Writers such as Delia Bacon argued that the texts were too refined to have been written by a humble Warwickshire actor.
This is part of the ongoing ‘authorship controversy’ in which writers including Edward de Vere (the 17th Earl of Oxford), the playwright Christopher Marlowe and the translator John Florio are proposed and dismissed as the authors of the works credited to Shakespeare.
In this essay, Bacon questions whether revenge is legally or morally defensible.
Instead he presents a humanist view more in line with the Christian ideal of turning the other cheek (Matthew 5.
The works on ‘Revenge’ and ‘Envy’– which are digitised here – appeared in the third edition, printed in 1625 (and re-issued in this 1696 version); the essay on ‘Deformity’ first appeared in 1612 and was revised in 1625.