What if the Bard of Avon never penned those 154 sonnets and 37 plays?

The Chandos portrait, one of several thought to depict William Shakespeare and to have been painted during his lifetime.

There has been much speculation over the years about Shakespeare’s religion, sexual orientation, family background and authorship. Though considered one of the best writers in English literature whose work has made an impact even centuries later in culture, art and literature, the truth behind Shakespeare’s authorship is still a big controversy.

Roland Emmerich’s new film, “Anonymous” shows that “we have all been played”.

Dave Itzkoff of NYT Arts Beat writes:

Anonymous posits that William Shakespeare (played by Rafe Spall) was merely a front man for Edward de Vere (Rhys Ifans), an aristocrat whom the film presents as the true author of Shakespeare’s plays.”

Laura Miller, Salon.com’s book and film critic is not giving the film her nod of approval. She writes:

“Being largely incomprehensible, Anonymous seems unlikely to stimulate much thought on what’s known as the “authorship debate.” This is no The Da Vinci Code, despite its roots in a similarly convoluted conspiracy theory involving clandestine lineages, elaborate codes and people who inexplicably try to keep secrets by implanting clues about them in works of art. Nevertheless, by attempting to weave the fancies of the Oxfordians into a coherent narrative, Anonymous does highlight the over-the-top melodrama inherent in anti-Stratfordianism itself.”

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, British charity organization that promotes the study and life of Shakespeare, is protesting the release of Anonymous, by covering Shakespeare’s name on several signs in Warwickshire, the British county that was the playwright’s home.

Dr. Paul Edmondson, the trust’s head of knowledge and research, told the BBC: “This film flies in the face of a mass of historical fact, but there is a risk that people who have never questioned the authorship of Shakespeare’s works could be hoodwinked.” He added that his group’s protest “barely scratches the surface, but we hope it will remind people of the enormous legacy we owe to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.”

Meanwhile, the Shakespeare Oxford Society documents and establishes Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604), as the universally recognized author of the works of William Shakespeare.

Have a look-see at the trailer below:

Do you think it’s one of the world’s greatest mystery stories or just another Hollywood political thriller playing the what if game?


Other interesting reads:

Ten things you didn’t know about Shakespeare

Shakespeare Oxford Society – Dedicated to researching and honoring the true bard