Willy Shakespeare

the identity debate
"Isn't it odd, when you think of it, that you may list all the celebrated Englishmen, Irishmen
and Scotchmen of modern times, clear back to the first Tudors - a list containing 500 names,
shall we say - and you can go to the histories, biographies and cyclopedias and learn the
particulars about every one of them. Every one of them except one - the most famous, the
most renowned - by far the most illustrious of them all - Shakespeare!"
-Mark Twain
There are a lot of theories claiming that Shakespeare’s works haven’t been written by
William Shakespeare but by several other playwrights. The so called “identity debate”
already had its start in the 1700s.
Potential candidates
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
This contemporary of Shakespeare has been strongly advanced since the 1930s as
the true author of Shakespeare's plays. The author Charlton Ogburn (“The
Mysterious William Shakespeare”) tried to find parallels of the Earl's life with material
from Shakespeare’s plays - for instance, there are similarities between Polonius of
Hamlet and the Earl's guardian, William Cecil. The Earl of Oxford apparently stopped
writing at an early and possibly continued writing under the pen name of William
Francis Bacon, Philosopher and Writer
Bacon has a high place on the list of potential candidates. Bacon wrote lots of letters
but his style and expression vary a lot from that of Shakespeare's works. As Bacon
was a very busy man and also produced such a big output of his own, it's hard to
think about him finding enough time to produce the quality output of work attributed to
Shakespeare. Though modern critics claim that Francis Bacon was not a poet, the
book “Francis Bacon and his Secret Society” proves that he was definitely able to
write in a poetic way. Dr. Abbott who wrote the book “Life of Bacon” says that Francis
Bacon is a man with a mind that is “not truly philosophic but truly poetic”.
Christopher Marlowe, Playwright
Marlowe would be a possible candidate, as he was stabbed to death in a tavern fight
in 1593 and there are quite a few people who say that he actually didn’t die at all.
According to some, he was a spy in the employ of the Crown. If so, Marlowe would
have had to die a fake death, after which he went on writing some poetry and plays
under the name of William Shakespeare for an undetermined time.
The list of potential candidates is very long and even Queen Elizabeth I. herself is on
it. In the end, it’s not sure whether Shakespeare wrote his works. It’s not even sure if
he existed at all, because according to Mark Twain, the huge number of
Shakespeare’s biographies are just composed of guesswork. Only six examples of
his handwriting are known to exist: six signatures, each spelled differently. When he
died, nobody seems to have noticed.