Over the past 150 years, not that I remember them personally, there has been a lot of speculation over the authenticity of Shakespeare and his work. The latest piece of work that is in question is, All’s Well That Ends Well.

As reported by the BBC the play has been researched by the Oxford University academics, who have found that many parts of the script are inconsistent with Shakespeare’s style of writing. They propose that for the most part, the style of writing and language used is more likely to be that of Thomas Middleton.

Middleton was a London playwright and is said to be the only other acclaimed playwright of his era (other than Shakespeare). He has successfully written masterpieces in comedy, tragedy and history, and although his collection was not published until long after his death, his work is well recognised.

Based on a thorough analysis of the writing of All’s Well That Ends Well, the Oxford University academics have concluded that the script was likely to be a combined effort from many writers, with a high percentage likely to be written by Middleton and NOT Shakespeare.

This is another bend in a long line of uncertainty surrounding what is currently known as the greatest writer in the English language, Shakespeare. Previous attempts to discredit the playwright have named Christopher Marlowe, William Stanley (6th Earl of Derby) and Edward De Vere (17th Earl of Oxford) amongst others as possible substitutes.

One of the main factors for doubting Shakespeare’s work is his education, background and life experiences. Many say that the person(s) responsible for writing Shakespeare’s works would have been someone university educated, well travelled and well lived; Shakespeare was neither of these things.

There have also been doubts about his visual appearance, with many portraits of Shakespeare portraying distinctly different characteristics. What we can say is, whether written by Shakespeare himself, one of his peers or the recently named Middleton, we can’t deny the impact the writing has had on a variety of modern day works.