I have previously argued that merely from a reading of the text of Shakespeare’s plays, it is clear that the author of the plays is William Shakespeare. Only he has the regional, professional, religious and family background needed to have written the specific words we find there. Garry Wills now has an interesting analysis in this vein, drawing particularly on the use of boy actors for women’s parts (required by the law at the time), and the constraints this created for playwrights. I am reminded of the constraints that writers of TV soap-operas work under.
Those who doubt that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare are working, usually, from a false and modern premise. They are thinking of the modern playwright, a full-time literary fellow who writes a drama and then tries to find people who will put it on—an agent to shop it around, a producer to put up the money, a theater as its venue, a director, actors, designers of sets and costumes, musicians and dancers if the play calls for them, and so on. Sometimes a successful playwright sets up an arrangement with a particular company (Eugene O’Neill and the Province- town Players) or director (Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan), but the process still begins with the writer creating his script, before elements are fitted around it, depending on things like which directors or actors are available for and desirous of doing the play. Producers complain that it is almost impossible to assemble the ideal cast for all the roles as the author envisioned them in his isolated act of creation. The modern writer owns the play by copyright and can publish it on his or her own, whether produced or not. None of these things was true of dramatic production in Shakespeare’s time.