An Internet WebQuest on THE MONUMENT by Hank Whittemore

created by Ralph A. Bucci
Page Layout By Willie Leung

Charles W. Flanagan High School


As you prepare to assume your role as investigator of information concerning the sonnets, the evidence presented by Hank Whittemore in his THE MONUMENT will help you don a pair of 'Shakespearean glasses' and bring into focus a mystery that has puzzled academia for more than 400 years. The guiding questions are designed to shed light on the historical context of the writer so as to provide an operational solution to the longstanding mystery of the true identity of the Shake-speare name. Because the author of the sonnets would risk treason by writing about the Queen's imprisonment of Southampton, Oxford created a 'special language to produce a fictional meaning on the surface while simultaneously recording his true story.' Now Hank Whittemore has made sense of the 154 sonnets, organizing it in a way that allows its readers to wear a singular pair of glasses that everyone can wear and see the truth.

An introduction to a WebQuest of this nature would not be complete without a note from the author himself. I am honored that a man that I now call a dear colleague would take the time to personalize my attempt to shed light on the truth.

Dear Students of Charles W. Flanagan High School:

I'm sure you know how fortunate you are to be part of a school bold enough to introduce you to a topic most students never get to hear about, even during their college years. Our traditional concept of 'Shakespeare' has been almost sacred, yet it contains notions we intuitively know are wrong -- that, for example, one of the world's greatest writers (1) seldom drew upon his own life experiences, as did Hemingway, O'Neill, et. al., and (2) that the creator of 'King Lear' wrote strictly with an eye on the box office. Such concepts are dangerous, especially for young writers burning to express the truth of life as they know it.

In my view the facts will show that the man who wrote the Shakespeare works was an insider -- and that, as Prince Hamlet does, he staged plays anonymously to 'catch the conscience' of the monarch and the Court. The same man tells us he was 'tongue-tied by authority' (Sonnet 66) or by a police state using censorship, suppression, spies, informants, blackmail, interrogations, torture. Is it any wonder that the author of politically sensitive plays such as 'Richard II' might have adopted a pen name for publication? Gratefully you and I are not tongue-tied. Gratefully we have enlightened instructors opening new doors for us. So let the investigations and the debates begin! By taking just the first few steps on this journey, you are already pioneers -- and, I promise, you will discover truths the Shakespearean 'authorities' have not yet dreamed of.

Please feel free to email with any question you have concerning Oxford or Southampton. I will address your queries in a prompt manner. You can contact me at

My very best wishes,
Hank Whittemore

Which is the truth? When we study complex topics, there is usually a lot more to a topic than we learn after a quick exploration. In the following WebQuest, you will use the power of teamwork to learn all about THE MONUMENT. Each person on your team will become an expert on some aspect of THE MONUMENT and then you will come together at the end to share and get a better understanding of the topic as a whole.


Your team has been assigned a specific role. You will use the links provided as well as other resources (library, etc) to become experts on your roles. You and your team will work together to create a Group Report that presents your team's answer to the Quest(ion). By completing this WebQuest, you should achieve the following goals: 1) develop an interest in the study of THE MONUMENT; 2) use the power of the Internet for advanced exploration; 3) learn information about key aspects of THE MONUMENT; 4) realize that complex topics can be looked at from various perspectives; 5) formulate and support an opinion based on your roles; and 6) work with teammates to determine a combined action plan.

You will be working together as a group exploring web sites that your teacher has selected. You should start with the pages that are labelled 'Background Information' before dividing into groups. Each group has their own Task to complete and a separate set of web sites to use. There is a task organizer and an evaluation rubric in Background Information to guide your work.

Phase 1 - Background Information
These sites are important because they will provide basic information about the topic as a whole. Everyone should explore these sites before starting your Task.

Phase 2 - Roles
These roles were chosen because they each define the most important elements of THE MONUMENT. Each of you has been assigned a particular role with links and instructions below. Here are the general instructions for all of you. Please see your specific instructions and questions below.


1. Two members from each WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.

2. Read through the files designated for your group. You can print out pages and underline the parts that you feel are important or cut and paste from the webpage into a word processor.

3. Remember to include the URL of the page you take information from so you can return to it and use it as a citation.

4. Focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task.

SONNETS 1 - 26 (1590 - 1600) Lord of My Love:

1. How does each of the first 26 sonnets correspond to a year in the life of Henry Wriotheseley?

2. Who might be the Venus and Adonis mentioned in Sonnet 19?

3. What dedication is made in Sonnet 20?

4. How is Sonnet 24 related to the death of William Cecil?

5. How does line 14 from Sonnet 18 relate to what we learned from Act V of HAMLET?

6. How does line 12 from Sonnet 19 relate to a similar theme from what we reviewed in MACBETH?

7. What relevance to the first 17 sonnets have in relation to marriage?

SONNETS 27 - 126 (1601 - 1603) My Lovely Boy:

Use these links to answer your questions.

Use these links to answer the following questions.

1. What two sonnets directly refer to Southampton as a tribute not for his contemporary world, but for future generations?

2. Which sonnet serves a diary of Southampton's life so as to preserve the truth for future readers?

3. What is the monument that Whittemore refers to in Sonnet 55?

4. Line 2 from Sonnet 73 mentions a yellow leaf. How is this similar to the yellow leaf mentioned in MACBETH (V iii 22-23)?

5. Contrast the opening line of Sonnet 81 with the sarcastic comment of Hamlet in Act II scene ii lines 523 - 527.

6. Which line(s) from Sonnet 107 best describe Southampton's liberation from the Tower of London.

7. Line 9 from Sonnet 116 mentions 'time's fool.' Who is 'time's fool' in MACBETH and HAMLET?

8. Who does Whittemore refer to as the Sunne and Moone in Sonnet 35?

9. Draw a triangle and at each point name the central characters refered to in Sonnet 76.

SONNETS 127 - 152 (1601 - 1603) Two Loves:

Use these links to answer the following questions.

1. Sonnets 127 - 152 relate directly to Queen Elizabeth of Tudor. Create an excel file for the Quuen of images of 'dark' words that correspond to the sonnet.

2. What attack does Oxford make on the Queen in Sonnet 130?

3. Discuss Oxford's use of the color black in Sonnet 127. What do each of the references relate to?

4. In Sonnet 152, what comment does Oxford make concerning the Queen?

SONNETS 153 - 154 (1574) Prologue:

Use these links to answer the following questions.

1. What lines from Sonnets 153 - 154 hint of the visit of the Queen to Bath that relates to the acknowledged royal son?

2. Who is this son?

3. What reference is made to this son that relates to royalty?

4. What significance does the Queen's visit to Bath correspond to the year 1574?

5. How do Sonnets 153 - 154 act as a prologue of the 'living record' to Shake-speare's Sonnets?

6. List three references to Southampton given by Oxford from these two sonnets.


Use these links to answer the following questions.

1. Explain the connection between Henry Wriotheseley with that of Edward de Vere and Queen Elizabeth of Tudor.

2. What critical acclaim has THE MONUMENT received? What place in history has it achieved?

3. What evidence exists that the Third Earl of Southampton is the son of Elizabeth of Tudor and the 17th Earl of Oxford?

4. Explain de Vere's plan to have his son rise to become King Henry IX.

5. What deal did de Vere have to make to secure the commutation of his son's sentence? Detail the circumstances that took place 'behind the scenes.'

6. Read Kevin Gilvary's review of THE MONUMENT in the de Vere Societ Newsletter and list the coded references that Hank Whittemore uses for Queen Elizabeth, Henry Wriothesley, and royalty.


Use these links to answer the following questions.

1. Trace the volatile relationship that Edward de Vere had with the Queen and her Chief Minister, William Cecil, the Lord Treasurer Burghly.

2. How has the Oxford Society advanced the idea that Edward de Vere is the true author of the William Shakespeare name?

3. Describe the details of the son born to de Vere in the 1680's.

4. Review The Two Noble Henries and determine the connection between Henry Wriothesley and Edward de Vere.

5. Where is Edward de Vere interred? What is the significance of this final resting place?

Phase 3 - Reaching Consensus
You have all learned about different parts of THE MONUMENT. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now complete the Task as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the web sites you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's response. Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.

Now it's time to take the 'Shakespearean glasses' off. Now it's time to view the impact that THE MONUMENT has had on the Shakespearean Authorship question. As Paul H. Altrocchi, MD, the author of Most Greatly Lived: A biographical novel of Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford states, 'THE MONUMENT is the most significant book on the Shakespeare authorship question since Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford first became the candidate of choice in 1920. Summarizing ten years of brilliant research, Hank Whittemore clearly details the powerful evidence which proves beyond reasonable doubt that only de Vere could have written Shakespeare's Sonnets as a poetic monument to his son, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton.
'If English professors study this magnificent work, they will inevitably become entranced by Whittemore's compelling logic and the world can finally agree that Edward de Vere is indeed William Shakespeare, solving the most fascinating literary mystery of the Western World.
'The authorship debate has ended; the ball game is over. The smoking gun has been discovered and elucidated by meticulous research which becomes a gripping mystery story in the form of a fascinating historical drama involving England's most powerful elite.'
Now it's time for you to analyze your feelings and come away with a new understanding. It's the same for understanding a topic as broad or complex as THE MONUMENT: when you only know part of the picture, you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of THE MONUMENT could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.

 created by Filamentality Content by Ralph A. Bucci,
Last revised Sun Sep 10 10:36:22 CST6CDT 2006