Shakey’s Madness



Does a mental disorder reveal the “real” William Shakespeare? Back in the 16th and 17th centuries, bipolar disorder was a mystery, and even as late as the early 2000s, most doctors had difficulties diagnosing it. Unlike COVID-19, there is no swab test for antibodies. No blood test. It is a mood disorder, so doctors rely on their patients to “self-report” their symptoms and ask them questions like, “Were you in a good mood yesterday?”

What has this got to do with William Shakespeare? His poems, plays, and sonnets talk about the author feeling “melancholy” or depressed along with thoughts of deep distress and suicide. After all, who has not heard of Hamlet’s famous line, “To be or not to be, that is the question” and in that very line, Hamlet contemplates taking his own life.

All this talk about despair, despising oneself, and suicide? These are all bipolar symptoms. But if the real author did suffer from bipolar disorder, then would not these symptoms be found in his real life, too? Boog claims that the manic symptoms of fainting, racing thoughts, and insomnia are found in the life of Edward de Vere. According to Mr. Boog, “Whenever I ask Shakespeare lovers why all the fainting in the Shakespeare canon, I will usually get answers like poor ventilation, dehydration, or bloody tragedy on stage, which totally misses the point. Talk about fainting and ‘near’ fainting are found in Shakespeare’s poetry.”

Thus, fainting is something the “real” author must have personally experienced, but William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon was not known to black out or swoon. Sir Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe didn’t, either. Only one man with bipolar symptoms fits a bipolar disorder profile, and that is what Shakey’s Madness is about – using bipolar disorder symptoms to reveal the “real” author of the Shakespeare canon. Also available as an audiobook!

shakey's madness book cover


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