Scholars Accuse Shakespeare of Tax Evasion


Apparently, Shakespeare’s Shylock was autobiographical. Scholars from Aberystwyth University in Wales are arguing that the bard was a savvy businessman, selling grain at a markup during a famine and pursuing those who owed him money. His business dealings occasionally got him into trouble: he was accused of tax evasion and prosecuted for hoarding grain during a time of shortage.

The researchers say scholars have overlooked Shakespeare’s financial activities in order to preserve his image as a romantic genius. “Shakespeare the grain-hoarder has been redacted from history so that Shakespeare the creative genius could be born,” they wrote in a paper due out this May at the Hay literary festival.

Source: The Telegraph, April 1


6 responses to “Scholars Accuse Shakespeare of Tax Evasion

  1. Michael Gundy

    “Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”
    Helvering v. Gregory, Justice Learned Hand

  2. Horace Krever

    What kind of personal taxes existed in England in the period 1530 – 1601?


    A uniform Land tax was introduced in England during the late 17th century. This formed the main source of government revenue throughout the rest of the 17th century, the 18th century and the early 19th century.

    Income tax was announced in Britain by William Pitt the Younger in his budget of December 1798 and introduced in 1799, to pay for weapons and equipment in preparation for the Napoleonic Wars. Pitt’s new graduated (progressive) income tax began at a levy of 2 old pence in the pound (1/120) on incomes over £60 (£5,077 as of 2013), and increased up to a maximum of 2 shillings (10%) on incomes of over £200. Pitt hoped that the new income tax would raise £10 million, but actual receipts for 1799 totalled just over £6 million….

  4. Jan Krouzil

    A tithe (pron.: /ˈtaɪð/; from Old English: teogoþa “tenth”) is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to government.

  5. from King Richard II, Act II Scene I:

    LORD WILLOUGHBY: The king’s grown bankrupt, like a broken man.

    NORTHUMBERLAND: Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him.

    LORD ROSS: He hath not money for these Irish wars,
    His burthenous taxations notwithstanding,
    But by the robbing of the banish’d duke.