August 10, 2015

Francis Thackeray's "Stoner Shakespeare" Theory.

Hello lovely readers. Recently Francis Thackeray, disclosed a theory that one of the greatest writers in history, William Shakespeare, could well have been a smoker of weed a potentially other substances from having analysed twenty-four clay tobacco pipes – four of them located in Shakespeare’s garden (which garden is yet to be disclosed) in Stratford-upon-Avon – tested positive for cannabis.

Of course, reporting that the bard could have been a stoner has caused outrage among faithful readers of his work because why would they not be upset? They look up to Shakespeare as one of the pioneers of the English language and one of the most compelling storytellers in our history. To say that all of his compositions were merely figments of a drug-infused blur is obviously going to cause uproar as it dampens his credibility in being a narrator.

The most persuasive evidence for enthusiasts is the very fact that clay pipes were absorbent material and so would not only have cannabis residue but Shakespeare’s very own DNA and also the fact that the wordsmith was a) located in London for the majority of his written works arrangements and b) was known to frequent inns that were located more than ten miles away from Stratford-upon-Avon in later years.

However.

Although, William Shakespeare is the primary inspiration (alongside Homer) for myself putting pen to paper, I believe that even if he had, in fact, smoked weed, it would not change the quality nor legitimacy of his work and I want to present to you why.

First of all, let’s talk about being a writer. Every writer has their niche – they’re forte. Every writer also has a substance of sorts that they use when writing. In my case, the characteristics woven into my work leads to a tendency of the reader to view me as a poet that recites personal experience through melancholy lyrics that express private grief. Pain and loss in general are my fortes and my substance of choice. I indulge in pain and memory. 

Whilst some writers such as Raymond Chandler has proven it can sometimes affect the written work; if I were to indulge in something like alcohol, it would not alter my writing. The message would remain the same – the only alterations would be a matter of bluntness.

William Shakespeare had many fortes in genre and experience which he used as his substance. For example, he subjected his own grief of personal loss into many of his plays. If he had indulged in cannabis, considering his peculiar plots, it definitely would not have made a difference.

Secondly, let’s look at the context. There have been accompanying theories that certain bizarre words or a reference to weed itself could be an indication of his intoxication. However, at the time, a dictionary of words had yet to be formed. It began to come together 1582 in the form of Richard Mulcaster's,  Elementarie. But a dictionary was yet to be formed until 1613, just three years before Shakespeare’s death.


He was the forerunner of the English language. Whether he was smoking weed or not – the words he invented would still have been invented by him.

The plot lines in Shakespeare’s stories mirror the disadvantages and consequences of belief in the Elizabethan era. There were two leading religions; Catholic and Protestant. The conviction and conflict of both beliefs were so strong that if a person dallied from either with utterances about things that were not located in either religion such as paranormal phenomena or sorcery (located in A Winter’s Tale and Macbeth,) would be punished by execution.

So in essence, although I’ve only listed a couple examples, Shakespeare’s abnormal storylines would still have been composed due to contextual factors.

So to conclude; we have no proper substantial evidence to deduce that William Shakespeare had indulged in cannabis due to lack of conclusive proof in the form of his DNA. However, I myself would not be surprised as he was a known socialite and partial to alcohol. But does it change the fact he is, to this day, one of the greatest writers and storytellers in history? No. Not at all. The stories would have been written regardless and Shakespeare will remain my key inspiration. Let the dead rest and the memory of them live.

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3 comments:

  1. Everyone in life has there demons,there vices,its life,its what makes them human. He didn't hurt anyone,commit inhumane crimes against anyone and should be allowed to rest in peace. He wrote from the heart,from his own experiences,his highs,his lows and always will be regarded as the greatest playwright n writer of all-time. He is a genius and will forever be the inspiration for everyone that follows in his footsteps xx

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  2. If we can appreciate that some of the greatest songwriters and playwrights and novelists have been off their faces whilst writing then Shakespeare is no exception. For all we know that could be how he wrote some of his plays! And in my opinion that makes them even better :)

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  3. It coul d well be the reason he was so great. Steve jobs is another stoner

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