The question of authorship has always been problematic in the case of Shakespeare. Although he is loved and revered as the "eternal bard," the greatest playwrite of all time, there is still much debate about whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote the texts that we now attribute to him. Playwriting in the Early Modern Period was very collaborative, and the idea of a single author who created an original text was not in existence. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published under other names and vice versa. Some critics suggest that Shakespeare didn't write any of these plays, but rather the Earl of Oxford was responsible.
In exploring different versions of Viola's soliloquy, this project seeks to demonstrate the impossibility of the existence of any Shakespearean original. Whether altered by contributing authors, actors, typesetting editing or mistakes, or modern editors (most of which do not footnote their own or previously accepted emendations) the plays that we attribute to William Shakespeare are no more his work than anybody else's. The reference to Shakespeare as the author is a fiction.