William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, "The Bard" as he is sometimes referred to as, was an English poet, playwright, and actor. He is the author of 38 plays including Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet, 154 sonnets, and two long narrative poems. He is often considered the greatest writer in the English language and is studied, taught, and revered around the world.
But what if I told you that William Shakespeare is not William Shakespeare? What if everything you thought you knew about ol' Bill was false? That he was nothing more than an illiterate actor and businessman who acted as a front for someone else's work? Or that it was a pen name for a group of writers? What if Shakespeare did not really exist?
There are several theories out there that suggest that William Shakespeare did not write the works that we know today. Instead, the story goes, they were written by any one of several people; Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon and Edward de Vere, to name a few. Little is actually known about William Shakespeare the man; biographical information is scarce and only a handful of paintings exist. Could these theories be true?
Explore the links below to see if you think The Bard truly is The Bard or if the greatest English language writer is someone else.
There are tons of websites devoted to the issue of whether or not William Shakespeare wrote all the plays, sonnets, and poems attributed to him. Some are dedicated to Francis Bacon, others to Christopher Marlowe. Many are dedicated to Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. Below are some of the better websites, but dig deeper if you find it interesting.