The Challenge - Get involved in the Identity / Authorship Debate
Can you solve the mysteries surrounding the Shakespeare Identity problem, conspiracy theory and his contempories? William-Shakespeare.info cannot provide a definitive answer to the Shakespeare Identity Problem and the various conspiracy theory options. We do have our own point of view, but we do not wish to unduly influence our visitors. We do, however, make one exception as we believe that we have made original and valid comments regarding the Droeshout Engraving which everyone will be able to debate. We have called it The Collar Theory. Have you developed your own opinion on the William Shakespeare Identity problem / conspiracy theory? We can provide you with some interesting clues. We can tell you about the people who might well be involved in the conspiracy theory or who are linked to the Identity problem. Can you find some vital missing evidence? Get ready to start a journey that you will never forget. Get ready to be both shocked and surprised at where your investigations will take you. Can you make a vital connection with some seemingly unrelated information? Fame and Glory could be your reward! History and William Shakespeare will never seem boring again ! Meet the challenge and try to resolve the Identity / Authorship problem and investigate the conspiracy theory! What are your views on the William Shakespeare Identity / Authorship problem?
New Theory from william-shakespeare.info
Our research into the identity problem and conspiracy theory regarding the Bard has taken us down many strange roads, not to mention the occasional blind alley! We have documented some elements of our story to share with our visitors.
The Background to the Identity / Authorship Problem
For years a controversy has raged over the true authorship of the works of William Shakespeare. That the authorship is in doubt sounds totally inconceivable to the uninitiated. An Identity problem? An Authorship Problem ? A Conspiracy Theory? Viewed as sheer Sacrilege or Heresy by many. So who has cast such doubts? Are they completely mad? Or do they have a real basis for their views? Is there any basis for a Identity / Authorship problem ?
Get ready for your first surprise! The following people have cast serious doubts over the validity of William Shakespeare as the true author and added speculation to the identity / authorship problem:
Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin, Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Walt Whitman, Malcolm X, Dickens, Keats, Sir John Gielgud, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ben Jonson, J. Thomas Looney (Author), Delia Bacon (Author), Palmerston, Orson Welles, John Galsworthy, Leslie Howard and Derek Jacobi. In 1985 Jane Cox (Principle Asst Keeper of Records Her Majesties Stationery Office) confirmed that all documents containing William Shakespeare signatures are by a different hand. The findings of Thomas Mendenhall relating to matches between the comparative word lengths in the writings of major contenders are also very illuminating. Adding to the debate over the Identity / Authorship problem.
The Clues, the Contemporaries & the Contenders
Warning! The Quest to solve the Identity / Aurthorship Problem surrounding William Shakespeare is not for the feint hearted! What we can guarantee is that you will become completely fascinated by the whole subject of Identity and Authorship. The familiar names from history will take on a different perspective. You will start to really understand the people behind the famous names - who they were friendly with, who they were related to and what intrigues they were involved with. It must be remembered that these were dangerous times and that the Tower of London, the instruments of torture and the executioner's axe was never far away from Free Thinking courtiers and their associates. The need to maintain secrecy was paramount as their lives really did depend on it. Which characters were involved in possible conspiracies?
We have detailed below some clues, some contenders and their contempories all relating to the identity / authorship problem. These can only be considered a starting point to solving the mystery of the William Shakespeare Identity / Authorship Problem and authorship debate. The Shakespeare Forum has been provided as a vehicle to air your points of view and share the opinions of other visitors on the identity problem and conspiracy theory. What are your views on the William Shakespeare Identity / Authorship problem ?
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Was his education sufficient? Did his background / life experiences provide enough information? Why didn't he publish his plays or Sonnets? What kind of man was he? Who were his friends? Why couldn't his children read or write? What did he leave in his will and why was it unusual? What were his other business interests? When did he retire and why? Why was the name Shakespeare never included in the documented evidence regarding plays and actors by Philip Henslowe (who worked with Edward Alleyne) ? Why weren't any plays attributed to him until 1623 in the First Folio, seven years after his death? What happened during the 'missing years'? What actual facts, documented evidence is available about Shakespeare? What did he really look like? How does this information relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
The First Folio - 1623
Why was it compiled? Who were the editors? Who was it dedicated to and why? Were there secret messages / clues on the First Folio? What did the words on the Folio mean? What other engravings were made by Martin Droeshout, of whom and commissioned by? How many strange features can you identify in the Droeshout engraving? Was the engraving by Martin Droeshout incredibly clever or unbelievably poor? What were the differences between the illustration on the First Folio and the Marshall Engraving on the 1640 edition of Shakespeare's sonnets? Why was a similar engraving, with strange attributes , made on Cryptomenticies attributed to Gustavus Selenus and what was the connection with the Duke of Brunswick & Bacon? Was there a connection with the secret society called the Rosicrucians?
Who were possible members and leaders of the Rosicrucian movement during Shakespeare's era? What were the beliefs of the Rosicrucians? Why is the year 1623 important to the Rosicrucian movement? Why was the society a secret one? What is and was Meritorious Order of the Rosy Cross? Was there a connection to the Knight Templars? Is there a connection with the Masonic Orders? What was the School of Night and who was involved with it? How might these relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Why was the period called the Renaissance? Who were the Free Thinkers? Who were the most important celebrities of the Renaissance period? Why did this period prompt so much interest in Alchemy? How might this relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Which countries supported the Catholic religion? Which countries supported the Protestant religion? What happened on the St Bartholomew's Eve? Who witnessed these events and what effect might they have had in England? How might this relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Christopher Marlowe 1564 -1593(Contender)
Who was Marlowe? What was his background and education? What was his connection with Sir Walter Raleigh? What was the 'Poetry Contest' between Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe and John Donne? What works was he famous for? What was his relationship with Sir Francis Walsingham? Was he a Secret Agent? Why did the Lords of the Privy Council need to intervene in order for Marlowe to receive his University degree? Who were his contemporaries? Why was he accused of heresy? What penalty would the charges against him have held? What sort of court was the Star Chamber, and when was Marlowe to appear before it? What really happened at Mistress Bull's house in Deptford, London? Why did his meeting with three friends, known Secret agents for Walsingham, end in his untimely death? Why was he buried in an unmarked grave? What were the findings of the inquest into the death of Marlowe? What happened to the accused Secret Agent, Friser? What is the 'evidence' put forward by the supporters of Marlowe? How does Marlowe relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke - 1561-1621 (Contender)
Who was Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke? Why was she viewed as the second most important lady in the land next to the Queen? Who was her famous brother? Who was her grandfather? Where did she live? Who were members of the Pembroke Circle? Why was she referred to as the Swan of Avon? Who was her husband? What positions did her husband hold? How are her sons connected to the First Folio? What connections did she have with the de Veres of Castle Hedingham? What is the 'evidence' put forward by the supporters of the Countess of Pembroke? How does the Countess of Pembroke relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604) (Contender)
What was his background and education? What are the frequent references in the sonnets and the playsto events that are paralleled in Oxford's life? What did George Puttenham say about the Earl of Oxford? Who did one of his daughters marry and what was their connection to the First Folio? Where was his estate, Bilton Hall, situated? What is his connection with the Blackfriars Theatre? Why was his father-in-law, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, important in Elizabeth's court? What were his connections with Italy? What is the 'evidence' put forward by the supporters of Oxford? How does the Earl of Oxford relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
William Stanley, the 6th Earl of Derby (1561-1642) (Contender)
What was his background and education? How important are Derby's initials? What is the 'evidence' put forward by the supporters of William Stanley, the 6th Earl of Derby? How does Stanley relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Sir Francis Bacon 1561-1626 (Contender)
What was the background and education of Bacon? What was Bacon particularly famous for? Which famous books of the period had the same Baconian 'Frontispiece' as the First Folio? What was his connection with the Duke of Brunswick? Was he involved in any Secret Societies? Where did the grand tour of Bacon take him and what are the connections with the works of Shakespeare? What was the 1620 Novum Organum? What was the Cryptomenytices?What is the 'evidence' put forward by the supporters of Sir Francis Bacon? How does Sir Francis Bacon relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Roger Manners, Fifth Earl of Rutland 1576-1612 (Contender)
What is the link between Roger Manners, Denmark and Hamlet? What is the 'evidence' put forward by the supporters of Roger Manners, Fifth Earl of Rutland? How does Manners relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Key People of the era
Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Reigned 1558-1603
How secure was Queen Elizabeth I on the throne of England? What her views on religion? Why was Mary, Queen of Scots such a threat? What was the Babington Plot? Did Elizabeth support the Free Thinkers? Why were Sir Francis Walsingham's Secret Agents so important to Elizabeth?
John Dee (1527-1608)
Who was John Dee? What was he famous for? What positions at court did he hold? Who were his close associates?
Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
Who was Ben Jonson? What was his connection with Shakespeare? What did he write on The First Folio? What did he mean? Did he like Shakespeare the man, or loathe him? How and Why was the wording of the text by Ben Jonson and the engraving on the First Folio altered on the 1640 second edition of the Sonnets?
Edward Alleyne (1566-1626)
Who was Edward Alleyne? What was his profession? What was his connection with playhouses? How successful was he? What was his connection with Dulwich College? What was his relationship with John Donne? Was he connected to the Rosicrucians? How do the Rosicrucians relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Philip Henslow (1550-1616)
Who was Philip Henslow and why is his work so important? What was the significance of his diary?
John Donne (1572-1631)
Who was John Donne? What was he famous for? What positions at court did he hold? Who were his close associates and relatives?
Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)
Who was Edmund Spenser? How does The Faerie Queene relate to an English knight and the 'Red Cross'? Who were the associates of Edmund Spenser? How does Edmund Spenser relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 - 1618)
What positions did Sir Walter Raleigh hold? What were his interests in literature and who were his associates? Why was he held in the Tower Of London? Why was he executed? Who were his associates? Who was Thomas Harriot and why was he important to Sir Walter Raleigh? Why would Ben Jonson and Sir Francis Bacon have visited Raleigh when he was in the Tower of London? What great work was completed by Raleigh whilst he was imprisoned? How does Sir Walter Raleigh relate to the Identity / Authorship problem ?
King James I (1566-1625) Reigned 1603-1625
What was his background, childhood and education? How was he related to Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots? What was his religion? What were his beliefs about witchcraft and alchemy? How did he view Theatre and Actors?
Intriguing New Theory from william-shakespeare.info
Our research has taken us down many strange roads, not to mention the occasional blind alley! Click on the following links to follow our story. We believe that our "Collar Theory" is totally original.