Shakespeare of London Questions and Answers
by Marchette Gaylord Chute

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From reading the book Shakespeare of London, do you believe that Shakespeare was the true author of the works attributed to him? Specifically, why or why not? Reference: Marchette Chute

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Of course, the authorship of Shakespeare's literature has been debated for centuries; however, because of Chute's exploration of Shakespeare, specifically of Shakespeare as a contemporary of London, I believe that William Shakespeare is truly the author of the works attributed to him.

Let's begin with the opposition, however.  There are people who think the William Shakespeare of the history books did not write the literature attributed to Shakespeare and, most specifically, the most famous of plays.  What would be the best, objective reasoning behind these opponents of Chute?  Well, according to Chute, herself, (who generally shies away from the myths surrounding Shakespeare's life) says that little is known of Shakespeare's early life and he would have been quite limited in his elementary education.  Chute believes Shakespeare was probably only taught from Ovid in his earliest of days and, therefore, didn't have much instruction in rhetoric and the other classical pieces of literature needed for his vast knowledge.  Shakespeare's wife, Anne, had Puritan roots and, therefore, would have disliked plays and playwrights.  The only other indicator of possible lack of authorship was the unrelated fact that Shakespeare earned his money through acting and not through writing.

These tenuous ideas aside, everything else in Chute's book points to Shakespeare being the true author of the literature attributed to him, and I agree.  If one simply looks at the Shakespeare of London title, Chute shows right away that not only did Shakespeare exist, but he existed in the right place in order to write all of his excellent literature.  This idea is furthered by the following quote (and continues to be the main theme of the book):

The root of his genius was Shakespeare’s own but it was London that supplied him with the favoring weather.

A further, albeit indirect, reason is that there are quite a few Shakespearean scholars (such a s Harbage and Campbell) who agree with Chute that Shakespeare authored his own works and, therefore, praised Chute's work for saying so.  They go so far as to say that Chute's biography is the best of her time.

Another really good indication that Shakespeare is the real author is that Chute only uses "contemporary documents" (all earlier than 1636) in order to prove her point.  In doing so, she does not rely on the myths that surfaced after the playwright's death.  Chute also admits her own original ignorance of her subject BEFORE her extensive research so that she could be objective in her own findings.

One of the most poignant reasons behind my belief, based on Chute's findings, that Shakespeare did in fact write the literature is because CHUTE HERSELF BELIEVES SO.  That is evident in her entire work.  Further, when it is not stated directly, it is at least an indirect assumption.  So, we should put her mildly immature thoughts about the content of Shakespeare's plays aside and at least praise her for her objective research proving that Shakespeare was, in fact, a writer.

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