The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy.
Historians and scholars since the time of the Renaissance have questioned the authorship of Shakespeare's works. This controversy surfaced mainly because it is so hard to believe that a man who led such an ordinary life could be the genius who is known as the world's greatest poet and playwright today. Ralph Waldo Emerson summed up this controversy in one quote, "I cannot marry this fact to his verse. Other admirable men have led lives in some sort of keeping with their thought; but this man, in wide contrast.".
The entire reasoning behind William Shakspere's claim to the authorship is based upon inference and speculation. Because of the lack of evidence to give any one person the title of Shakespeare, there have been many theories indicating almost sixty candidates to the possible authorship, including Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, William Stanley, Queen Elizabeth I, and Edward de Vere. Although Edward de Vere has recently been named the most probable candidate for the authorship, all the evidence surrounding the authorship debate is circumstantial and the mystery probably will never be solved (The Shakespeare Oxford Society Homepage).
Profile of Shakespeare.
Because the characteristics of Shakespeare are so specific, there has yet to be found the author that fits this persona. Shakespeare's works were published from 1593-1623. Also, some of the dates are known of about when the plays and poems were written. The author's age must not only correspond with the publishing and writing dates, but the age must also correspond with the content of the literature, that is the author cannot be too young or too old to be writing this. When Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, Published According to the true Original Copies, also known as the First Folio, was published in 1623, the reference to the author of Shakespeare's works as "our ever-living poet" suggests that the author is dead (Whalen 49).