Further Response:
Shakespeare's Acting Career

Part 9 of "Critically Examining Oxfordian Claims"

Pat Dooley's second post, reacting to SHAXICON, is such a gross misrepresentation of the facts that I hardly know where to begin. Why don't I just go through it point by point.
         DOOLEY:
         "The Shaxicon work is interesting but doesn't tell
         us much about the authorship question. First,
         let's address the acting issue. It turns out that
         the only cast lists that include William
         Shakespeare are posthumous.  The Ben Jonson First
         Folio was published in 1616, the year William
         Shakespeare died."
Well, technically you don't know that the Jonson lists were posthumous; the Jonson Folio was not entered in the Stationers Register, so it might have come out while Shakespeare was still alive. That being said, I should point out that the cast lists in the Jonson First Folio were the first to be printed in the entire Elizabethan theatre; no actor appeared in a printed cast list before 1616. Also, I don't understand this standard Oxfordian dismissal of all posthumous evidence about Shakespeare. I take it the idea is that the conspirators waited until Shakespeare was safely dead before they started fabricating evidence. Well, as I pointed out in a previous post, all of the evidence for Christopher Marlowe's literary career is posthumous. By your standards, you should dismiss all evidence that Marlowe was a playwright or poet, and if you don't, you're being wildly inconsistent.
         DOOLEY:
         "While Shakespeare was alive and supposedly acting
         in London, he left only one record of so doing -
         the allusion to Shake-Scene in Groatsworth of Wit."
I'm not sure I follow you. What about: I'm well aware that Oxfordians try to dismiss all these perfectly ordinary records because they conflict with what Oxfordians want to believe, but if you want to I'll discuss any or all of them and show how groundless such dismissals are.
         DOOLEY:
         "That paucity makes Shakespeare virtually unique
         amongst Elizabethan actors."
Oh, bull. The records of Shakespeare's acting career are perfectly ordinary for the time, and are more than what we have for the vast majority of Elizabethan actors.
         DOOLEY:
         "One only has to consult E K Chamber's exhaustive
         compilation of acting records in "The Elizabethan
         Stage V.2" to see how deficient Shakespeare is in
         the acting credits department. He rates just two
         lines (including two question marks).  Burbage
         gets five pages."
Actually, Burbage gets three pages, plus two lines on a different page at the beginning and two lines on a different page at the end.
         DOOLEY:
         "Condell gets a full page. Kempe gets two and a
         half pages. Tarlton gets three and a half pages.
         If Shakespeare was an actor, and I don't doubt
         that he may have been an actor, his appearances
         must have been severely limited."
In The Elizabethan Stage, Chambers presents biographical sketches of people involved in the Elizabethan theater in whatever area they are best known for. Burbage, Condell, Kempe, and Tarlton were best known as actors, so their biographies appear in the Actors section. Tarlton was also a playwright, so in the section on Playwrights he gets a brief listing, along with a pointer to his full bio in the Actors section. William Shakespeare is primarily known as a playwright, so his bio is in the Playwrights section; since he was also an actor, he gets a brief listing in the Actors section along with a pointer to his full bio under Playwrights. The length of his entry under Actors has nothing to do with the amount of evidence for his acting career, since as I said before this is greater that for most other actors of the day. Thomas Heywood was an actor for over 20 years, longer than Shakespeare, yet he gets a line and a half in the Actors section; this is because he was better known as a playwright, and his two-page bio can be found under Playwrights.
         DOOLEY:
         "If he had played anything like the number of parts
         that the Shaxicon work suggests then it is highly
         improbable that he would have left so few records."
No, it's not, as I've been trying to explain. The records we have are about what we should expect, and are perfectly consistent with SHAXICON.
         DOOLEY:
         "(He did leave plenty of evidence of his financial
         involvement in the theater business, so it is even
         odder that the acting records are so, well,
         non-existent.)"
Huh? Almost all the evidence of Shakespeare's financial involvement in the theater comes from lawsuits filed after his death. So you accept this evidence, and even try to use it to support your position, yet you dismiss the (marginally) posthumous acting evidence from the Jonson Folio. I see.
         DOOLEY:
         "The alternatives we are thus left with are:
           (i) somebody selectively destroyed Shakespeare's
               acting records
          (ii) the Shaxicon work is completely wrong
         (iii) the laws of probability got suspended, yet
               again, for William Shakespeare
          (iv) some other guy was the actor/author"
Try (v), none of the above. No "laws of probability" have to be suspended, because as I've been saying, the surviving records of Shakespeare's acting career are similar to those of other members of the Chamberlain's/King's Men, and are what we should expect.
         DOOLEY:
         "The Shaxicon suggests that the author took older
         parts. That would sit well with Oxford acting
         in-cognito, since he would have been 50 by 1600,
         elderly by Elizabethan standards.

         "Sonnet 110 says:
            'Alas, 'tis true I have gone here and there
            And made myself a motley to the view,
            Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,...'
         which could be interpreted as saying that the
         author had appeared on the stage, and, like a true
         feudal aristocrat, had shamed himself by doing
         something so unthinkable."
So you're actually suggesting that Oxford had an acting career spanning some 20 years, presumably as a member of the Chamberlain's/King's Men, despite the complete lack of external evidence for such a thing, and despite the considerable evidence of Oxford's activities over the years, not including acting. I don't usually apply the word "fantasy" to Oxfordian scenarios, but it applies here.
         DOOLEY:
         "Pretty flimsy conjecture, I admit, but no shakier
         than postulating an extensive acting career for
         someone who left just one acting record while he
         lived."
I'd say your entire case, particularly the attempt to explain away William Shakespeare's acting career, is pretty flimsy. No, make that very flimsy.


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