1. Shakespeare’s background
Shakespeare was born, brought up and buried in Stratford-upon-Avon, a market town of approximately 1500 residents about 100 miles northwest of London. Stratford was a centre for the slaughter, marketing and distribution of sheep. Shakespeare’s father, John Shakespeare was a glover and town official, he married Mary Arden, both signed their names with a mark (no writing), Shakespeare was brought up in an illiterate household. Shakespeare’s humble upbringing is incompatible with the man who authored such plays that exhibited an intimate knowledge of court politics and culture, foreign countries, and aristocratic sports.
2. Was Shakespeare illiterate?
There is a lack of documentary proof of Shakespeare’s education. The free King’s New School in Stratford, established 1553, was about half a mile from Shakespeare’s home. No student rosters of the period survive, so no documentation exists for the attendance of Shakespeare or any other pupil, nor did anyone who taught or attended the school ever record that they were his teacher or classmate.
How did Shakespeare, with no record of the education and cultured background displayed in the works bearing his name, acquire the extensive vocabulary found in his plays and poems?
3. Name as a pseudonym?
In his surviving signatures William Shakespeare did not spell his name as it appears on most Shakespeare title pages. His surname was spelled inconsistently in both literary and non-literary documents, with the most variation observed in those that were written by hand.
Sometimes Shakespeare’s surname was even hyphenated as ‘Shake-speare’ or ‘Shak-spear’.
He was clearly not the same person who wrote the works, and the name was used as a pseudonym for the true author or group who penned the celebrated works.
4. Where is the documentary evidence?
There is no documentary record that identifies Shakespeare as a writer, the documentary evidence available supports that he had a career as a businessman and real estate investor. Any connection that William Shakespeare had to the London theatrical world was because of his money lending, trading in theatrical properties and being a shareholder.
5. Shakespeare’s Death
Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 in Stratford, leaving a signed will to direct the disposal of his large estate. The language of the will is mundane and unpoetic and makes no mention of personal papers, books, poems, or the 18 plays that remained unpublished at the time of his death. Any public mourning of Shakespeare’s death went unrecorded, and no eulogies or poems memorialising his death were published until seven years later.