A literary rumination
or hundreds of years, literary theorists have debated the authorship of Shakespeare’s oeuvre. Some claim Francis Bacon penned the plays under a pseudonym; others give credit to the dramatist Christopher Marlowe. Most established scholars defend the Bard of Avon, citing his copyrights as proof enough of the works’ creative provenance. But the vastness of Shakespeare’s output — 38 plays, 154 sonnets — will always give me pause. I’ve studied the bard’s immortal works since I was just a child. And it just seems unbelievable to me that one man, no matter how preternaturally unique, could have been so fucking boring.
I’ll never forget the day I first met Shakespeare. I was in a library when he spoke to me, a voice across the centuries, howling out from the pages of a gilded tome. I sat with him for hours, reading his verses, hearing his words inside my head. My heart began to race! What was that stirring in my breast, as if someone had lit my soul aflame? What was that feeling? It was boredom. Boredom, but also rage at being forced to read something so boring. My God, how could it be so fucking boring?
It’s hard to say what makes Shakespeare’s plays so boring. Is it his lazy, convoluted plots, mostly stolen from the Greeks, which rely on chance encounters to advance the baffling story lines? Is it his constant use of cheap sex puns, which would be considered juvenile by the standards of most children? Is it his characters’ endless speeches, which are so incredibly boring it’s almost unbelievable? In truth, it’s all these things. But it’s also this: It sucks.
So did Shakespeare really write all his plays? It seems unfair to blame him for the entire canon. How could one man be so utterly devoid of mercy as to have inflicted all 38 tortures on the public? Is it really possible he wrote each line himself, scrawling out the verse in his own hand? I certainly hope so, because if he dictated his scripts to a secretary, she probably would have killed herself.
There are other enigmas: Did Shakespeare’s contemporaries actually enjoy his plays or were they only pretending, like how we do now? Was there ever a time when someone said, “I like Shakespeare” and meant it? Or were they all pretentious liars like the people who now claim to like Shakespeare? Also, was Shakespeare trying to be boring? Or was he just naturally untalented as a writer?
We’ll never know the answer to these riddles. But there’s one thing we can all agree on: There will never be another William Shakespeare. We hope.