Monday, 9 April 2012

Review of "Anonymous" claiming Shakespeare was "a fraud"

As a Stratfordian, I have read the free online book (below) by Prof Stanley Wells and Dr Paul Edmonson, clearly setting out the reasons why playwright William Shakespeare hailed from Stratford-on-Avon.

I forced myself to watch the recent film "Anonymous" which portrays the ultra-sensitive Poet as a swaggering, stupid, blackmailing, whoremongering, illiterate actor who made his money from fronting the Earl of Oxford's "Works".

This is pure nonsense: the unpleasant Earl of Oxford died while William Shakespeare was at the very peak of his powers - continuing to write works to 1612 in the style which became popular at Court.

Thankfully, the film has been panned by serious critics and by The Daily Mail which wrote:

"You don’t need A-levels in history and English to recognise that Anonymous is preposterous".

It is intentionally misleading, mishandling lots of historical dates. It is also hard to watch, being dark, noisy, vulgar and confusing.

For example, it stages "Richard III" instead of "Richard II" just before the Earl of Essex's rebellion, inspite of the hard evidence and the fact that Elizabeth Ist actually said "Don't you know that I am Richard II?" i.e."the rebels think I am a negligent monarch ruining England".  The film publishes the poem "Venus and Adonis" during the Essex rebellion, nearly a decade too late. This is "third form" -teenage stuff.

I was astonished to see the famous Shakespearean actors, Vanessa Redgrave (and her daughter), Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance acting in this film.  It turns out the latter two are ardent "Oxfordians", inspite of having drawn their high status and professional careers from the real William Shakespeare. Thus, a hardworking fellow actor and commoner (like them) is metaphorically "assassinated" by his theatrical peers, in favour of bloodblooded and effete Earl of Oxford. "Et tu, Brute?"

This "ennobling of the Bard" politically-speaking is the very opposite of what one might expect from Vanessa Redgrave, who, we believe, is some kind of communist. Perhaps she is fully satisfied by portraying aristocratic, "Virgin" Elizabeth 1st as a lascivious tyrant, with no family feeling whatsoever. In fact, she was very kind to her Boleyn relatives - who did not threaten her throne and life.

Is this film immoral? I was reminded of the Bible text "To the pure, all things are pure (Titus 1.15)".  Should one be faithful to someone one has never met?  Surely one is not expected to be loyal to someone dead?

The fact is that William Shakespeare, is personal to each of us. He is also a purveyor of "living art" (ref his Stratford monument) which is still touching people's lives, giving them new directions, careers, fame and status - all through his ("male") soul, ("female") brain and "the power of my pen".

My first point is this: William Shakespeare is so potent, we must treat him as alive - i.e. he has rights. He has the absolute right to be a "good tree" bearing "good fruit" - and good fruit emanates from a moral mind. His Works, as living art after we have died, backed by his own biography must speak to unborn generations - touching and enhancing their lives.

William Shakespeare has the right to be a hard-working, clean living, eloquent and polished commoner, baptised, married and buried an Anglican, wedded to one wife (whose comfort he provided), son of his Stratford parents, filled with imagination, dramatic power and stagecraft.

One should be as true to anyone historic as to those living: God sees all people, dead and alive, as alive to Him (Luke 20.38). William Shakespeare, himself, notes through the mouth of an assassin (Richard III i.iv) that we all pass via death (we believe via a conscious "holding state") to Judgment Day, when The Judge's sheep will be aquitted through the Cross. Before Him, one intentional falsehood about someone living or dead, is enough to condemn those not under the Cross.  "Thou shalt not bear false testimony" says the Commandment.

My second point: if one is true in small things, one is regarded by God as true in great things (Luke 16.10).  The soul's truth must run deep i.e. integrity must be true in all its manifestations.  Thus a lie is a lie - whatever it is about.

My third observation: short-termism is a curse of modern materialism.  Some moderns cannot see beyond the end of their own noses. When irrefutable evidence comes to light that will prove that "Shakespeare" was William Shakespeare, these actors' reputations are likely to be permanently damaged - and they will be embarrassingly exposed as having a very low opinion of the talents of mere commoners - as well as being poor assessors of hard evidence - conspiracy theorists.

We live in a darkening age. Some people are keen to elevate their own fame by darkening or extinguishing the moral light by which some of their fellow human beings steer i.e The Bible and Shakespeare. One can only wonder at their motivation.

I conclude with a quotation from Richard II.i.i

"How God and good men hate ....a liar".

See also my earlier blog on this topic
Stanley Wells free online book - why the film "Anonymous" is the real fraud

"To the pure all things are pure" - Titus 1.15
"Why, fool, he shall never wake till the Judgment Day" Richard III 1.iv
"For he is not a God of the dead but of the living: for all live unto him" Jesus in Luke 20.38
"You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Matthew 7.16
"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much". Luke 16.10

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