Q: Sam, how do you respond to those who find it absolutely implausible that Marlowe's death was faked and that Shakespeare was a frontman?
Sam: I think I show in my book how the faked death was engineered by Burghley, his son Robert, and Thomas Walsingham. Obviously it was a risky enterprise, but there was no choice. If Marlowe was to be saved, that was the only way to do it.
Indeed, it is the faked death which makes this story so extraordinary. When Marlowe took on another identity and went into exile, no one could have predicted that he would go on to write these masterpieces. But a way had to be found whereby these new plays could be staged.
Was Shakespeare deliberately set up to be the frontman for Marlowe's works? As a theatre shareholder he could receive the plays and as an actor take part in their staging. And obviously he had the cooperation of the other shareholders. The whole operation worked quite smoothly.
There has always been much speculation as to how Shakespeare became an actor and a theatre shareholder. But now it seems possible that he was helped into that position by others in order to be a front for the receipt of the plays. Probably Thomas Walsingham and Ed Blount knew that the plays were not only masterpieces but potential moneymakers.
Shakespeare had established his discretion and reliability when he signed the dedications to Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. From being a poet, he then becomes an actor and a shareholder. An interesting advancement of his career. And he gets publicity from Meres which solidifies his reputation as a "playwright."
Obviously, there is much more involved with Shakespeare's career than meets the eye.
© The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, July 2008
Samuel Blumenfeld, a World War II veteran of the Italian campaign, has authored more than ten books. His latest, The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection: A New Study of the Authorship Question, was published by McFarland. He is a former editor in the New York book publishing industry and has lectured widely on a diverse range of subjects. He is a regular contributor to MSC.
Click here for Sam's discussion on fake death and exile clues in Shakespeare.
See Sam on YouTube addressing the authorship controversy.
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