I posted this in response to a posts on PlayShakespeare.com. So I'm re-posting here.
This discussion brings up an important point about some of the authorship evidence and that I have long had some ideas about. I’m coming from the Baconian perspective and I have felt challenged by some of the Oxfordian arguments. I’ve read a fair amount about the Oxfordian evidence, including Hank Whittemore’s “100 Reasons why Oxford was Shakespeare”. And my conclusions is that there is enough evidence for me to believe that Oxford was likely involved with the Shakespeare mystery. So then I have felt a need to explain how Bacon could still be the primary Shakespeare author while accounting for some of the Oxfordian evidence.
We begin with the acknowledgement that these two persons seem to have the best overall qualifications to have been the secret Shakespeare. This conclusion is based on the extensive and widely collected technical knowledge that the writer Shakespeare has embedded throughout the plays and poetry in such a natural, unforced and seemingly unconscious manner that this knowledge was a deep part of his mental structure. In brief, Shakespeare has demonstrated impressive technical knowledge (as noted by Ron in an earlier post) on the topics of:
Law, Philosophy, Classical Literature and Mythology, then modern History and Literature including French and Italian language sources and apparently some Hebrew, Music, Medicine, Heraldry, Military and navel terminology and tactics, Geographical exploration, especially Italy, Etiquette and manners of the nobility in English, French, and Italian courts, Aristocratic pastimes, Botany-Zoology-Ornithology, Horticulture, The Bible, Emblems, Witchcraft, Science and Astronomy, as well as the Universities, especially Cambridge with its own particular vernacular and its connection to Dr. Caius.
The legal knowledge itself has been argued to rule out anyone not formally trained in the law. The Stratfordian defenders have failed completely and miserably at demonstrating that their man had any of this profound knowledge or that he could have, even theoretically, have ever possessed much of it.
Now, regarding Oxford’s many connections to the Shakespeare works, and that was questioned earlier if others could have known about them, I ask that you keep in mind that Francis Bacon had spent much time at the courts of both Elizabeth and James. And that Oxford’s exploits and adventurous life was likely much gossiped about among court insiders. That Lord Burghley was Bacon’s uncle and Robert Cecil was his cousin. That he had easy access to Lord Burghley’s library as well as that of Robert Cotton where exists the only surviving manuscript of Beowulf, as also the great library of John Dee. That Bacon, while at Trinity College, dedicated a philosophical discourse to Christopher Hatten on The Anatomy of the Mind. That the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery were his acquaintances and business partners. Southampton was a friend of his until his imprisonment. That Marlowe also, being a spy, was likely well known to the Bacon brothers due to their extensive espionage activities, and that many Shakespeare related books once thought to have belonged to Marlowe were later found to actually have been in possession of the Bacon brothers. That Francis and his brother Anthony were long companions and intimate supporters of The Earl of Essex. So Bacon was best positioned and motivated, if he had been a hidden playwright, to promote Essex through a popular play.
“Shapiro points out that references to Ireland abound in the Henry V play, and Shakespeare is trying to inspire the crowd to think about how glorious Essex's victories in Ireland will be.”
Now, another thing I’ve thought about, is that Baconians believe that a small group of Bacon’s closest friends that loved literature, were in on his writing under the pseudonym of Shakespeare. Naturally, they were sworn or obligated to keep this a secret amongst themselves. A small group of others (the Queen, some nobility, Ben Jonson) either knew or suspected this also. And if this was true, then these and other insightful readers, who also had met or knew about the actor/businessman from Stratford, would also have understood that this man couldn’t possibly have been the real author.
But for those in the aristocracy, especially that may have felt lampooned in the Shakespeare works, and those in the universities, and those in the close knit writing community, that understood this but that didn’t know who the real author was, how could Bacon have tried to put them off the scent, or been prepared to plausibly deny that he was the hidden author? One hypothesis I’ve had is that Bacon deliberately put in enough hints of Oxfordian connections, including even a clever cipher or two, that could be used to suggest Oxford’s possible authorship, especially after Oxford had died. If this was the case then Oxford himself may have even approved of this as long as he was not portrayed in any negative light. Some Bacon papers have been found to have been in Oxford’s possession. And they certainly would have known each other at Burghley’s home and at the court.
Now a counter argument would be that such evidence actually supports Oxford as the real Shakespeare. But this would only be true if there wasn’t more and better evidence for Bacon, which I believe there is.
In any case, I do believe that any argument for any possible alternate candidate has to account for at least some of the good evidence used to support other candidates.