I went to the cinema to see Anonymous this afternoon. For those who don’t know, it claims that Shakespeare was paid by a noblemen (the Earl of Oxford) to pretend to be a writer and put his name to the plays, simply because the Earl could not be seen to write them himself (for political reasons). The theory is not proven, as many theories are left unproven (by science), but it explores an idea. I didn’t know, but apparently scholars have been debating the matter for the last 200 years.

Did William Shakespeare write the plays and poems that carry his name? Did the Earl of Oxford?

Before going to see the film, and after seeing it, I’ve looked at various people’s comments on the Youtube trailer, giving their thoughts. There were a lot of comments (most of which swiftly disappeared) which were of an appallingly aggressive attitude. People wrote saying that it was William Shakespeare, that they were insulted at anyone tarnishing his name, and were… angry to put it mildy.

Oh come now. We didn’t live 400 years ago. Who knows? And does it matter so much as to bring about aggression? Surely it is the words that matter more than the name? The universal message we can take from the writing (or the non-universal message we can learn from) rather than the small facts?  May I be so bold as to use some words from Romeo and Juliet:

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”

Hmm. Words are such a powerful thing.

I’m sure, if it came to be true that it was in fact the Earl of Oxford, he would be happy that he had finally been discovered to be the true writer. But I’m also sure that what has and always will mean more to him, is the message that people take from the writing. And the same for William Shakespeare if he was the true writer – it is what we take from the words.

Am I a fan of “Shakespeare’s” writing? Sometimes. For example, I love this:

“This above all: to thine own self be true.” – Hamlet (Act I, Scene III).

Not everything needs a name to it. Sometimes we’re alright to settle with the anonymous message. Remember Matthew 6:

‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Did Jesus write it? I assume not. Did Jesus say it? Well I believe that he said something along those lines, but I can’t expect the people writing it down to remember everything word for word, and translations from the original language always vary. I do believe that it’s Jesus’ message. God’s message of sharing and giving selflessly. But if you don’t believe it is God’s message, yet still think it is a true moral, a message which is inspiring and should be spread… again I share:

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”

A Rose, Jesus, Elohim, Yhwh, Allah, Brahman… whatever name we believe in, it’s the “anonymous” message that matters… in the passage from the Gospel of Matthew the message that sharing should come before boasting, that loving should come before claiming power… it is my personal belief at least, that God, who is Love, would rather we called him a blimming Tulip and loved one another, then called him God and destroyed one another for being “different”.

Praise be to Tulip? 🙂

This entry was posted in *Favourites*, Bible (passages and study), Book Quotes, Christianity, Deep Thinking, Love, Poetry, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Anonymous

  1. paul deakin says:

    What a lovely deep meaningful message – you should send it in for the parish magazine. I shall look forward to seeing the film

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