[[quoteright:334:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Anonymous_Poster-334x500_5151.jpg]]

''Anonymous'' is a 2011 drama from director Creator/RolandEmmerich.

The story is based on the theory that Creator/WilliamShakespeare did not author his plays, but was given them by the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere.

Not to be confused with [[Tropers/{{Anonymous}} the web vigilante group]].

!! The film invokes the following tropes:

* AlternateHistory: The premise of the film is that Shakespeare never wrote his own plays, instead attributing them to Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford. The makers of the film, however, [[ConspiracyTheorist don't think that it's an "alternate" history.]]
* AnachronicOrder: Kyle Kallgren at ''Webvideo/BrowsHeldHigh'' [[http://chezapocalypse.com/episodes/shakespeare-month-anonymous/ points out]] that this was probably done to stop the audience from noticing that the internal chronology of the film is both self-contradictory and flies in the face of almost all historical data.
* AncientConspiracy: To cover up the fact that Shakespeare never wrote his own plays... [[spoiler: and also that Edward De Vere was the child of Queen Elizabeth, as well as [[ParentalIncest the father of another one of her children.]]]]
* AnonymousAuthor: Edward, before Shakespeare starts taking credit for his plays.
* ArrangedMarriage: Between Edward and William Cecil's daughter.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory:
** A man appears in the beginning to admit that the story is just an intellectual exercise, not hard history.
** The chronology is ''completely'' wrong. ''Theater/{{Macbeth}}'' is performed before ''Theater/{{Hamlet}}''. ''Macbeth'' is widely considered to be a rather late production by Shakespeare, and directly references King James I (who ascends to the throne at the end of the film).
** Also, Creator/ChristopherMarlowe figures out that Edward is writing the plays, because he realises that the character of Polonius in ''Hamlet'' is meant to signify William Cecil. Shakespeare murders him to prevent the truth from getting out. ''Hamlet'' was first performed in 1601 (1598 in the film.) '' '''Marlowe died in 1593.''' '' You see the problem here?
** The portrayal of [[UsefulNotes/RichardIII Richard III]] as an EvilCripple wasn't Shakespeare's invention: it appears as "[[BasedOnAGreatBigLie fact]]" in Polydore Vergil's ''Anglica Historia'', published in 1534 - over a decade before the births of both Edward and Shakespeare.
** Cecil was actually ''against'' Elizabeth naming James of Scotland as her successor, and for very good reason: it was Cecil, more than anyone else, who'd convinced Elizabeth to execute James's mother, Mary, Queen of Scots.
** Surprisingly, the Earl of Essex DID hire Shakespeare to stage a play about King Richard in order to incite a riot so he could seize the throne. However, rather than ''Theatre/{{Richard III}}'', as shown in the movie, the play was ''Theatre/{{Richard II}}''. Which makes sense, as ''Richard II'' is about a noble earl who does his solemn duty and deposes a corrupt and decadent monarch, whereas ''Richard III'' is about how wonderful Queen Elizabeth's family is, and isn't it ''great'' that they're in charge now?
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: William Shakespeare was actually a patsy for Edward De Vere, allowing him to publish poetry without affronting his aristocratic family.
* BrickJoke: Ben Johnson complains that Essex's writing is just a passing hobby, saying "Last week it's gardening, now it's plays, next week it will be falconry!" Later, when Shakespeare is in Essex's study, there is a hooded falcon perched off to the side.
* CoitusInterruptus: At one point, Shakespeare is interrupted while having sex with a prostitute.
* DownerEnding: The fraudulent Shakespeare winds up taking credit for all of De Vere's work, De Vere is a failure as both a playwright and a human being, and Elizabeth dies without a legitimate heir, marking the end of the Tudor line.
* EvilChancellor: William and Robert Cecil.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Most of the characters in the film, obviously. The ones with their own page on TV Tropes could be mentioned: Creator/WilliamShakespeare, Creator/ChristopherMarlowe and UsefulNotes/ElizabethI.
* HistoricalFiction: Although not everyone [[ConspiracyTheorist thinks it's fiction.]]
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: The Cecils, as well as William Shakespeare himself.
* HowWeGotHere
* TheHouseOfTudor: Queen Elizabeth herself plays a large role in the events of the film.
* LargeHam: Shakespeare himself is one of the bigger offenders, although several of the actors ham it up throughout the film.
* ParentalAbandonment: [[spoiler: Queen Elizabeth gives birth to Edward out of wedlock, then gives him up to be raised by the Duke of Oxford to avoid a scandal.]]
* ParentalIncest: [[spoiler: Edward De Vere sleeps with Queen Elizabeth, who is secretly his mother. And [[{{Squick}} she gets pregnant]] from their coupling.]]
* ReallyGetsAround: Queen UsefulNotes/ElizabethI (hilariously enough).
* SuccessionCrisis: With Queen Elizabeth old and having no legitimate children, the Cecils want James of Scotland to take the throne of England after her death. Edward wants it to go to the Earl of Essex.
* SurpriseIncest: Between [[spoiler: Edward and Elizabeth, his mother.]]
* UsefulNotes/ElizabethI : She is ''The Virgin Queen'' InNameOnly, if [[AnythingThatMoves the film is to be believed.]]
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory[=/=]BasedOnAGreatBigLie: Depends on whether you're a Stratfordian or Anti-stratfordian.

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