Who cares who wrote the works of Shakespeare? The important thing is that we have them.
This is like saying, what does it matter what makes the sky blue, plants grow, rain fall, humans live a certain length of time and then pass on; all we need to know is that it happens, we don’t need to know why.
If this is a satisfactory response to you, Reader, pass on. If your deepest and most immediate response isn’t, “Of course it matters!”––I have nothing to say to you. This blog is for those who care about the whys and wherefores of life. Religion, Science, History, Politics, even the study of language itself, are all the result of the human desire to know why things are the way they are, and how things happen. The time we spend collectively on these issues probably explains the difference in size of the human brain compared with that of our nearest amphibian neighbors.
Everything we learn in school is an approximation of the truth. It is possible to teach the truth, but only through inspiration. By the time the truth reaches the ordinary text book and the ordinary teacher, it has been drained of much of its color. Unfortunately, color is an important part of truth. To artists it’s all that matters, as it was for the most sublime artist who ever spoke/sang the English language, the one we know only by a joke name, or rather joke phrase: Will shake spear! Sounds a little like one of his own characters, doesn’t it, Doll Tear-sheet perhaps, or Ben Jonson’s Sir Politic Wouldbe.
With his very name he vows to shake a spear. Think of the words of Winston Churchill, words that brought the English people, or more precisely, the English-speaking people, through a long and devastating war. When called the Lion of Britain, Churchill affected modesty, claiming only to have been the roar; but let us ask ourselves, who provided Churchill with the language that fed that roar? And what would we think if told from childhood in all gravity that his given name was Winston Lionroar?
Many individuals of many cultures have contributed to make the English language what it is, but if one individual is to be chosen to stand above the rest, it is this man, known to us as William Shakespeare. If it doesn’t matter to us who created the language that we all speak, that we use to communicate with each other, that we use to express our love, argue issues, learn about the world, tell our jokes and stories, explain a theory or describe a sunset, then what does matter? If it doesn’t matter to us who wrote the works of William Shakespeare, then it seems fair to say that it doesn’t matter to us who we are.