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My first encounter with Shakespeare was when I was about 13 or so, I was home alone searching for something new to read to pass the time. My parents had a beautiful bookcase that housed all their books. I went through all those books until the only book left unread was the Complete Works of Shakespeare. I picked The Tempest as my first reading, I didn’t get very far but it did interest me enough to push me to continue reading on my own and then I took Shakespeare as my English elective in Senior year.

My professor was great, the first order of business was teaching us the Shakespearean language. Once I mastered the language, I was even a bigger fan. My professor taught us that Shakespeare was the everyman of the time period, that he had a great sense of humor and was committed to addressing the common people as well as the nobles of the time. There wasn’t even a question of his existence.

When I was at N.Y.U, I took advantage of the study abroad program during the summer of my sophomore year to go to the University of London where I took British Art and Shakespeare. I was so fortunate to have had the privilege of seeing Jeremy Irons as Richard the Second, Derek Jacobi in the Merchant of Venice, which he performed at the Shakespearean theater at Stratford upon Avon and Anthony Hopkins as Anthony in Anthony and Cleopatra. I must add that I also was lucky enough to have seen A Midsummer’s Night Dream performed under the stars in Regent’s Park.

With all these experiences with Shakespeare, I believe in his existence. Shakespeare could have been a woman, I don’t care. All that counts in my book is that the material exists, it is wonderful to listen to, wonderful to behold on stage, wonderful to think about and write about. It has stood up to the test of time, something that trumps the question of whether or not Shakespeare really existed.

In the end, I believe that the question is just another part of the legacy, something else to add to the conversation. As long as it doesn’t detract from the brilliance of the material and it being performed for future audiences, what is the harm in speculating? I don’t have to worry because as I have said, I believe in Shakespeare.