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Movie Review: Anonymous
Who Wrote Shakespeare?
jvmatucha wrote in who_wrote_shake
The movie Anonymous works on the premise that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote the famous plays attributed to Shakespeare. What's remarkable about this film is not the subject matter, which has been a famous anti-Startfordian theory for decades, but that this idea was made into a major motion picture.

Finally regular everyday people not familiar with this literary controversy will get a chance to find out about this subject, a subject to many orthodox Startfordians would prefer to bury.

Edweard de Vere is a major claimant as author of the Shakespeare plays in the authorship controversy, among a few other major and many other minor claimants. This film is a dramatization on the supposition that de Vere was the true author. We see the Earl attending plays in London, supposedly as just a patron of the arts. In truth he's been writing plays, and has been coercing Ben Johnson, a noted playwright of the time and the publisher of the original first folio of the Shakespearen plays, to produce the plays anonymously. It's an unplanned twist in the movie that brings Shakespeare to the fore as the front man for the plays.

Edward de Vere is seen going through his trails and hob-knobbings with the aristocracy, particularly Queen Elizabeth and the powerful Cecil family. The story tells us exactly why someone like the Earl would have to covertly write and produce plays, one of the reasons being that it was considered a vulgarish form of hoi-polloi entertainment by much of the aristocracy at the time.

It does refer to a lot of facts, facts that make many Startfordians squirm. The Shakespearean plays are rich in many facets of learned life: The law, (Lots of legal jargon,) mainland Europe, (Many of the plays take place in Italy and France and at least one in Denmark,) warfare, sea faring, and falconry. The plays are rich with French and Latin phrases. Well, it just so happens Edward de Vere was well educated, a lawyer, had fought in several battles, sailed on the seas against the Spanish armada, traveled around mainland Europe including travles in France and Italy, and knew a lot about falconry.

He was also in the middle of the Queen's Court and the aristocracy, which is where Shakespeare's plays are set. Even more complelling, there are many solid references to Edward's having been a playwright, yet no plays have been found with his name on them. If he was being talked about as a playwright, where are the plays? Perhaps right in front of everyone who's ever set eyes on a Shakespeare play!

The movie does take a lot of liberties, especially with Queen Elizabeth's sex life. (She was rumored to have had many lovers. Hey, she was the queen after all!) There's also lots of suppositioning about the Essex rebellion.

This is a movie that uses the Oxfordian theory for an entertaining drama. I very much enjoyed the film, and I suspect some of the reviews of this film were influenced by Startfordian convictions. Seriously, they really make Shakespeare look like a total doink in this movie!


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