Again, it is not my intention to demonstrate that one of these arguments is the “best”

or “right” argument, but rather to show the variety of scholarly hypotheses on this

issue that have accumulated over the years and to consider the ways in which the

history of this controversy opens onto other scholarly issues of equal, or greater,

importance to the overall history of Elizabethan theatre. To that end, I have attempted

to avoid an organization that privileges one argument or another. These chapters do

not move from strongest to weakest or vice versa. Instead, I have elected to use

a roughly chronological sequence of the scholarship on both Shakespeare and the

history of Elizabethan theatre. Thus, since Malone proposed Shakespeare might have

been in the Queen’s Men, I begin with chapter on this company before moving on to

Strange’s Men, Pembroke’s Men and Sussex’s Men. Following these four chapters,

I examine the currently popular proposition that Shakespeare went to Lancashire as

a teenager, possibly acting under the patronage of Alexander Hoghton and Thomas

Hesketh. A final chapter is dedicated to examining the argument for Shakespeare’s

membership in Leicester’s Men, which I use a springboard to discussing arguments

for Shakespeare’s presence in Essex’s, Worcester’s, Warwick’s, Oxford’s, and the

Admiral’s Men, all of which have relatively little evidence to support them.