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William Shakespeare

Would you do anything to get your parents attention and praise? Would you lie compulsively to get someone’s attention? Well, Henry Ireland did practically everything to get his father’s attention. Henry Ireland lied about possessing crucial documents signed by the brilliant William Shakespeare. His father, Samuel Ireland, was a bookseller and had a passion for Shakespearean works. Henry knew this. Despite risking Shakespeare’s reputation as well as his own reputation, Henry Ireland claimed to possess a dramatization that was written by William Shakespeare. The drama was called Vortigern.

The more attention his father would give him concerning Shakespeare the more Henry Ireland would lie. However, Henry Ireland could have been suffering from a personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder (ASP) is a mental illness that usually manifest during the teenage years. The personality disorder results in the teenager having a lack of morality and understanding of other people’s feelings. I believe Henry Ireland had antisocial personality disorder because he had very little concern for other people. He was irresponsible and he lacked moral standards as well as regard to legal standards. William Henry Ireland was very talented.

However, as a teenager, he was neglected by his father. His father didn’t have any positive thoughts about his son Henry because his was “bad at school, bad at work—and William certainly felt his father’s disapproval” (Lynch 210). However, his father had an extreme love for another William, William Shakespeare. “With him,” wrote William, “Shakespeare was no mortal, but a divinity” (Lynch 210). So, feeling unloved and rejected most of his life, he became hard and selfish not because he was a bad person but had a bad childhood. As a result, what do people do when they are rejected; they reject others because hurting people tend to hurt others.

Henry didn’t know how to have concern because he didn’t get concern from his father. He wanted a fatherly love and couldn’t receive it because another William took his place. His abandonment continually worked on his mind, his emotions, and his mental health. As a result of needing much attention from his father, William Henry Ireland became irresponsible and began forging Shakespeare’s name and lying about a drama belonging to Shakespeare. Because of his rejection and knowing his father’s love for Shakespeare, he became who his father loved.

Henry Ireland wanted to feel his father’s love. Therefore, he became Shakespeare. Ireland wanted the recognition. Henry wanted to see his father’s smile when he mentions “William” to him. However, this is still no excuse of risking someone else’s reputation. He could have risked William Shakespeare’s reputation as a playwright. He also could have made his father even more upset with him once he discovered his dishonesty. When a person suffers from antisocial personality disorder, there is a lack of logic and understanding of what is right and what is wrong.

A person who has antisocial personality disorder cannot distinguish what is moral and what is legal because “antisocial personality disorder is a psychiatric condition in which a person manipulates, exploits, or violates the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal” (Moore Dp). Henry Ireland had all of these symptoms. He manipulated his father by lying to him saying that he had found a document, a love letter and a drama by William Shakespeare and then actually did the drama Vortigern or exploits the drama in front of others risking getting caught in his lie.

He violated the rights of Shakespeare due to his own gratification of getting his father’s attention. A person would think maybe this is harmless but it isn’t harmless. This is a disorder that a person has that is presumptuous, self indulgent and doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings. If someone had this person as an employee, a parent, a spouse, a relative or a child, they would need great patience with someone like this because it’s hard dealing with this type of personality disorder.

Maybe Henry’s father gave up because Henry didn’t care much about his responsibilities while he was a teenager and young adult. Maybe Henry didn’t put any energy into his own work or just didn’t care what his father thought. However, with Henry having this disorder, instead of putting forth energy into his own work and using his obvious talents, he puts his energy into someone else’s life and work that had already become successful in life through his own sacrifices and energy. Shakespeare had already made a name for himself through his hard work.

I believe that Henry was trying to find a way of escape from his own responsibilities as a young worker. Because of Henry Ireland’s possible disorder, he couldn’t even understand how to put that same effort into his own life. I believe people who have antisocial personality disorder have backwards thinking due to their own presumptuousness. In conclusion, imitating Shakespeare was a continually practiced behavior in that time “maybe a tribute to Shakespeare’s genius that some people felt compelled to imitate him” (Lynch 209).

However, I believe the reason Ireland imitated Shakespeare was due to his disorder and due to his rejection from his father who loved William Shakespeare so much. I believe when Henry Ireland imitated Shakespeare, it was a way for him to feel good about himself and to gain prestige, honor and attention from his father. A person who has antisocial personality disorder will do just about anything, if not anything, to get the attention that they desire and that is why there is no concern or remorse for other people’s feelings and Henry Ireland fits this description.

They don’t see themselves as doing something wrong because their mental health is disoriented. People with this disorder don’t use their common sense or use rational thinking as a person would with normal mental health. There may be many causes of antisocial personality disorder. However, this was a sickness that could have been the result of Henry Ireland’s behavior during his life. Works Cited Lynch, Jack. Becoming Shakespeare: The Unlikely Afterlife That Turned A Provincial Playwright Into The Bard. New York: Walker & Company, 2007.

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