IS EDWARD III GOOD ENOUGH TO BE BY SHAKESPEARE? Putting aside statistical analysis, I think that the opinions on attribution come down to judgments of whether Edward III is up to Shakespeare’s lofty standard. It is puzzling that even with 37 examples of plays by our greatest writer, there is not more agreement on whether the play is good enough to have been written by Shakespeare. For example, the wikipedia entry says: “Harold Bloom rejects the theory that Shakespeare wrote Edward III, on the grounds that he finds ‘nothing in the play is representative of the dramatist who had written Richard III.'” The wikipedia entry proposes a lesser burden by making a comparison with some of Shakespeare’s less regarded plays (“some passages are as sophisticated as any of Shakespeare’s early histories, especially King John and the Henry VI plays”).
There is another comparison to be made. Was there any other Elizabethan playwright capable of writing Edward III? J.J.M. Tobin suggests that Shakespeare revised a draft of a play that another playwright had written. He says:
“The time spent on this revision… was enough to create a play more interesting than almost any historical drama written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and short only of his own mature histories in brilliance.”