This year I have been reducing all of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets (14-line poems) into quatrains of 140 characters each. On Monday I tweeted them (for Twitter’s specifications I had to reduce them to 136 characters before publishing them).
I reduced them using the only reading of the sonnets that makes complete sense to me: both the Baby Tudor Theory and the Prince Tudor Theory.
These theories can be broken down into three big points.
Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford is the author of the works of William Shakespeare.
In an Oedipal nightmare come true, De Vere is the son of Queen Elizabeth (called the Baby Tudor Theory), …
… and together the two of them had a son of their own, Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton (called the Prince Tudor Theory).
I should point out that for those who believe De Vere is Shakespeare, not of all of them believe all three points, some only believe the first. But for me, the sonnets don’t make sense unless you believe in at least the third point, if not the second.
But to believe in all three points means suddenly everything about the works of Shakespeare makes complete and total sense. (I of course am open to other theories where everything makes sense, but at the moment this is it.)
So here it goes, I invite you to read my tweets. The best way to do that is in these three steps.
Scroll down to the bottom to start from the first sonnet and move to the last (with the exception of one sonnet). Alternatively, scroll below the first sonnet and start a few tweets before the dedication tweet. Either way, you will need to click “more tweets” until you get to where you want to start.
Unlike popular understanding, science is based more on a process of probability than pure evidence. History is not really any different. While no one knows for absolute certainty, the general thought is Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. But when you bring in the process of probability instead of evidence or fact (Shaksper = Shakespeare), the authorship question tilts as far away from Shakespeare as it can get.
Based on probability, I find it very difficult to believe an uneducated man who could barely sign his own name, never traveled outside England, and never came into contact with the royal court, could have written plays with such poetic precision about the royal court both within England and in faraway lands.
The plays are one thing; the sonnets are an entirely different animal. When you know about Edward Devere’s life, once again the probability of him writing these little poems is pretty easy to see. Shaksper-on-Avon? The probability isn’t even close.
These poems of love are a testiment to the author’s against-all-odds struggle for a relationship with whomever they were written for. And it is this unknowable — the person they are directed to — that keeps the authorship debate going.
I am not even going to try to list the pros and cons about the entire debate. That is entirely beyond the scope of this post. But the debate is quite dramatic, which fits well with the works of the author. De Vere lived quite the dramatic life. Shakesper, to an extent yes, but not so much.
I am an Oxfordian (one who believes De Vere is the true author), and quite a fan of William Shakespeare. I have not read very many sonnets. Quite a few, actually. But they are quite the collection of Valentines. Somebody was definitely loved by a man very capable of loving. And writing. To the recipient of such feelings, whoever they may be, Happy Valentine’s Day!