Was William Shakespeare Actually Real?

Different theories debating who in actuality was the greatest playwright and poet.

Karina Kay
4 min readJul 1, 2022


Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays and over 150 poems. He is one of the most well-known writers. Widely admired and criticized. However, many historians and skeptics argue that William Shakespeare was not a real man.

A silhouette with a feather in their hand. In the background there is a red curtain.
Photo by cottonbro in Pexels

Shakespeare was illiterate

Some skeptics argue that Shakespeare did not actually have any formal education after primary school, suggesting that he wouldn’t have known the proper grammar, the vast vocabulary, or how to write, especially considering the complexity of his works.

They argue that there is not enough evidence to prove that Shakespeare was a real man, rather than someone working under a pseudonym.

Some say that his parents and his surviving children were illiterate, which can be considered to be unusual for such a seemingly educated man.

His plays included political, legal, and social matters. For an individual who has no records of education, he had extensive knowledge, which helped him create complex and intriguing plays.

However, other playwrights and poets like Ben Johnson also came from modest backgrounds and there were no claims throughout his life that he is working under a pseudonym.

Oxfordian Theory

The Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere is argued to be the real Shakespeare, who used the name to conceal his real identity because of how provocative, politically and otherwise, some of the plays were.

He was an English peer, lyric poet, and theater patron.

J. Thomas Looney in ‘Shakespeare’ Identified argued that some of Oxford’s work was similar to Shakespeare’s. He also states that there is a biographical similarity between Oxford, Bertram (in All’s Well That Ends Well), and Hamlet.

Also, after de Vere stopped publishing his work, Shakespeare’s works started to appear. He traveled Europe and loved Italian culture. A lot of Shakespeare’s plays have Italian settings.

Similarly, Oxford was interested in history, which could explain plays such as Julius Caesar and the…



Karina Kay

I am a Student and a Freelance Writer. I write about everything from self-improvement to sociological issues and debates. Contact me: Kkxy13@outlook.com