addresses Shakespeare´s collaborations with other authors and some of his lost
plays. With these themes our intention is to dive into the least known part of
objective is to focus on the plays and the not so well-known side of
Shakespeare. We wanted to do some research on how his personal life affected
his work, how he made these collaborations, what relationship he had with the
people he worked with and if whatever they added to the stories was decisive to
complete the stories.
comes to the lost plays we want to analyze the reasons why they are missing,
what stories they hide, what could have happened if they remained present
nowadays and if they could have been as famous as his other plays
1. Lost plays (Mario López Carnicero)
A lost work,
or in this case a lost play is a document produced some time in the past of
which no surviving copies are known to exist. These works may be lost to
history because of the destruction of the original manuscript or because all
the copies got lost in time. Another reason why these pieces are lost could be
because of bad people that were jealous of that author´s success. Many of that
plays survived because they were reused in other works, they were included in
that piece. Love´s Labour´s Won by Shakespeare is one of that lost plays.
1.1 Love’s Labour’s Won
Labour´s Won is a lost play attributed by contemporaries to William Shakespeare,
written before 1598 and published in 1603.
Although no copies are known to have survived, scholars argue whether it
is a true lost work or not. Shakespeare´s Love´s Labour´s Lost could be
a narrative and dramatic source for Love´s Labour´s Won. It is known
that this Shakespeare’s work existed because of some evidences, for example it
appears in the book list of Christopher Hunt: “Marchant of Vennis, Taming of
Shrew, …. Love´s Labour´s Lost, Love´s Labour´s Won”.
have several theories about the play, but the most well-known is the theory of
a “sequel to Love´s Labour´s Lost”.
Love´s Labour´s Lost contains the adventures of the King of
Navarre and his three lords, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine, and how they get
the love of the Princess of France and her ladies. This theory could be false
because Elizabethan playwrights almost never wrote sequels to comedies. These
kinds of plays were not that important as historical plays, for this reason
sequels were written for them and less commonly for tragedies. Another
possibility why this play existed could be the name as an alternative title for
another comedy. Much Ado About Nothing, that is believed to be written
around 1598. Henry Woudhuysen finds a lot of similarities between the two
Hotson had the theory of Love´s Labour´s Won as the title of Troilus
and Cressida that has been considered to be written around 1602. The last
theory is the believed that Meres, the one that made the list of Shakespeare´s
dramatic output to 1598, was wrong about writing the title of the play. This
was a strong theory until 1953, when a different author´s book was discovered
that also mentioned “Love´s Labour´s Won” in his list of Shakespeare´s
that Love´s Labour´s Won continues being a mystery for the scholars and
the world. What the world have is a big number of theories that can be true or
false, the imagination is almost the only source that scholars have to create a
solid explanation to answer all the questions that this play creates. Unless
people discover some 400-year-old document that gives the world a concrete
evidence, it is impossible to solve this mystery.
1.2 Cardenio (Victoria Prieto Rubio)
Cardenio is the second William
Shakespeare’s lost play that our society knows and there are different
suppositions of what happened with it. When did it disappeared and how will be
told in this section.
1.2.1 About the
History of Cardenio is a Jacobean play that through the years has
be assigned to William Shakespeare and his collaboration with John Fletcher. It
is dated in the 1613 and the history takes place in Spain. We know it has a big
influence from Cervantes, who was a novelty in the century in which Cardenio was written.
In May the 20th, 1613, the King’s
Men (Shakespeare’s theatre company), was paid £20 for court performances of
six plays, in which was included Cardenio.
same year in July the 9th, the company will receive a sum for
representing Cardenio before the
ambassador of the Duke of Savoy.
Forty years later, it would appear in the list of soon-to-be published
works assigned to Shakespeare and Mr. Fletcher, but it would never appear
There is not
record that it was represented in any other time, what becomes an enormous
mystery for the historians.
In the 18th Century, the famous scholar Lewis Theobald will
publish a comedy named Double Falsehood.
Theobald insisted on that the play was inspired by The History of Cardenio. He related he had come up with three
incomplete manuscripts of the original play and he had used them to create a
successful play. The comedy became very famous and it was represented for
The theory is that, after Theobald died, Warburton acquired his
library and historians believed that the original manuscript was there.
Warburton’s cook was used to light the fire with old sheets in the house and
they believe Cardenio was burnt
theory is that the manuscript Theobald found was deposited in London’s Covent
Garden Playhouse, which burned down in 1808.
In the last twenty years, a professor of English at Florida State
University called Taylor has been doing a research to extract Shakespeare’s Cardenio from a surviving edition of Double Falsehood (using computers
programs and old documents from those centuries).
(Indiana University and Purdue University-Indianapolis) considers that Cardenio has been resurrected by Taylor.
1.2.3 Inspiration of the play
It is well-known that Shakespeare and Fletcher were inspired by
Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The
inspiration for them was based upon the Cardenio episode appearing in the first
part of the novel. It was available in English in 1605, that is why it became a
big influence for the British society.
When William Shakespeare read this book, he was impressed by the plot
and he suddenly wanted to write something similar. He would call it Cardenio, as the character by the same
name in Cervantes’ work.
In the collaborations section of this project (2.4.1 Cardenio),
the plot will be described, where it is possible to see the similitude between
Shakespeare’s and Cervantes’ works.
Some sources define Cardenio
as a comedy, others define it as a sentimental romantic tragicomedy. The
original fragment is framed as a parodic romance, but it is known that
Shakespeare retained the elements of the parody.
The real history of what happened with Cardenio will be intriguing even if a
lot of researches are made. It is amazing how much people is still doing
researches to figure out what really happened with the original manuscript and
what wanted Shakespeare to transmit with this play.
2. Shakespeare’s collaborations
2.1 Early works (Nerea Ibáñez Sánchez)
It is a play written towards
1596. The authorship of this work has been enquired for more than 400 years and
it is still in consideration. This attitude may be generated by dint of the
Publisher, Cuthbert Burby, who could not determinate the name of the author in
that period. Another possibility is the Great Fire, which took place in London,
in 1666 when an assemblage of works was burned.
Scholars have found
similarities between Shakespeare texts and this one, such as the way it has
been written (iambic pentameter). Moreover, there are direct quotations from
his works, concretely his sonnets. In 1990 publishers recognized him as its
author and enclosed the play in new editions.
Plot: The story is set in England. Edward, the King, is
informed that he is the heir of the last King of France and he wants to go to
France to get his rights. Before that, he has to deal with a problem in a
castle in North England. That castle is being assaulted by people and when he
arrives there with his army everyone goes away. The King will fall in love with
the woman of that castle and will do whatever she wants, even kill his wife.
But the lady rejects him. Later on, he goes to France to get the throne and
gets a victory for England.
It is a work written in 1591
and it is contemplated as a Shakespeare’s creation despite the fact it was also
written by Marlowe and Thomas Nase. It is asserted that Shakespeare wrote less
than the 20% of the text. This work is connected with the instant when King
Henry VI had the power. Shakespeare never published his own works when he was
alive and that explains why it has no authorship but has been associated with
him in view of its characteristics.
Plot: With the
death of Henry V, his son becomes the King of England. Henry VI then has a man
who serves for him and gives him advice. There is a war between England and
France and a new one starts between the house of York and the house of
Lancaster. The King restores the order in those lands and goes to Paris to be
crowned as a role model for the English people. His army captures two prisoners
and Henry VI will marry one of them, the Lady Margaret of Anjou.
Scholars see it as a
collaboration with George Peele or at least an emendation of this work. It was
firstly published under the name of Shakespeare in 1623 but the fact that he
was a collaborator with George has been discussed. It was probably written between
1588 and 1593. George was a man in the Renaissance world. He was a translator
as well as a poet and a dramatist. His most important work is the collaboration
with Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus.
Plot: Titus Andronicus, after
obtaining a victory against the Goths and capturing the Queen Thamora, returns
to Rome. Tito sacrifices a prisoner in order to celebrate this victory and the
one chosen is the son of Thamora. This lady becomes the queen of this land
thanks to a Titu’s son. She takes advantage of her position and makes Tito
suffer by killing two of his own sons. Later on, she makes his other sons rape
another daughter and Thamora cuts her tongue and hands in order not to be able
to tell her dad who had raped her. Titus becomes angry, kills Thamora’s daughters
and serves them at dinner. He also kills Thamora as a revenge and his own
daughter to release her from her pain. At the same moment Lucio, another son of
Titus, starts a riot against his brother, the emperor, and in that fight, Titus
and the emperor die. Lucio becomes the emperor and condemns Thamora’s slave to
die, responsible for all that has
2.1.4 Sir Thomas More:
It is an Elizabethan play
written by Anthony Munday and others in the Renaissance period. Anthony was a
poet, a dramatist and also an actor. He spent his life abroad and went back to
London where he got an arguable situation with the Jesuits. He wrote in prose
and verse and he is considered as one of the predecessors of Shakespeare.
The play itself does not
remain completely, there is only one manuscript written by “hand D”, which has
been considered from Shakespeare owing to the language, handwriting,
vocabulary, and imagery.
Plot: The story is about Sir Thomas More and how he
stops the riots in London streets. Thanks to this he gets the title of Lord
Canciller. But he refuses to sign some documents about the divorce between
Henry VIII and his first wife. He gets caught and goes to prison and never goes
out of it.
The Spanish Tragedy:
It is an Elizabethan tragedy
written by Thomas Kyd, a Renaissance man who is mainly known by virtue of this
work. He was the most important figure of that period in the development of the
drama. His birth date is not known but he was baptized at church in 1585. He
did not go to university, but he had a good education in the fields of
languages, music, and drama.
There are 325 lines in this
play which have been deliberated over centuries about the possibility of the
affinity with Shakespeare. These lines are under the name of “Additional
passages” and they have finally been associated with him by virtue of the
handwriting and more technics used.
Plot: The story starts with a man after the war of
Portugal, Horacio (whose father is a Spanish mayor). He is assassinated at
hands of Lorenzo for the reason that he wanted Baltasar to marry a beautiful
lady called Bel-Imperia. She lost his lover in the war and she was in love with
Horacio. Hieronimo, Horacio’s father, does not find any help from the King and
that guides him to take revenge in name of his son.
2.2 Collaboration with George Wilkins
(Paloma Martín Rodríguez)
1576, George Wilkins was an English dramatist known mainly for his
collaboration with William Shakespeare and the play Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
He also created some pamphlets and he was possibly related with some criminal
activities. He died in 1618.
The play is
one of the best comedy plays written by Shakespeare. In the play, Pericles asks
for the hand of Antiochus’ daughter, king of Antioch. The man that guesses
correctly a riddle is the one who will marry her, the ones that fail will be
executed. Pericles finds out that the
king and his daughter maintain an incestuous relationship, due to this, Antiochus
wants to kill him. Pericles goes back to Tyre, but he is being followed by a
murderer sent by Antiochus.
Antiochus may want revenge and attack his kingdom, Pericles goes away for some
time. On his way, he stops in Tarsus, where he saves the king and queen.
Pericles gets a letter from Helicanus, therefore, he decides to return to Tyre.
On his way
back, in the middle of a storm in Pentapolis. Here, he wins a tournament where
the prize is marrying Thaisa. Later, Pericles and Thaisa return to Tyre, but
she dies on the way while giving birth to their daughter. Pericles leaves his
daughter, Marina, with Cleon, the governor of Tarsus and his wife. When Marina
grows up, Cleon’s wife gets jealous and orders a servant to kill her, but she
is captured by pirates. Cleon’s wife him Marina is dead, and he makes a
monument for her.
Pericles visits Tarsus he sees the monument, and falls into misery. Meanwhile
Marina is sold in Mitylene. Pericles runs into her, but he doesn’t recognize
her. Sometime later they go to Ephesus and the family is reunited.
2.3 Collaborations with Thomas Middleton
(Sara Tena Rodriguez)
Did Shakespeare And Middleton Write Together?
After studying All’s
Well That Ends Well, Professor Laurie Maguire and Dr Emma Smith have
said to discover unusual stage directions, vocabulary and rhyming
patterns. All of this has led them to believe that Shakespeare could have had
help from a co-author.
“We are not saying that Middleton and Shakespeare
definitely worked together on All’s Well,” said Dr Smith to the online
newspaper, The Huffing Post, “but
Middleton’s involvement would certainly explain many of the comedy’s stylistic,
textual and narrative quirks.”
There is a scene in particular, where Middleton’s
evident influence appears clearly. It’s the word “ruttish” (Act 4, Scene
3), something that can only be seen in Middleton’s The Phoenix.
Furthermore, and after a collection of his works was
published early in 2007, new discoveries using massive computer database
confirmed the suspicions and claimed that Middleton collaborated with
Shakespeare not only on All’s Well That
Ends Well but he was also involved in Timon
of Athens, and adapted both Macbeth
and Measure for Measure.
Even though there are many evidences that lead us to
think Middleton worked together with Shakespeare, we can never be totally sure.
However, analyses of both, the author and his works will continue below in
order to know more about what these supposed collaborations were like. Was
Middleton’s influence a big impact in Shakespeare’s literature? Let’s find out.
2.3.2. About the author
Thomas Middleton (1580-1627) was a late-Elizabethan
dramatist and a popular playwright. By collaborating with John Webster or
Thomas Dekker, Middleton learned how to write plays.
He did not have a good early life. He grew up in a
dysfunctional family and surrounded by the plague, which led to, not only many
deaths, but also poverty, famine and riots. However, the difficulties he had to
go through might be one of the reasons why he focused his time on writing. “His
career was driven by the economics of need, and structured by the economics of
demand” said Gary Taylor for The
In fact, the first time his name appeared in
print was when he turned 17 thanks to The
Wisdom of Solomon Paraphrased, which he must have written when he was only
He wrote many different genres and was never afraid of
backlash for his critics, and that is why many people believe he was not as
famous or well-known as other authors.
Nevertheless, Middleton and Shakespeare will be
compared frequently, specially after the pair wrote multiple masterpieces in
both comedy and tragedy, being the two only English playwrights to do so.
Furthermore, Middleton will be the one chosen by Shakespeare’s company to adapt
his plays (Measure for Measure, Macbeth) after he died.
As mentioned in the life of the author,
Thomas Middleton may have revised the tragedy since Shakespeare’s company chose
him to adapt some of his plays. Macbeth
appears in the First Folio in 1615,
and many believe Middleton incorporated extra musical sequences.
Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1606) is about a King Duncan’s general named Macbeth.
Along with Banquo, he meets three witches that tell him he will become King of
England, while the other general is promised to have descendants, who will also
become kings. Not long before that, Macbeth receives a new title and
immediately starts to believe in the prophecy. Both his wife and him will do
anything to achieve the reign and after many murders, they will become King and
Queen of England. However, the prophecy will become true until the end and they
will die defeated by a child of a caesarean birth.
for Measure was written between 1603 and 1604 and as Macbeth, it appears in the First Folio. It is believed that
Middleton might have done a revision of the play after its original composition
and due to its shift mood, it is seen as one of Shakespeare’s problem plays.
The play happens in a decadent Vienna. The
Duke leaves the city and puts his deputy, Angelo, in charge, who will make many
changes, like sentencing to death unmarried people who have gotten someone
pregnant. This happens to Claudio and the girl he intended to marry, Juliet.
After many problems, his sister Isabella and the Duke disguised as a friar,
will save Claudio’s life.
18.104.22.168 Timon of
of Athens was written around 1607 and 1608 and it
is one of the most peculiar Shakespeare’s plays. It is this fact that led many
to believe he did not write this work alone, but was helped and had a
co-author. As the Royal Shakespeare Company introduces: “Timon of Athens is a play that offers a central character without
family or partner, the story of a rich and liberal Athenian whose generosity is
exploited until he learns the full extent of man’s greed”.
This play may be the result of a
collaboration between Shakespeare and Middleton, which could explain its
uniqueness like the unusual cynical tone and story.
It is a tragic tale based on the abuse of
the generosity of a man, Timon, who after using up all his money, will ask for
his friends’ help, but won’t get any. He starts living outside of Athens as a
recluse, disillusioned in mankind. Nevertheless, he will find gold one day,
which he will give away to different people. False friends who abandoned him
before will return after hearing of his new wealth, but he won’t give in this
time. At the end, Alcibiades wins against the Athenian senators, but Timon is
22.214.171.124 All’s Well That Ends Well.
Well That Ends Well was published between
1604 and 1605. It was also appeared in the Fist
Folio in 1623 and as mentioned before, thanks to a research made by Emma
Smith and Laurie Maguire from Oxford University, it is another work by
Shakespeare believed to have some kind of co-authorship with Thomas Middleton.
Well That Ends Well is a story about a woman,
Helen, who wants to marry Bertram, the man she loves. However, he will refuse
her proposal, since she belongs to lower rank. Through the play, Helen will try
to win his acceptance and meet his conditions. She will only achieve this at
the end of the work, when she saves Bertram and being pregnant, he finally
2.4 Collaborations with John Fletcher (Paloma Martín Rodríguez)
Sussex, 1579, John Fletcher was a Jacobean playwright, he wrote his own plays
and some collaborations. He worked with writers such as Beaumont, Philip
Massinger, Ben Jonson, Nathan Field and William Shakespeare. Along with
Shakespeare he wrote Cardenio, Henry VIII and The Two Noble
Kinsmen. He died in 1625.
has supplanted King Govianus and tries to seduce Helvetius, Govianus’ love. However, she stays
faithful to Govianus. Even under the pressure from her father to accept the
Tyrant, she stays faithful to Govianus. The Tyrant holds them hostage. She wont’t give in so she begs Govianus to kill her, he cannot do
it because he loves her, thus she commits suicide. The Tyrant, removes her body
from her tomb to reign as his queen.
Anselmus, asks his friend, Votarius, to
seduce his wife to test her fidelity. But when he tries to tempt her, they fall
in love. Concerned that his friend will discover their affair, they compose a
plan. While Anselmus is close, she will pretend to reject Votarius. She even
has a sword to hurt him when the time comes. A servant poisons the sword, when
she stabs Votarius, he dies.
sees the ghost of The Lady, who informs him of The Tyrant’s obsession with her
and Govianus starts to plan revenge. He is released from prison and starts his
plan. He applies poison to the dead body´s lips, he also puts on her some
make-up, that way she looks alive. When The Tyrant sees her, he kisses her and
he dies. The aristocratics name Govianus the king.
2.4.2 Henry VIII
This play is
considered one of the best dramas by Shakespeare. Queen Katherine of Aragon is
married to King Henry VIII. Henry asks Rome for a divorce to marry Anne Boleyn.
Cardinal Wolsey, the Powerful Lord Chancellor of England, attempts to shape
Rome to the king’s wishes of the divorce of Katharine so he can marry Anne
Boleyn. When he is almost dead he apologizes for his request. Katherine is
divorced and sent to Kimbolton Castle and Anne marries King Henry VIII to
become his queen.
2.4.3 The Two Noble Kinsmen
The duke of
Athens, Theseus, is marrying the queen of the Amazons Hippolyta. After the
wedding, three widowed queens arrive begging Theseus to go to war with Creon,
so their husbands can receive a funeral.
Palamon sees Arcite in Theseus’ hunting-party, and reveals himself. Theseus
sentences them to death, but Hippolyta, her sister Emilia, and Pirithous beg
for their freedom.
cannot choose between them, so Theseus orders them to return in a month with
knights, and take on a combat. Palamon and Arcite return to fight for Emilia,
and all three make prayers to their gods, asking for help.
Arcite is brought in, and yields Emilia to Palamon before he dies, affirming
Palamon’s original claim to her.
accepts Palamon’s request to marry Emilia, and announces a time of mourning for
Arcite after the wedding.
Shakespeare had help, either from learning how to write new plays at the
start of his career, or by collaborating and sharing different ideas and
methods with several co-authors. However, it does not matter how he wrote these
plays because later, some of them resulted to be the best pieces of playwrights
not only of the United Kingdom but of the world.
There are various lost plays that will never see the light, but some
information about them has been discovered.
It will remain a mystery if those plays could have been Shakespeare’s
best-sellers or as famous as the ones most commonly known, such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and so on.