Your RDA of Irony

The Barred of Avon

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!  Instead of blowing out candles, however, the fashion is to try snuffing out his reputation.

Among the cultural arbiters of Western Civilization, Shakespeare’s birthday is now celebrated by denouncing him as merely the front for an aristocratic, university-educated but evidently shy author.  The graduates of Real Cambridge and Nouveau Cambridge insist that a mere yeoman would be incapable of such creativity.

Yet, I cannot imagine that the Earl of Oxford, Christopher Marlowe or Francis Bacon would want to claim credit for “Titus Andronicus.”  Who would?  And all three parts of “Henry VI” do not add up to one good play.   The trilogy is a mess, a slapdash concoction of convoluted history and overripe melodrama. Its plot is virtually impenetrable. There are moments of great theater and traces of brilliant language but they merely glint in the din and confusion of these chaotic plays.

These plays clearly are not the works of a polished aristocrat. On the contrary, they are the early works of a very undisciplined writer who is eager to ingratiate himself to the public. True, these plays were popular, perhaps for the same reasons that movies about mad slashers are popular today.

By the time that Shakespeare wrote “Richard III”, he had developed some discipline. The play may still be an overripe melodrama but it is well-done.  If you believe in creative evolution, it is possible that the perpetrator of “Titus Andronicus” would eventually write “Hamlet” and “The Tempest.” 

But who am I to disagree with “The New York Times”?

  1. Michele says:

    I believe the Shakespeare conspiracy theorists, if genetically tested, will turn out to be closely related to Birthers and tinfoil hat wearers. Perhaps the state of Arizona will do the honors?

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