Who is the real Shakespeare?
One of the largest mysteries of current time is the debate over who the author of the plays commonly attributed to William Shakespeare really is. Commonly termed as the “authorship problem,” many skeptics believe that the William Shaksper of Stratford (the spelling of his name originally) could not have been the true composer of the plays he is traditionally attributed with. Although the thought of someone besides Shakespeare composing the plays is not popular with the American and European world, there are excessive theories concerning the truth behind the possibility of the works being authentically his.
Doubts about the true composer of Shakespeare’s works generally arise from the fact that there is no logical match between the working-class William Shaksper of Stratford and the work, and the absence of proper documentation that connect him to any of the works. According to Volker Multhopp in his essay “Why I am not a Stratfordian,” “This man achieved the absolute pinnacle of English literature in an era when class was paramount, yet his own origin was absolutely ordinary-- middle class” (1). According to the Oxford Society in the “Shakespeare Authorship FAQ,” “Nothing about the Stratford man rings true: his character, his background, his education, his family, his friends, his behavior towards his debtors and his neighbors, his recorded conversation and his attitude to money and property” (1). With all of the evidence pointed against the Stratford man as being the author of the world’s greatest literature, Stratfordians claim that the consequential details of his life pointing against him merely make him an unmitigated genius.
Doubts about the authorship of Shakespeare date back to the 17th century, just years after his death; in fact, “During the past two hundred years, many people have decided that the name ‘Shakespeare’ must have been a pseudonym, and have tried to identify the true author“ (Authorship FAQ 2). Although the tireless search for the real Shakespeare has existed for centuries, biographers and scholars cannot bridge the expansive gap between the details of Shaksper’s life and the sublimity of the plays. Although there is no hardcore evidence proving any author to be directly responsible for writing the plays, the most commonly mentioned candidates include the seventeenth Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon, William Stanley Derby, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, and even Queen Elizabeth herself. Consequently, those willing to accept William Shaksper as the true author of Shakespeare’s works generally concede to the concept that the arisen commoner had aristocratic assistance in composing his plays.
Perhaps one of the most perplexing arguments surrounding the “authorship problem” would be the total lack of documentation proving Shaksper of Stratford to the works of Shakespeare. According to the Oxford Society, “There should be...