Shakespeare was a hoarder, tax evader and wily businessman?

No one can dispute the awesome contribution of William Shakespeare in English language literature. Even those who has never read Shakespeare in the original must have seen or heard about films that, unknown to some, were modern adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays. West Side Story is Romeo and Juliet set in 1960s New York City, Akira Kurosawa’s last epic film, Ran, was based on King Lear while 10 Things I Hate About You, probably most remembered for Heath Ledger’s singing, was based on the Shakespeare comedy The Taming of the Shrew.

But how much do we know about the man apart from his plays and sonnets? Was he a stereotypical starving writer? Definitely not according to two British newspaper articles.

Court and tax records show that over a 15-year period Shakespeare purchased grain, malt and barley to store and resell for inflated prices, according to a paper by Aberystwyth University academics Dr Jayne Archer, Professor Richard Marggraf Turley and Professor Howard Thomas.

The study notes: “By combining both illegal and legal activities, Shakespeare was able to retire in 1613 as the largest property owner in his home town, Stratford-upon-Avon… [The Telegraph citing The Sunday Times]

The hoarding took place during a period of famine in England.

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