Shakespeare Authorship debate

Who wrote Shakespeare's plays?

Meet the candidates

Edward De Vere

Was the 17th earl of Oxford.

Born on April 12, 1550. (14 years before Shakespeare)

Recieved master of arts degree at Oxford in 1566. Died on June 24th 1604.

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon, was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Born January 22, 1561, Strand, London.


Christopher Marlowe

An English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. He greatly influenced William Shakespeare, who was born in the same year as Marlowe and who eventually became the pre-eminent Elizabethan playwright after Marlowe's mysterious early death, in 1593.Born 1564 in Canterbury, scholarships to King's School Canterbury and Corpus Christi, Cambridge. Died in 1593

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet.

Born: April 23, 1564, Stratford-upon-Avon

Died: April 23, 1616, Stratford-upon-Avon

William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby

Born 1561, London, England; died Sept. 25, 1642, Lathom House, Lancashire, English writer and active member of the theatre who has been offered by some theorists as the true author of the plays of William Shakespeare. He succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinando, as the earl of Derby in 1594. Like His older brother, he held an avid interest in the theatre and maintained a company of actors known as Derby’s Men.

Case for the following

Francis Bacon

Bacon’s eligibility as the true author of Shakespeare’s work resides in his knowledge and general education. Bacon was described by friends as a 'concealed poet' and 'the precious gem of concealed literature'.


Christopher Marlowe

Marlowe was born in 1564, in the same years Shakespeare, and was a product of the same social class as him. Unlike Shakespeare however, Marlowe was university-educated. This solid foundation in academics allowed him to be an effective writer and poet. His poetry was heavily influenced by Latin. By the late 1580’s Marlowe’s way of writing was a form of art.

Edward De Vere

The evidence supporting Bacon as the true author of Shakespeare’s plays ranges from, aristocratic knowledge of the upper classes through his education to the structural similarities between his poetry and Shakespeare’s.

William Stanley

His involvement in theater, his international travels, his intimacy with court life, and several poems authored by an unknown “W.S.” are the major points that support William Stanley as the true Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Most academics agree that William Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Evidence for this comes from Parish records confirming his birth in 1564, records of his life in London in the 1600s, his name On all of his plays, his marriage certificate, his application to change his family’s coat of arms, and his recorded death in 1616.

Points Against them being the real Shakespear

Francis Bacon

It is known that Bacon was familiar with Rosicrucian, Hermetic, Kabbalistic and Neoplatonic themes. The poem Venus and Adonis, As You Like It, and Love’s Labour’s Lost all feature Rosicrucian themes but this does not mean Sir Francis wrote them; only that he was in a position to write about Rosicrucian themes. This would be a common coincidence due to his position in royality. He was not the only man whom Rosicrucian would share characteristics with

Christopher Marlowe

The biggest problem Marlowe with Marlowe being the supposed Shakespeare, is he died in 1593; too early to author many of the famous plays. In addition, all the plays he wrote were published after his death and attributed to him personally. Why weren’t 37 other plays and 154 sonnets attributed to him officially as well. Stylistically, Marlowe has little in common with the Bard and so is a poor contender in the authorship debate.

Edward De Vere

A large problem for Edward De Vere authoring Shakespeare’s work is the fact that he died in 1604. This was before about 12 plays credited to Shakespeare were written. However even Sir Edmund K. Chambers, a noted Stratfordian, agrees that the standard dating of Shakespeare’s play is sketchy at best.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare the great playwright and William Shaksper were different men. William Shaksper lived in Stratford. This suggests that William Shakespeare could not have been the man who came from Stratford. The gaps in William Shakspeares life as reordered have many gaps in them, whoch lead many scholars to question the authorship of the plays. It is also argued that Shakespeare did not have the opportunities to posses the upper class knowledge he showed in his writing.

My opinion

My opinion on the authorship debate stands that 'Shakespeare' is a name used to hide the true identity of the author. due to the gaps in Shakespeare of Stratfords life it makes it near impossible to piece together solid evidence defending him as the true author. The facts are not in favor of the original authorship credit. The lack of knowledge a person of the William Shakespeare's social status would have in the upper class insight is not accurate. The literary aspect of this debate makes it clear that the William Shakespeare was not educated to the extent that was shown in the playwrights credited to him. It is frustrating to understand and except that the greatest writer in history may remained nameless for eternity. However it is clear that the great mind and identity of 'William Shakespeare' was left uncertain for a reason and this does not change the impact these plays have on our societies to this day. William Shakespeare will continue to remain William Shakespeare and all the great plays and poems attributed to him will remain that way. Instead of questioning the authorship of the plays, one should take them for what they are and how they are written and appreciate them instead of questioning the authenticity.
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