In one of the most famous depictions, known as the Chandos portrait after its onetime owner, the subject has a full beard, a receding hairline, loosened shirt-ties and a shiny gold hoop dangling from his left ear.
The fashion may have been inspired by sailors, who sported a single gold earring to cover funeral costs in case they died at sea. One hundred twenty years later, the highly adaptable species has taken over the skies, becoming invasive and driving some native birds to the brink of extinction. How did a provincial commoner who had never gone to college or ventured outside Stratford become one of the most prolific, worldly and eloquent writers in history? Even early in his career, Shakespeare was spinning tales that displayed in-depth knowledge of international affairs, European capitals and history, as well as familiarity with the royal court and high society.
For this reason, some theorists have suggested that one or several authors wishing to conceal their true identity used the person of William Shakespeare as a front. Most scholars and literary historians remain skeptical about this hypothesis, although many suspect Shakespeare sometimes collaborated with other playwrights.
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