Names Linked

to Amelia's Life

Other Clues


to Amelia

Henry VI, Part II

Henry VI, Part III

Henry VI, Part I

Richard IIIEngland

Comedy of Errors


(modern Turkey)

1592-93Aemilia, Luciana
Musical metaphors
Titus Andronicus
Rome1593-94Bassianus, Aemilius

Taming of the ShrewPadua1593-94

Baptista Minola,

Katharina, Nicholas

110 musical allusions and allegories;

parallels to falconry techniques;

musical references and allusions;

set in Italia; strong female character:


Katherine (Kate) is described in as dark skinned, perhaps like Amelia saw herself: 

"Kate like the hazel-twig
Is straight and slender and as brown in hue
As hazel nuts and sweeter than the kernels."

Two Gentlemen of VeronaVerona1594-95



Set in Italia—a location likely

familiar to Amelia but not Shakespeare.

Love Labour's LostNavarre, Spain

Character named Holofernes, a

schoolmaster who plays the role of

Judas Maccabeus in the Pageant of the Nine

Worthies — an allusion to the story in

the Book of Judith in which the

historical Holofernes — an invading

general of Nebuchadnezzar — is taken

down by Judith, a Hebrew widow.
Musical imagery and references

Romeo and JulietVerona1594-95

Many verses in iambic pentameter with

romance language sentence structures;

musical imagery; set in Italia; strong female

character development: Juliet

Richard IIEngland1595-96Lord Willoughby

Midsummer Night's DreamAthens1595-96

Parallels to allegories in Judaic texts

(Mishna-Tractate Nedarim, Zohar/

Kabbalah); allegories to the Maccabees

and Titus during destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70; many musical allusions and allegories; use 

of Hebrew word (Nadar) as character name;

Strong female character: Titania (Queen of Fairies) 

King JohnEngland1596-97

Merchant of VeniceVenice1596-97Bassanio, Antonio

Hebrew-English connection with name

Shylock; Hebrew connection to name

Portia (lead); several musical allusions; set in Venice;

strong female character: Portia; other Judaic and Hebrew language associations.

Henry IV - Part 1England1597-98

Henry IV - Part 2England1597-98

Much Ado About NothingMessini, Sicily
1598-99Margaret, Antonio

Musical imagery; partial parallel to

Amelia’s experience with Simon

Forman emphasizing double

standard for men and women;

strong female character: Beatrice

Julius CaesarRome1599-1600Aemilius Lepidus

English phrases that parallel phrases

used by Italian author Tasso in

Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem

Delivered); set in Italia

As You Like ItForest of Arden

Forest of Arden, a possible allusion

to Eden. Some see play as an edenic

allegory, suggested supported by

inclusion of a character named

Adam, a kindly old servant.

Musical references and allusions;

strong female character: Rosalind

Twelfth NightIllyria, Greece
1599-1600AntonioStrong female character: Viola

Musical references; Amelia’s

connection with Peregrine Bertie,

English ambassador to Denmark; detailed descriptions of the Danish castle layout and royal guard uniforms); strong female characters: Queen

Gertrude​, Ophelia

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Musical references
Troilus and Cressida
Troy (modern Turkey)1601-02

Musical imagery and allusions;

strong female character: Cressida

All's Well That Ends Well

Ladino spoken (by Parolles)

embedded as nonsense language

but flows with dialogue and is in context; musical references

Measure for Measure

English phrases that are

translations from Italian author

Dante’s Inferno (which had not been

translated into English at the time)

OthelloVenice & Cyprus

163 lines added after Shakespeare’s

death expanding role of Emilia;

18 references to ‘willow’ (linked to

Katharine Willoughby?); detailed

description of fresco in Bassano

del Grappa; musical allusions and


Othello is a black man, referred to as a Blackamoor. 

King LearBritain1605-06

English phrases that parallel phrases

by Italian author Dante’s Purgatorio;

strong female characters: Cordelia

and Regan; holds many echoes of

the biblical Job – its eponymous

protagonist, like Job, is a great man

who experiences a remarkable reversal of fortune.


Parallels to parts of Italian author

Dante’s Inferno; musical allusions a

nd references; strong female; character: Lady Macbeth

Antony and Cleopatra
Roman Empire1606-07

Musical instrument references

(trumpet and tambourine);

strong female character: Cleopatra


Timon of Athens

PericlesAntioch, Turkey & Tyre, Lebanon

Musical references and imagery
The Winter's TaleSicilia

Musical allusions, instrument

references (bagpipe) and to

ballads and ballet

The TempestRemote Island1611-12Alonso, Antonio

Spirit named Ariel (Hebrew name

meaning “lion of God”); Musical references and imagery

Henry VIIIEngland1612-13

The Two Noble Kinsmen*


One of the most frequently played musical pieces accompanying performances of Shakespeare's plays in his day was "King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid", a ballad about an African king his love for the beggar Penelophon. 

Dark lady references


References to playing keyboards,

another man, Italian phrases



shakespeare's conspirator

Did a Jewish woman write many of Shakespeare's plays? Was she a woman of color? Did she embed clues in the scripts pointing to her identity and authorship?

Explore the Shakespeare Authorship Question and the Evidence Pointing to Amelia Bassano Lanier 

* Mabillard notes: Two Noble Kinsmen is listed as one of Shakespeare's plays although few scholars believe it not to be an original work by Shakespeare. The majority of the play was probably written by John Fletcher, who was a prominent actor and Shakespeare's close friend. Fletcher succeeded Shakespeare as foremost dramatist for the King's Men (the successor to Lord Chamberlain's Men). 

Author Ghislain Muller has suggested that Shakespeare himself was a crypto-Jew with a grandfather named Shapiro in “Was Shakespeare a Jew?: Uncovering the Marrano Influences in His Life and Writing.” And in “Shylock Is Shakespeare,” author Kenneth Gross argues that the key to understanding the character of Shakespeare’s most notorious Jewish character is to view him as the voice of the playwright himself.

It’s the author’s theory that Amelia Bassano Lanier wrote most, if not all of Shakespeare’s comedies, beginning with A Comedy of Errors, which is when the genre of Shakespeare’s scripts suddenly departs from historical, monarchial dramas. Even now, it is very unusual for a playwright or novelist to make such a radical shift. It also seems more than a coincidence that the plays set in Venice and other parts of what is today Italy were first performed during and soon after the years Amelia lived there. Therefore, the clues are identified within the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays below.

Shakespeare’s Conspirator is true to the generally accepted sequence and years in which Shakespeare’s plays were initially performed.


The chronology below was created by Amanda Mabillard of Shakespeare Online.It is consistent with similar chronologies, although each has slight date variations. 

As Mabillard writes, “It is impossible to know the exact order of succession because there is no record of the first production date of any of Shakespeare's works. However, scholars have decided upon a specific play chronology, based upon the following sources of information: 1) several historical events and allusions to those events in the plays; 2) the records of performances of the plays—taken from such places as Henslowe's diary and the diaries of other Shakespeare contemporaries like John Manningham (a student at the Inns of Court), and Thomas Platter (a Swiss businessman); 3) the publication dates of sources; 4) the dates that the plays appear in print (remembering that the production of a play immediately followed the completion of that play in the Elizabethan age). Despite the fact that we have an accepted play chronology, we must keep in mind that the dating is conjectural.” 

Added to Mabillard’s chronology is information on the “Location/Setting” for each play, “Character Names Connected with Amelia’s Life,” and “Other Clues Pointing to Amelia.” These additions summarize the pattern of clues Amelia Bassano Lanier may have left behind as evidence of her involvement in writing Shakespearian plays. This picture was formed by drawing on the research of John A. Hudson and David Basch, who have written several articles making these and other connections. (Note: Basch theorizes that Shakespeare may have been Jewish.) Please refer to the "Premise" page for a discussion of why these are identified as clues. More detailed discussions can be found by reading source material listed on the"Bibliography"page. Many links are provided.

While some of the "clues" in the table below may seem more like a coincidence, weak, or a stretch as stand-alone evidence, the overall pattern paints a compelling picture. Can they all be coincidence?