​11 Intriguing Facts About Scripts Attributed to Shakespeare

  1. The 37 five-act plays (plus 154 sonnets) were written in just 23 years.
  2. The first four scripts are about English kings. The fifth, A Comedy of Errors, is an abrupt change in genre (from drama to comedy) and location (England to Ephesus). 
  3. There are no surviving "Shakespearean" scripts in Shakespeare's handwriting.
  4. Linguistic structures suggest the playwright was fluent in romance languages.
  5. There are nearly 2000 musical allusions and 300 distinct musical terms in the scripts, but Shakespeare had no musical education and did not play an instrument.
  6. All the plays set in northern Italy (Verona, Padua, Venice) were written between 1593 and 1597.
  7. The second most frequent character name (appearing 5 times) is Amelia and variations of it. Variations of her last name, Bassano, appear in 2 scripts.
  8. Parallels to unique descriptions in ancient Judaic texts appear in A Midsummer Night's Dream, but Shakespeare was not Jewish and had no Judaic education. Nor did he speak Hebrew.
  9. Six plays have prominent characters with dark skin. Two are the title characters. Four are from Morocco in North Africa. This was highly unusual in Elizabethan times. 
  10. English versions of lines from Dante's Divine Comedy are in Measure for Measure, King Lear, and Macbeth, but it was not translated into English until 150 to 200 years after Shakespeare's death. And there is no evidence Shakespeare could speak or read Italian.
  11. In October, 2016, the Oxford University Press, after a detailed analysis, named Christopher Marlowe as co-author of Shakespeare's first three plays (the Henry VI trilogy).

Doubts about Shakespeare continue to grow. Recent forensic research shows Amelia Bassano Lanier wrote at least nine of the scripts attributed to him.

7 Curious Facts about Shakespeare: 

  1. Shakespeare's formal education ended when he was 14 years old.
  2. Shakespeare never set foot outside of England, but 65% of the plays are in foreign lands.
  3. As a commoner, he had no inside knowledge of the court or royalty. 
  4. He married an illiterate woman and raised his daughters as illiterates.
  5. Eight years of his life are unaccounted for.
  6. He spent much of his adult life in London, but nobody knows where he lived.
  7. Shakespeare probably spoke with a strong British Midlands or Warwickshire accent, a dialect that does not appear in any script.

11 Compelling Facts about Emilia (also spelled Æmilia and Amelia) Bassano Lanyer*: 

  1. She became first female poet published in England with a radical treatise advocating for women.
  2. Knew Queen Elizabeth I.
  3. Raised and educated by two aristocratic women beginning at age seven, after her father's death.
  4. She was the daughter of a court musician, recruited from Venice by emissaries of Henry VIII.
  5. Emilia played the lute, harpsichord, and the virginals, giving her the ability to integrate the 300 musical terms and nearly 2000 musical allusions found in the scripts. (Shakespeare had no known musical training.)
  6. Fluent in several foreign languages, including Ladino, Latin, Italian, Veneto, and possibly Greek.
  7. Became the mistress of the Lord Chamberlain (Henry Carey, Lord Hudson) for several years.
  8. Thought by may scholars to be the "Dark Lady" in Shakespeare's sonnets.
  9. Æmilia, was relatively uncommon name in Elizabethan England but was the name (or a slight variation of it) given to six different characters in the plays, more than any other female name. No other Elizabethan playwright used it. Two other characters were named Bassianus and Bassanio, variations of Bassano, her surname. 
  10. Extensive Jewish lineage stretching back to Morocco in the 1300s.
  11. In English court depositions, two of Amelia's cousins are referred to as "black men."

There is no hard evidence supporting Shakespeare's authorship of the plays. There is more circumstantial evidence supporting Emilia Bassano than Shakespeare.

Clues to Emilia's authorship are scattered through 22 or more scripts.  

Shakespeare's Conspirator,is an intriguing historical novel depicting how this may have come about. Click here for a description. For reviews, click here. 

 *Note: The spelling of Emilia's name on this site is based on how it is spelled on the original cover of her poetic volume, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum but using Emilia as the modern spelling of Æmilia. In the first version of the novel, her name is spelled Amelia. This is being changed for subsequent editions.

shakespeare's conspirator

Did a Jewish woman of color write many of Shakespeare's plays?

Did she embed clues in the scripts pointing to her identity and authorship?

Explore the Shakespeare Authorship Question and the Evidence Pointing to Emilia Bassano Lanyer