As the results of linguistic fingerprinting tests and other research came out, it was realized that William Shakespeare had a huge role in scripting scenes and passages in three of the Elizabethan plays which were believed to have been written by someone else till date.
A major edition of plays by Shakespeare will now include The Spanish Tragedy, Arden of Faversham and Mucedorus. A Shakespearean scholar Jonathan Bate has revealed that he is fully convinced about the fact that Shakespeare had given some inputs towards specific parts of those plays.
The three plays mentioned above will be incorporated in the edition which Jonathan is editing with the help of other scholars in collaboration with a firm called Palgrave Macmillan and Royal Shakespeare Company. The play titled Shakespeare Apocrypha has been a matter of curiosity for a number of scholars who claim and counterclaim the fact that Shakespeare could have written dramas after the 36 in the First Folio, an edition compiled by fellow actors after he expired. Ever since the 18th century, there have been a lot of arguments over the existence of plays beyond the ��authorized” collection. Facts supported with strong evidence will be brought out on October 28th with the release of the book titled “William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays”.
Bate, who happens to be a professor of English literature at the Oxford remarks that the issue over Shakespeare’s involvement is the most glaring shortcoming in the Shakespearean scholarship of the 21st century. When every surviving play of that period is evaluated with the help of computers, it is revealed that Shakespeare’s involvement as a rewriter, reviser and collaborator is very evident.
The anonymously published Arden of Faversham is a domestic tragedy of the 1590s and is going to be staged by RSC in the spring. It is the story of a woman from Faversham, Kent who kills her husband with the help of her lover. She washes away his blood in a manner which brings to us the memories of Lady Macbeth. The book brings out several facts such as use of rare words like “copesmate” meaning companion along with some other distinctive comparisons such as that of comparing an anxious mind to a muddied fountain. All such observations point towards Shakespeare’s hand behind the plays at some or the other stage of their creation.
The play is very well known among literature enthusiasts and many of them have made several arguments about its authorship. However, the latest revelation is that at least one of the scenes which depict an encounter between lovers is penned by Shakespeare. It has also been revealed that the possible author of other scenes is Thomas Kyd.
Kyd is famous for “The Spanish Tragedy” which happens to be a revenge drama written in 1580s. It had several other scenes added to it which have been attributed to William Shakespeare rather than Ben Johnson after undergoing testing by computers.
Bate has remarked that the play has some amazing extra scenes and dialogues debating whether or not it is possible for a painter to portray grief in such details or is it only the forte of a poet. Circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that The Spanish Tragedy was transferred to Shakespeare’s acting company and that the main character was played by Richard Burbage, his close friend for whom he penned down Hamlet and King Lear later.
Mucedorus is a tragi-comedy of the 1590s which was revived by Shakespeare’s acting company in the year 1610 and some extra scenes were added to it. Bate claims that at least one of those scenes has several linguistic fingerprints of Shakespeare. There has been use of phrases such as “worthless trunk (also used in Henry V) and “exit, pursued by a bear” (also used in The Winter’s Tale) which are very characteristic of Shakespeare.
Bate finally questions whether the writing is worthy of Shakespeare and concludes that at least the passages in “The Spanish Tragedy” are. Stanley Wells, another scholar says that Shakespeare was a great genius as well as a jobbing playwright. While taking a new look at the plays in which Shakespeare may have contributed does not make them any better, they certainly raise the level of our understanding of his professionalism.
The RSC’s director described the new findings to be fascinating but maintained that the ultimate test is when actors have to deliver words from their mouths. He believes that the plays were written in a much more collaborative manner in those times than what we realize now.