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The Man Behind the Mask Who is the man behind the mask That is a question that many have asked The mask that I am referring to is that of William Shakespeare The authorship question has been pondered since the 1780s when the Reverend James Wilmot spent four wasted years trying to link Shakespeare to the works attributed to him Many potential candidates along with several completely random names have been proposed as the real author of the plays and sonnets we relate to William Shakespeare Several leading candidates include the Earl of Oxford the Earl of Southampton Francis Bacon and a few others have been suggested although less of a thought has been given to them One idea suggests that the name Shakespeare was really the hyphenated pseudonym William Shake-speare A popular belief is that Shake-speare is in reference to Athena who had the nickname Spear Shaker This also leads to the pseudonym idea because one of Athenas powers was that she could be invisible Others have also pointed out that the spear could serve also as a dual purpose The spear is also another way to describe a pen So what better pen name in a time when writers were highly criticized then the invisible Spear Shaker or Shakespeare Despite more than two centuries of research beginning with Wilmot there is not a scrap of documentation that Shakespeare ever wrote anything in his life There are no manuscripts poems letters diaries or records in his own hand His will dictated to a lawyer makes no mention of a literary legacy and who should inherit it In all of the supposedly signed things with the name Shakespeare there are six different signatures in different handwriting There are six similar though far from identical portraits of the man In addition no birth certificate was ever found The only link so far is there was a man named
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