William Shakespeare, the great poet and playwright from the 16th century England, was a man of mystery. Even today, he is regarded as the greatest dramatist and poet of all time, yet so little is known about his personal life.
Shakespeare’s poems and plays are known all around the world. You must have heard at least one of the lines from his famous sonnets or dramas. However, as for his private life, there is not much to be said. England’s Bard lived in full of ambiguity. As a result, a lot of conspiracy theories have developed around him.
Famous Shakespeare Conspiracy Theories
Was it really Shakespeare behind all these masterpieces? If not, who was it? Is it only one author? What about multiple authors? Who was Shakespeare? There are so many conspiracy theories trying to come up with an alternative answer to these questions. Here are some of the most exciting conspiracies about Shakespeare.
- Christopher Marlowe
The famous playwright Christopher Marlowe is regarded as the predecessor of Shakespeare. Both playwrights were writing at the same time, so it’s highly possible that the two came across. Some people believe that Marlowe was the one behind all of Shakespeare’s plays. Why?
First of all, they had similar writing styles; even their word choices were parallel with each other. Moreover, Marlowe died right before Shakespeare started to earn his reputation. Therefore, many people believe that Marlowe actually faked his death and published his works with the name of Shakespeare.
- Sir Francis Bacon
Shakespeare’s family were probably illiterate, and he never attended a university in his life. However, his knowledge about the affairs of English aristocracy such as we see in his plays was so specific that it’s hard to believe Shakespeare could write them.
Some scholars and literary critics couldn’t believe it either, and thus, they came up with a conspiracy theory: What if Shakespeare was actually a nobleman who didn’t want to reveal his real name and preferred to publish his works as a different person?
According to these theorists, that person was the famous writer, essayist, and scientist Sir Francis Bacon.
Bacon was an intellectual man; he knew about aristocracy and traveled a lot – all subjects that appear frequently in Shakespeare’s plays. Moreover, both writers had similarities in their works. When we think of all these clues, it’s not hard to believe that Bacon was the name behind Shakespeare’s masterpieces.
- Edward de Vere
Those of you who watched the film Anonymous (2011) can remember this name. Members of the Shakespeare Oxford Society claim that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford was the ghostwriter of Shakespeare’s plays.
Oxford was known for his beautiful poems and plays. Although no clear evidence supports he did write them, Oxfordians say that there are certain clues we should think about:
Oxford also loved traveling, he had several wild experiences such as running into pirates and meeting savages, most of which can be found in Shakespeare’s writing. Moreover, Oxford was an elite man; he knew about aristocracy, and most of the royal people who were invited to Shakespeare’s friends were Oxford’s close friends and acquaintants.
The parallelism between these two famous poets eventually led to this conspiracy theory, and if you are also interested in the Oxfordian theory, we suggest the movie Anonymous for further details.
- Group Theory
Last but not least, is the theory of various authors. In 1846, Joseph C Hart came up with an argument that multiple writers had written Shakespeare’s plays. A few years later, this argument was supported by Delia Bacon, saying Shakespeare never wrote on his own. Instead, there was a group of people named The Oxford Syndicate, including Bacon, Marlowe, and other contemporaries of Shakespeare who were behind his famous works.
Shakespeare was indeed a man of mystery. We know so little about one of the most significant figures in English Literature, and the conspiracy theories help us to come up with a possible answer to one of the biggest mysteries in history.
All of these theories suggest something to think about, and now it’s your turn. What is your opinion? Which theory do you think is the most reasonable? Feel free to share your theories with us!