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Shakespeare or ‘Fake’speare ?

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Shakespeare or ‘Fake’speare ?


Shakespeare (26 April 1564- 23 April 1616) hits the headlines again. London’s Globe Theatre is staging Shakespeare’s 37 plays in 37 different languages. Even Sign Language and Swahili of East Africa are included in the languages. Shakespeare’s dramas were staged by famous drama troupes in few of the Indian languages such as Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali and Urdu.

Shakespeare is one of the greatest playwrights of the world. But the controversy regarding the authorship of his dramas has been raging for a long time. It has started 400 years ago, when Shakespeare was alive. Famous personalities such as Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman James Joyce, contributed to this debate.

The 2011 film Anonymous added fuel to this controversy. A group of scholars argued that one hand could not have written so many dramas. Some even doubted Shakespeare’s knowledge in different fields. His drams are incomparable with so many characters and so many different subjects.
The script for the film “Anonymous” was written by John Orloff. He stumbled upon the authorship debate while he was working for an advertising agency and did lot of research for 25 years before writing the script. He argued that Edward de Verre was the true author of these dramas. Edward was the 17[SUP]th[/SUP] Earl of Oxfod. Roland Emmerich of “Independence Day” fame directed the film Anonymous.

Few of the British Newspapers gave the headlines: Shakespeare or Fakespeare when the controversy was discussed.

In one of his interviews Orloff said “There’s no evidence that Shakespeare actually wrote anything and I don’t think anyone can be totally convinced either way”. “In 400 years, there’s been nothing discovered that was written by William Shakespeare. We have letters and manuscripts by his contemporaries. People left pieces of paper that they actually wrote. But not a single one exists by Shakespeare. All the evidence is circumstantial whether you think it’s him or you don’t think it’s him.”

Fans of the Bard say he is often a victim of snobbish disbelief that a middle class person from the West Midlands could write so lyrically and coined so many famous phrases.
But this controversy had some good side effects as well. Interest in Shakespeare is revived Tourism in his birth place Stratford upon Avon is flourishing.
Anyone who looks at the amazing statistics about Shakespeare would doubt whether one person did this.

Shakespeare wrote 37 plays in addition to several poems.
The total number of lines in all his plays is 34,896.
Hamlet is the longest of his plays- number of lines 4042
The Comedy of Errors is the shortest of his plays with 1787 lines.
He has created 1221 characters.
He has written 884 429 words in his 43 works (including sonnets).
There are unique 28,829 word forms and 12493 of them occur only once. His plays are:

1 Two Gentlemen of Verona
2 Taming of the Shrew
3 Henry VI, part 1
4 Henry VI, part 3
5 Titus Andronicus
6 Henry VI, part 2
7 Richard III
8 The Comedy of Errors
9 Love's Labours Lost
10 A Midsummer Night's Dream
11 Romeo and Juliet
12 Richard II
13 King John
14 The Merchant of Venice
15 Henry IV, part 1
16 The Merry Wives of Windsor
17 Henry IV, part 2
18 Much Ado About Nothing
19 Henry V
20 Julius Caesar
21 As You Like It
22 Hamlet
23 Twelfth Night
24 Troilus and Cressida
25 Measure for Measure
26 Othello
27 All's Well That Ends Well
28 Timon of Athens
29 The Tragedy of King Lear
30 Macbeth
31 Anthony and Cleopatra
32 Pericles, Prince of Tyre
33 Coriolanus
34 Winter's Tale
35 Cymbeline
36 The Tempest
37 Henry VIII

Stamps issued by Great Britain 1964

His contribution to English is great. We use lot of phrases coined by him today. Look at the list of some of his phrases:

A foregone conclusion
An eyesore
A tower of Strength
As dead as a door nail
As pure as the driven snow
Cold comfort
Eaten out of house and home
Fair play
Fancy free
Fight fire with fire
Foul play
Good riddance
Green eyed monster
In a pickle
In the twinkling of an eye
It is all Greek to me
Kill with kindness
Make your hair stand on end
Murder most foul
Send him packing
Set your teeth on edge
The be all and end all
The dog will have its day
The game is afoot
The naked truth
The Queen’s English
There’s method in my madness
Tongue- tied
Truth will out
Up in arms
Vanish into thin air
With goose chase

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