Did Shakespeare Exist?
Most people do not realize the great controversy surrounding whether Shakespeare is indeed the author of his plays. Much of it comes from conspiracy theorists, but a number of famous writers and intellectuals have also expressed doubts. For scholars, however, conclusions about Shakespeare's authorship can only result from in-depth research into the man, his writings, and - more generally - the history of Elizabethan drama.
Before being able to tackle the controversy over Shakespeare's authorship, an initial question needs to be addressed. Was Shakespeare a living person? Along with the controversy over the author of the plays, some have used doubts over Shakespeare's existence as a partial basis of their argument against authorship. If Shakespeare did not exist, it leaves room open for someone else to be in the place of this fake figure as the true author of the works.
The Shakespeare Memorial in Stratford-upon-Avon, 1888 memorial by Lord Ronald Gower, photo by Pedro Benito Sáez, 2015
From your initial knowledge, do you believe that Shakespeare was a real person?