalent of two days pay, right, right,
So they're paying they're paying two days worth of labor
to watch a show. And these shows are changed the play.

(45:58):
They would perform would change every single day because you
don't do one show for a run, because you have
to constantly be filling up that theater.

Speaker 1 (46:09):
Because people would say, why would I spend two days
worth of pay to see the same thing again?

Speaker 7 (46:14):
Right, And there's only two hundred and fifty thousand people
in London and the theater fits twenty five hundred. So
you start doing the math and you think, if you
want to stay in business, you gotta change that. That's
why you had so many plays being produced, not all
of them being Shakespeare's. It was absolutely imperative from a
business standpoint.

Speaker 1 (46:34):
So let's get back to that idea of the theater
industry because for anti Stratfordians, that tends to, paradoxically enough,
be a piece of evidence that they use against the
argument that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, because they would say, you
know what, theater is relatively low brow. So one thing

(46:59):
we do know about this William Shakespeare fellow was that
he was a professional actor, and that means that he
was associated with theater and.

Speaker 7 (47:10):
Other actors, which, by the way, was right next to the.

Speaker 1 (47:12):
Brothelm So there's no way someone from their argument is
from a rural part of the world, in a very
cd profession and one of the sleaziest neighborhoods of London.
There's no way that guy could have written such amazing
poetry poetic prose, is No.

Speaker 3 (47:33):
It was obviously the sixth Earl of Derby. Yes, bestowed
his brilliant work down upon the lowly actors.

Speaker 7 (47:41):
But I could not possibly attach his name to the work.
It would sully his otherwise spotless reputations.

Speaker 1 (47:48):
Yeah, and we are talking about the sixth, not that,
not that degenerate the seventh.

Speaker 3 (47:54):
So yeah, it's it's true.

Speaker 1 (47:55):
They also question, we mentioned this before, how Shakespeare, with
no record of education or cultured background, how could he
know all the things that the author of these plays knows.
The vocabulary is calculated to be somewhere north of seventeen
five hundred words, and the max would be twenty nine

(48:19):
thousand different words. There aren't any signed manuscripts written by Shakespeare.

Speaker 2 (48:25):
That are around today.

Speaker 1 (48:26):
We don't have anything where, you know, you can't go
to the Smithsonian and see underglass the handwritten draft of Hamlet.

Speaker 7 (48:37):
Right, and to be fair, London has gone up and
flames a couple of times since Shakespeare wrote so and
again also to be fair, not a lot of material
from that era survives.

Speaker 2 (48:50):
Period in general.

Speaker 7 (48:51):
Right, So singling out Shakespeare's work is a little is
a little disingenuous, only because it's only in Heinz site
that we see how valuable it was.

Speaker 1 (49:02):
Right, right, that's a great point, you know. We see
the classism involved again here with the anti Stratfordi in argument.
So Shakespeare has six signatures that have been authenticated. People
who don't believe Shakespeare wrote this stuff, who do believe
he was a rube, They say that, look at these signatures.

(49:23):
Sure this may have been some guy named William Shagg's
pear or whatever. But shaggs but he writes like he
can't read. He writes, He writes in a scrawl. This
means that he was either illiterate or functionally illiterate, someone
who can just you know, write their name, maybe do
some simple sums. But the spread of conspiracy theories about

(49:46):
Shakespeare has an international dimension to it, right, Like both
both Bacon and another anti Stratfordi and Heart were Americans,
And these different candidates for authorship continue to find their
supporters in the US. People in the US love this story.
The History Channel probably loves this story, right, PBS.

Speaker 7 (50:09):
Loves this story. They produce documentaries about this usually every
five to ten years.

Speaker 3 (50:15):
Yeah, I did not realize that.

Speaker 7 (50:16):
Oh yeah, because I've done quite a bit of research,
I can tell. Yeah, which, to be fair, first of all,
I studied this in college, but that was more than
twenty years ago. Not that Shakespeare's written much since then,
but it's been a long time since I was actively
studying it. But now that I'm taking on the role,
I want to be able to answer people when they
ask me certain questions about Shakespeare as best I can.

(50:38):
It is incredibly challenging because Ben, as you have pointed out,
we know so very little about the man. Very little
information exists about Shakespeare's life.

Speaker 5 (50:51):
We piece it.

Speaker 7 (50:51):
Together from scant records and various things that were written
about Shakespeare after he had already died. So it is
hard to piece it together. But the same is true
for everyone in the Elizabethan era, with the exception of.

Speaker 1 (51:11):
Elizabeth Yeah and maybe some other members of the royal court. Yeah,
but it's true this lack of this lack of knowledge
allows alternative views or arguments to proliferate. There's nothing wrong
with that, but we do have to look at the evidence.
So we have presented the broad strokes of the anti

(51:33):
Stratfordy and anti Shakespeare Shakespeare argument. What if any problems
exist with these theories, we'll tell you after a word
from our sponsor.

Speaker 3 (51:49):
Guys, hold on a second here, I'm not fully convinced
what I think. Perhaps William Shakespeare was in fact a
group of some other people or one other person, just
a whole bunch of that person who Okay, in some
kind of multiverse. Let's let's really talk about the reasons

(52:10):
why Shakespeare probably was Shakespeare.

Speaker 1 (52:13):
Okay, Yeah, So it's first off, it's fascinating. Of course
we want to be involved in such an intriguing historical
Who done it?

Speaker 3 (52:23):
You know?

Speaker 1 (52:24):
Imagine how such revelation could change history. The problem is
something isn't true just because it's interesting, and that's a
fact we all run into at some point in our lives.
The vast majority, by which we mean virtually all serious
and accepted working Shakespeare scholars think these claims are malarchy.

(52:45):
They think they're nonsense, and on their side, they have
some pretty convincing arguments. One of the first hinges on
the timing. You see, if Shakespeare didn't write this stuff
or if you who are somehow a secret gang of people,
then why didn't anybody talk about it when this guy
was alive?

Speaker 5 (53:03):
Yeah?

Speaker 1 (53:03):
Why did no one call him a plagiss Why did
none of his contemporaries who who probably had some friendly rivalries.

Speaker 7 (53:10):
Right, Why sure Johnson definitely did.

Speaker 1 (53:12):
Oh yeah, why didn't they? Why didn't they say, let's
expose this guy? And immediately after his death people who
knew him while he was alive also didn't say that,
And no one came forward after he died say oh, okay,
so it was me.

Speaker 7 (53:28):
Also, the plays stopped after he died. Yeah, no one
wrote other awesome, amazing plays that are held in the
same esteem as Shakespeare's after he died, even just by
inventing another name, like you would think, like what, what
would motivate someone to create this stuff in the first place?
Because keep in mind, again, this wasn't meant for publication,

(53:49):
It was meant for performance. You did not make money
selling your play to a theatrical company. Maybe made five pounds,
which was a significant sum, but you couldn't live off
of it perpetually. And considering the amount of labor it
takes to write a play versus the amount of money
you would get for selling the play. That that's a
losing proposition. So you're not doing it to make money directly.

(54:12):
That's why Shakespeare made his money by being a part
company owner, not through the selling of his plays. You're
not making money through publication because nobody until Johnson came
along bothered to publish their plays.

Speaker 1 (54:23):
Another yeah, another point. We mentioned Johnson a couple of
times here.

Speaker 3 (54:29):
Yeah, who is this character?

Speaker 1 (54:30):
Well, well, to that's a great question that because we
know he wrote stuff, but we don't know when or
where he was born. It is not especially unusual for
us to have very very little biographical information for people
existing at this time, from the bottom to the top
of the social sphere, not counting the royal family. Also,

(54:50):
speaking of Shakespeare's peers, not only did they not say
he was a plagiarist, not only did they not say
he was a fraud, they at multiple times confirm that
he wrote the stuff.

Speaker 5 (55:01):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (55:01):
They were like, oh yeah, Hamling, I know that guy.

Speaker 7 (55:04):
And sometimes they dissed him for it.

Speaker 1 (55:06):
Yeah, And sometimes they were like, oh yeah, I have
much ado about nothing.

Speaker 2 (55:10):
That was a stinker.

Speaker 7 (55:11):
Yeah, Well, you had Robert Green, who said, this upstart crow,
you know, has beautified himself with our feathers saying, and
he never specifically says Shakespeare, but he drops every single
hint that it's got to be Shakespeare. So he's dissing
on Shakespeare's largely because he's got the same sort of
elitist view that this this bumpkin is suddenly getting a

(55:32):
whole lot of attention, and he's like, why are you
paying attention to this guy?

Speaker 5 (55:35):
You shoulday attention to me.

Speaker 7 (55:36):
How much more important? Of course, he also was dying
at the time he wrote it. Johnson wrote after Shakespeare's
death that he was not known to blot any lines,
meaning he wasn't known for marking out a line and
changing it or editing it in some way. And then
he said would that he blotted a thousand So essentially

(55:57):
saying he needed a better editor is what Johnson was saying.
So you had his contemporaries not only giving Shakespeare the
credit for writing them, but sometimes saying like he wasn't
that good of a writer. And it wasn't until after
Shakespeare's death then a couple of his colleagues got together
and decided they wanted to gather as many of the

(56:19):
plays as they possibly could and publish them as a
memorial to their friend. So these two guys get together
and they put together was called the First Folio, which
that's not even all of the plays, but it's most
of the surviving ones that we know about. And you
also had some plays in publication already, but not through

(56:41):
Shakespeare's permission, called quartos. Some of them were not great.
They might have been written down by someone in the
audience who was just trying that our best to remember
the gist of a play. Those are what we call
the bad quartos.

Speaker 5 (56:57):
Something.

Speaker 3 (57:00):
So he spilled long all over.

Speaker 7 (57:03):
By, Hey, does that smell like plague to you?

Speaker 1 (57:09):
So this this kind of stuff, this examination can continue
for for quite a while. At this point we at
this point we are going to have to close the
curtain on today's episode. But we we thought, Matt and
I that there was no better way to end than

(57:33):
to point out a quotation from David Thomas of Britain's
National Archives.

Speaker 3 (57:40):
Yes, I'm gonna just do a quick quote here for
you and try to kind of in a way I guess,
audition for you right now, Shakespeare, and I'll give you
notes the documentation for William Shakespeare is exactly what you
would expect a person of his position of that time.

(58:02):
It seems like an earth only because we are so
intensely interested in him.

Speaker 7 (58:10):
Someday as you exit pursued by the bar, some days
the bar exits pursued by you.

Speaker 1 (58:15):
So that's I mean, that's a great point though, because
it's saying this whole time, does Shakespeare seem more mysterious
than the average person just because we're looking Yes.

Speaker 7 (58:27):
I think it's largely also because the amount of It's
not so much the amount of work he produced, because
there were playwrights who wrote more than he did, But
it's the quality of the work that was produced. Once
you get past the early juvenile efforts of Shakespeare, the
Titus Andronicus, you know, the comedy of Errors, that kind

(58:47):
of stuff, and you start getting into when he was
really coming into his own, just play after play, he
was writing things that still resonate with us today and
something that special, I think is what really drives our
desire to know more. And it is so unsatisfying to
come up against just a darth of information about this person.

Speaker 1 (59:11):
And at this point, with the information we have the
understanding we have in twenty nineteen. It does seem that
the answer to this question is similar to that old
riddle about who's buried in Grant's tomb? So who really
wrote the plays of William Shakespeare? As far as the
evidence indicates, it was this guy named William Shakespeare. And

(59:32):
he was from a town called Stratford upon Avon. He
was born there. He went to London, he worked in London,
and then he went back home and he died.

Speaker 3 (59:40):
And he was a filthy actor associator.

Speaker 1 (59:44):
Yes, he was a known actor sympathizer, unless that is
there's still centuries later something they whoever they are, don't
want you to know, and we want to hear from you.
Are you still convinced that there was more to the story?
Do you believe that there truly was someone behind the

(01:00:05):
Shakespeare curtain? If so, why and if so, who is
that person? You can tell us about this on Instagram.
You can tell us about this on Facebook. You can
tell us about this on Twitter. You can swing by
and talk to your fellow listers on our community page
Here's where it gets crazy. Or you can call us
directly if you are anti Stratfordian and you are super

(01:00:26):
offended by this concept, then go ahead and leave us
a voicemail.

Speaker 3 (01:00:31):
Yeah, even make us soliloquy of it. If you want
to do whatever you want to do at any point. Yeah,
it would be great. Fourteen Yes we are one eight,
three three std WYTK. That's stuff they don't want you
to know in acronym form. It's also numbers you can
dial in with your phone. Okay, So if you don't

(01:00:51):
want to do any of that stuff, you you can
always send us an email. But before you do that,
consider hitting up old Jonathan Strickland. How do we find you? Jonathan?

Speaker 7 (01:01:02):
I find you God?

Speaker 5 (01:01:04):
Or are you?

Speaker 7 (01:01:04):
Just go and check out my show Tech Stuff and
my other show of the Brink, And we do lots
of shows about technology and companies someone which tends to
cross over into your territory. We did an episode of
our Tech Stuff to an episode not long ago about
some more stuff with the NSSA, which is always such

(01:01:24):
a fun, fun organization to talk about.

Speaker 3 (01:01:27):
Oh, we might need to update.

Speaker 1 (01:01:29):
Yeah, we've also both appeared on your show at some
point in the past. If you happen to be in
the studio with us and you want to run into Jonathan,
you can just hit this button. We discovered that says Strickland.
Don it callback I made.

Speaker 7 (01:01:42):
It so inconvenient. I was I was just getting the
coffee machine's been pouring coffee this whole time.

Speaker 1 (01:01:50):
What And and our guest super producer Ramsey Ram jams Young,
thank you again for saving the show. My friend, we
have we have pinged upon his time.

Speaker 2 (01:02:01):
Yeah, too long.

Speaker 3 (01:02:03):
Now I think he's ready to go. And he dude,
he leveled up like four times while we were sitting here.
I can see it. I can see it happening.

Speaker 2 (01:02:10):
Leveled up.

Speaker 1 (01:02:10):
Yes, Ping has he attained his final forb We've got
to go to the We've got to get out of
the studio to find out. Thank you so much for
checking out the show. We do want to hear from you,
and we hope that you tune in for our next episodes.
No spoilers, but things are going to get curiouser and curiouser.

Speaker 3 (01:02:31):
And that's the end of this classic episode. If you
have any thoughts or questions about this episode, you can
get into contact with us in a number of different ways.
One of the best is to give us a call.
Our number is one eight three three std WYTK. If
you don't want to do that, you can send us
a good old fashioned email.

Speaker 2 (01:02:50):
We are conspiracy at iHeartRadio dot com.

Speaker 3 (01:02:55):
Stuff they don't want you to know. Is a production
of iHeartRadio. For more podcasts from my heart Radio, visit
the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to
your favorite shows.

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