The Bizarre Candidates
Of all the candidates proposed for writing Shakespeare's plays, some reach even further into the realm of fantasy. Such as:
Sir Walter Raleigh
Raleigh was a confidant of Christopher Marlowe. He led a group of free-thinking intellectuals called the “School of Night” who met and discussed religious subjects. He was also the author of History of the World, a grand undertaking of research, but hardly the quality of Hamlet. In his history Raleigh recorded that Marlowe was the first great English dramatist, the most important Elizabethan playwright before William Shakespeare.
He further wrote that Marlowe's masterpiece, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, established verse as the predominant form in English drama. It further stated that each of Marlowe's plays had, as a central character, a passionate man doomed to destruction by an inordinate desire for power.
That is what Raleigh wrote in his History, but did he write Shakespeare? Certainly his adventures in the New World brought him fame, but there is no evidence that he wrote plays.
Sir Fulke-Greville, First Baron of Brooke
Greville was a minor poet of philosophical poems, and as such is a weak contender to be chosen by his few followers to be Shakespeare. Greville's poetry was published after his death.
At Warwick Castle a few miles out of Stratford, a large oil painting hangs on the wall in a hallway. It shows a slender man (who has a slight resemblance to Shakespeare) with a goatee dressed in a black outfit wearing a felt hat with a gold chain around its crown. King James had granted the castle to Sir Fulke-Greville, who was a prominent Elizabethan courtier.
Greville came to a bad end when he had an argument with one of his man-servants in the tower of the castle over the contents of Greville's will. Angered because he was left only a pittance, the servant drew a knife and stabbed his master. Realizing the enormity of his action, the servant then turned the blade on himself. After 27 agonizing days, Greville died. (It is said that the poet's ghost still haunts the castle.)
Anne Hathaway Shakespeare
Among the more unlikely female candidates is Anne Hathaway. Shakespeare's wife, as most scholars agree, would most likely not even have been able to write.
Defoe wrote Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. He was born in 1660, almost 40 years after Shakespeare's death. Obviously, it would have been impossible for him to write the plays.
Sheik Zubayr bin William
The most bizarre of all the pretenders is Muammar al-Qaddafi's choice, Sheik Zubayr bin William. Quaddafi came up with his champion in 1989 when Radio Tehran announced that Libya's “Great One” had declared that an Arab sheik named Zubayr bin William, who had been born in the sixteenth century, was Shakespeare.