Hoarder, moneylender, tax dodger — it’s not how we usually think of William Shakespeare.
But we should, according to a group of academics who say the Bard was a ruthless businessman who grew wealthy dealing in grain during a time of famine."
Wow! Someone in show BUSINESS who wanted to make money. What a concept!
If you brought back Will today and he found out his plays were still being performed, he would not believe it!
Also, he’d try to figure out how to collect the residuals.
You can’t really blame him. There isn’t a lot of bread in writing and acting.
One of the several reasons that the traditional biography never added up to me–and why, when I was presented with the Oxfordian theory (though resistant at first), the entire canon made sense for the first time. Look it up (not on Wikipedia, where moderators have deemed it the second-most contentious page after “Israel/Palestine”!) and see if the life of a rich, lackadaisical wastrel doesn’t fit the works.
There was a documentary, In Search of Shakespeare, which suggested that Shakespeare’s father hoarded wool and sold it illegally to avoid taxation. The evidence for this was in town records kept by the constabulary so meticulously that they would make J. Edgar Hoover envious. Their claim was that England of the time was essentially a police state, and the elder Shakespeare was taking some pretty big risks by flouting it.
In any case, both these claims are interesting tidbits, but even if I took them as proven, it wouldn’t reduce, or really even color, my enjoyment of Shakespeare’s works. Nor would definitive proof that Shakespeare didn’t, in fact, write them. The works stand on their own.
I’m not sure that the ‘tax dodger’ claim really rings true. Was not tax collection in those days rather different? Was it not privatised? So tax collection consisted of the tax collector demanding as much as he thought you could pay? And sending the heavies round if you didn’t?