The question might seem absurd, but many scholars believed, and some still hold, that Shakespeare was either not real or too incompetent to have written so many great works of literature.

            The conspiracy theories took birth almost two centuries ago. One of their chief arguments is that the plays contain too much knowledge of foreign and distant places and too much familiarity with court life and the affairs of court to have been written by someone who had minimum educational qualifications and who was so low down in the social ladder. They also say that the plays of Shakespeare have too wide a range of style that makes it impossible for someone without advanced education to write them.

According to these theories, Shakespeare had no education in the classics, or the Latin language. There is no evidence of his handwriting in a letter or other documents. The six signatures that are available today are nothing more than the scrawl of an illiterate man.

Moreover, nowhere is Shakespeare mentioned as a writer. Instead, he is described as a businessman and property owner. To top it all, his will says nothing about his writings, and is phrased in ordinary uninspiring language.

So, who wrote in Shakespeare’s name? There are many names. The most prominent figure among them is Francis Bacon, the essayist and scientist. There are others such as Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, Christopher Marlowe, William Stanley, the 6th Earl of Derby, and Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke. There is another conspiracy theory too, that Shakespeare’s works were written by a group of collaborators led by Sir Francis Bacon and Sir Walter Raleigh.

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