By Laurie Schut
I was considering writing a blog on a book, after all a library is all about books, right? Wrong! At our branch, we see a lot of DVDs go out the door with customers. So... a blog about a movie. Shakespeare in fact. The movie in question, and it is in question, is called Anonymous, and it is questioning whether Shakespeare actually wrote all those plays, or whether someone called Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford did. In this political thriller is the court of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex Rebellion, great sets and even better acting. The evidence piles up nicely in the movie; de Vere had intimate knowledge of the court of Queen Elizabeth I, was well educated, had been to battle, and had travelled abroad to Italy to see the plays. One starts to feel slightly, well, sheepish that one hadn’t the wit to see these facts before. Shakespeare was an actor, had very little schooling, and seemed, in the movie, a buffoon. So... I was swept away by the movie. By the end, I was convinced that Edward de Vere had in fact been Shakespeare, although why he would write under a pseudonym was a little sketchy, and then there were other pesky little facts like his dying and the plays still being written. Never mind, a good conspiracy theory is not to be prodded at too vigorously.
So... I went to work and promptly announced to my co-workers that Edward de Vere was probably (I did say probably, didn’t I, or did I say definitely?) Shakespeare. End of story. Not really. My co-worker Tyler began to do something quite odd. He began to grimace, then shake his head vigorously, then announced right back that I was unequivocally wrong. I believe he said it in no uncertain terms. I was taken aback. He hadn’t seen the movie, clearly. I stated that I had been to see Anonymous and that he should definitely see it. (I didn’t exactly have the facts at my fingertips that the movie had.) He emailed me an article by Stephen Marche of the NY Times and former Shakespeare prof, ( Wouldn't it Be Cool if Shakespeare Wasn't Shakespere? ) and I was chastened. I had to write back and pick up the gauntlet that I had tossed down so carelessly and tuck it back in my sleeve. (Is that what one does with gauntlets?) In the end, I came to this conclusion: the movie was wrong. Gasp. Shakespeare probably is, (should I say definitely?) Shakespeare.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. - William Shakespeare. (Really!)