Was Shakespeare a cheat?

Our English class e7, 12th grade, is currently grappling with the inherently rather difficult topic of William Shakespeare, the famous and immortal playwright and poet from Stratford upon Avon. His renowned play Romeo and Juliet is being read and discussed by students who frequently are at the end of their tether since the author´s vocabulary obviously transcends theirs by a large margin. And still, they are making due progress.

Coincidentally, a new movie came up just in time to provide a new focus to this topic. Roland Emmerich´s Anonymus raises the question as to the true authorship of all works connected with the bard from Stratford. So, after some introductory discussion and information in class, the larger part of the course went to see the movie in Würzburg.

It´s certainly worth seeing, since it provides a persuasive image of Shakespeare´s time set mostly in Elizabethan London. The class divide, the court, the theater – celebrated by some and bedeviled by others – love and war, various outstanding personalities, yes, and then a clear statement made by the script that this William Shakespeare is just an “upstart crow“ who got his fame without ever writing a word of his own. Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford is presented as the fated real author, both son and lover of his queen. He is a prolific writer, working under compulsion who wants to keep his authorship a secret.

Be that as it may, the students and their teacher enjoyed the movie and now have some additional information on the most successful author of the world – and his time.

Manfred Engelhardt