I, for one, have asked this question since the time I started the theater as my passion. Was Shakespeare a fraud? Was he really just a front for the real author, who can’t show his face or take credit due to unknown circumstances? Or did Shakespeare deliberately take credit for the author’s works like what he did on the movie “Anonymous”?
That is exactly what we are going to talk about.
The Shakespeare authorship question is a topic that has long been debated by scholars. Shakespeare’s authorship was first questioned during the 19th century. This was the time when everyone thought that Shakespeare was the greatest literary genius of their time. However, when scholars took a deep and investigative research on his humble life, some of them concluded that there is no way that this man, who lived an obscure life, was a literary and poetic genius. This convinced some people that perhaps William Shakespeare was not the man who wrote the literary masterpieces attributed to him. It was then decided by these researchers to track down the person who wrote Shakespeare’s plays and poems.
You’d think that these researchers would nail down to at least a dozen people, but no. They produced a list of 80 possible authorship candidates. However, there were only four popular choices; Sir Francis Bacon, Edward De Vere, Christopher Marlowe, and William Stanley.
I, on the other hand, believe that if Shakespeare was indeed a fraud, these two could’ve been the real author of most of his plays:
Sir Francis Bacon – One of the prominent candidate for the authorship claim, Sir Francis Bacon was one of the greatest intellectual figures of Jacobean England in the 19th century. He was a lawyer, a philosopher, an essayist, and scientist. No wonder a lot of people thought of him as the real author of Shakespeare’s plays. Bacon’s candidacy was backed by historical and literary facts, which is why people in the 19th century really believed that he was the true author.
Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford – Things took a different turn for Shakespeare’s authorship contest when a group of new researchers concluded that Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the one who wrote Shakespeare’s plays. Known as the Lord Great Chamberlain of England, Edward was a known sponsor of actors and he also patronized musicians and theater actors. He was also a well-known “suppressed anonymous and/or pseudonymous writer of his day. This led people to believe that he is the true author of Shakespeare’s plays.