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thomas more play

Dramatis Personae: Sir Thomas More; Sir John Munday; Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey; Francis de Barde; Dr. Fisher; Lady More; Roper's wife.

Text & Context: Variously attributed to different authors over the years, Sir Thomas More appears to be the work primarily of Anthony Munday. In the 1580s, Munday was the servant and secretary to Edward de Vere. Other authors suggested as contributing to the text include Henry Chettle, Thomas Heywood, and Thomas Dekker. The cast is large and thus, production being impossible for most troupes, was likely performed by The Queen's Men or Lord Strange's Men.


 The play contains 6 distinct hands, with the famous Hand D page credited to William Shakespeare. This is likely enough, given its quality and the author's familiarity with the writing circle involved; the cursive hand, however, in no way resembles any of the scribbled signatures - which is all we have to compare - of William Shaksper of Stratford. Either Hand D is that of Edward de Vere or, more likely, the hand of a scribe or amanuensis. 

 Of note, the play attributes incidents to Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, which in actuality occurred to his father. The character of Surrey comes off especially well in More, which is hardly surprising given Surrey was Edward de Vere's uncle, and responsible for what became known as the "Shakespearean Sonnet" as well as the use of blank verse in English Literature.

Frances de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxenford's aunt,

by Hans Holbein the Younger, c. 1535

Sir Thomas More

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