William Shakespeare is regarded as Englands greatest ever playwright.
Although his name is accredited to the plays which carry his name today, there is a belief that it was not William Shakespeare who actually wrote those plays.
The man we know as ‘The Bard’ or ‘the Swan of Avon’ may well have learnt latin and greek at grammar school, have possessed a brain like a sponge for detail, had a certain literary ability and have been acquainted with the likes of Robert Dudley, Lord Leicester through his Stratfordian circles.
It is, however, a lot less likely that he would have acquired the knowledge first-hand to write the material substance of the plays other than in a collaborative capacity with another or others.
It seems that William Shakespeare came to London in the 1580s very much as an opportunist, troubled back in rural Stratford upon Avon by his marriage of three years to Anne Hathaway and as a getaway from the Shakespeare family feud with local puritan magistrate Sir Thomas Lucy.
By the autumn of 1588 at least, he would have been well known in London theatre circles and approached by the man who would use him as his frontman for the Shakespeare plays.
The ‘upstart crow’, alias William Shakespeare, referred to by Robert Greene in a publication, first came to public attention in 1592.
It seems quite inconceivable that Robert Greene was not the only one who suspected or knew that there was a man behind Shakespeare writing the plays.
For a couple of decades more, the name of William Shakespeare would light up the London Theatre scene.
William Shakespeare, ever the opportunist, set up his own theatre group, his own theatre and invested in land and property back in Stratford.
The man behind William Shakespeare was almost certainly Francis Bacon.
Born in 1562 and just two years older than Shakespeare, he was supposedly the bastard child of the Queen of England herself, Elizabeth I, from her relationship with Robert Dudley.
Denied his right to be a future King, Francis Bacon spent a lifetime in law, politics, science and the arts.
His masterful intelect, varied experiences from travel across Europe, linguistic ability and extensive circle of contacts, especially in royal circles, would place him as the most likely person to be identified as the man behind Shakespeare.
Francis Bacon lived out a life with an unusual status. The very tentative nature of that status meant that he could never claim the plays he wrote as his own. He needed a ‘frontman’ and William Shakespeare was that ‘frontman’.
William Shakespeare may well have added a touch of comedy and drama to the plots and developed certain characters from people he had known throughout his life but there can be no doubt that subtle inferences throughout most if not all the plays have the hallmark of a man of patronage like Francis Bacon and not a commoner like William Shakespeare.
It is no coincidence that when Francis Bacon was elevated, finally, to a position of higher political office in 1612 and could no longer devote time and energy to writing plays like before, it was the time William Shakespeare should choose to retire back to Stratford.
The Shakespeare plays are many things to many people but more than anything, they are a historical chronicle, reference and statement of the Elizabethan era bespoken by a man of the highest intelect.
Francis Bacon played his part, several years after William Shakespeares death in 1616, in ensuring that the full literary works he had written and allowed William Shakespeare to take credit for, were published to the world as the First Folio.
So many people would have known of the Bacon-Shakespeare collusion, notably Ben Jonson, Richard Field, Richard Burbage, the Earl of Pembroke, Queen Elizabeth I herself and James I.
The Bacon-Shakespeare collusion was an open secret to more than a privileged few.
As talented and opportunistic as William Shakespeare may have been, it is hard to subscribe to the romantic version that he was an undeniable genius who wrote the plays from his own inspiration and without any assistance. Nothing suggests that.
Francis Bacon has sought to leave various subtle clues through documentation and just knowledge about his life in general that only a man of royal blood and not a commoner could have written the Shakespeare plays.
Francis Bacon was the man behind William Shakespeare.