"What's in a name?" one of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers asked. When it comes to the identity of the greatest writer in the English language, a great deal. That mantle has long been bestowed on a glover's son from Stratford-Upon-Avon. But since the 19th century, there have been doubts over William Shakespeare's identity as the writer of the works attributed to the playwright. Was the Bard from Stratford a front for another writer? Was he just one participant in a collective group of writers? Or was he a she?
The celebrated son of Stratford wrote the plays that bear his name. Any claims otherwise are Much Ado About Nothing.
It is there in black and white
So far, no authorship theory has presented stronger evidence than the name written on the works in black and white.
Shakespeare was a common man from Warwickshire
By reading the plays, it is clear the author was clearly not a wealthy individual. He is also clearly from Warwickshire.
William Shakespeare did not write the works that bear his name.
Where is the documentation?
Unlike his contemporaries, there is no historical documentation to suggest Shakespeare made a living from writing plays.
There were rumors during his life
His contemporaries at the time appear to have harboured suspicions.
An education gap
The education Shakespeare received would not have encompassed the themes and references visible in his work.
Shakespeare's will makes no mention of any books.
Not all of his plays were published in his lifetime
Around 16 plays were published following his death. As a career writer that published for money, this is highly irregular.
The two Shakespeares
Shakespeare the playwright and Shakespeare the man are vastly different.
The case for Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon wrote the works associated with the Bard.
The case for Christopher Marlowe
The Elizabethan playwright and poet wrote Shakespeare's works.
The case for Edward de Vere
Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote Shakespeare's collected works.
The case for Walter Raleigh
Raleigh wrote the famous plays.
The feminization of Shakespeare
Shakespeare feminizes source material.
There is sufficient motive
A female writer would have a clear need for a pseudonym like William Shakespeare.
An 'excellent gentlewoman'
A well-known Elizabethan literary critic was raving about an anonymous woman writing around the time.
A hidden code
Shakespeare's use of feminine endings reveals a female author trying to include subtle hints at her gender.
The case for Emilia Bassano
A case has been built promoting Emilia Bassano as the author of Shakespeare's works.
Shakespeare may have contributed to the works but did not write them single-handedly.
Several of his plays are clearly collaborative efforts
We know several of his plays were collaborative efforts. It is possible many more were.
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 7 Aug 2019 at 14:06 UTC