Following the seemingly interminable and generally overwrought discussion of who wrote Shakespeare's plays, the answer can now be revealed.
After thirty-some years of intense study of the plays (I have even read most of them), it is clear to me that they must have been written by an actor. And not just any actor, but a professional who trod the boards daily, year after year, and knew in his soul what it is like to have to entertain an SRO audience in midsummer heat.
What is most remarkable in the plays is the language, the incomparable inexplicable power and glory of the verse. But since no one can actually write that well, the language itself cannot be used to determine authorship.
However, what is most revealing in the plays is the extreme focus on character over plot. Plot is the last of this playwright's concern. He steals them from anywhere, and slaps them down without a thought or care about contradictions. He can do this because he knows he can get laughs from a grocery list if he has the character right. This is the mark of an experienced performer.
And where else in the English language have we ever seen such an explosion of character. Take As You Like It (one of my personal favorites). There are maybe a dozen characters in this play that would dominate the stage in any other playwright's work. This is how you keep your company of players happy year after year while traveling the backroads of England.
So the person who wrote the plays was an actor. And of all the actors suspected of having written Shakespeare's plays, the most likely choice is the one with the same name.
Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. Q. E. D.
Next time: who is buried in Grant's Tomb.