Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, questions on whether Shakespeare was actually the author of the works thought to be his, began to arise. His lack of a formal education, and humble family background, have contributed to questioning his genius. Since then over 80 possible candidates have been put forward as possible authors to some if not all of his attributed works.
The four most commonly suggested alternative authors are pictured above: Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby. While some of the arguments have a persuasive element, and have garnered support by a number of prominent members of society; nothing have ever been proven. Any internet search will garner a number of sites claiming to have solved the mystery of who authored the plays and many universities offer courses exploring the possiblities. Most recently, the film “Anonymous” postulated that Edward de Vere had paid Shakespeare to use his name, to prevent any difficulties to the Earl at the Tudor court. All the “evidence” is based on the lack of information available about Shakespeare himself, and nothing concretely attributes any work definitely to another author.
So believe what you will, I will continue to believe in the genius of William Shakespeare.