“Shylock Wrote Shakespeare”

by David P. Gontar (August 2013)

How courtesy would seem to cover sin
When what is done is like an hypocrite,
The which is good in nothing but in sight.


But do not so. I have five hundred crowns,
The thrifty hire I saved under your father,
Which I did store to be foster-nurse
When service should in my old limbs lie lame,
And unregarded age in corners thrown.
Take that, and he that doth the ravens feed,
Yea providently caters for the sparrow,
Be comfort to my age. Here is gold,
All this I give you. Let me be your servant.
(II, iv, 39-47)


I prithee, shepherd, if that love or gold
Can in this desert place buy entertainment,
Bring us where we may rest ourselves, and feed.
And faints for succor.
(II, iv, 70-74)

(II, iv, 98)


If this uncouth forest yield anything savage I will either
is nearer death than thy powers. For my sake be
here be with thee presently, and if I bring thee not
something to eat, I will give thee leave to die. But if
thou diest before I come, thou art a mocker of my
thee quickly. Yet thou liest in the bleak air. Come. I
will bear thee to some shelter, and thou shalt not die
for lack of a dinner if there live anything in this desert.
Cheerly, good Adam!
(II, vi, 4-15)

Once more the magnanimous spirit of Shakespeare unfolds before us.


Forbear, and eat no more!


Why, I have eat none yet.


Nor shalt not till necessity be served.


Of what kind should this cock come of?


Art thou thus boldened, man, by thy distress?

You touched my vein at first. The thorny point
Of smooth civility. Yet am I inland bred,
And know some nurture. But forbear, I say.
He dies that touches any of this fruit
Till I and my affairs are answered.


And you will not be answered with reason, I must die.


What would you have? Your gentleness shall force
More than your force move us to gentleness.



Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.


Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you.
I thought all things had been savage here,
And therefore put I on the countenance
That in this desert inaccessible,
Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time,
If ever you have looked on better days,
If ever been where bells have knolled to church,
If ever from your eyelids wiped a tear,
Let gentleness my strong enforcement be.
In the which hope I blush and hide my sword.


True it is that we have seen better days,
And have with holy bell been knolled to church,
Of drops that sacred pity hath engendered.
And therefore sit you down in gentleness,
That to your wanting may be ministered.


Then but forebear your food a little while
And give it food. There is an old poor man
Who after me hath many a weary step
Limped in pure love. Till he be first sufficed,
Oppressed with two weak evils, age and hunger,
I will not touch a bit.


Go find him out,
And we will nothing waste till you return.



Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy.
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.
(II, vii, 88-138)


Good masters, harm me not.
Before I entered here I called, and thought
To have begged or bought what I took. Good truth,
I would have left it on the board so soon
As I made my meal, and parted
With prayers for the provider.


Money, youth?


All gold and silver rather turn to dirt,
Who worship dirty gods.
(Cymbeline, III, vi, 44-55)

Researchers from the Potterian-sounding [the reference is to the authoritative Harry Potter series] Aberstwyth University have discovered that William Shakespeare was a tax-evading grain hoarder. According to Dr. Jayne Archer and Professors Margaret Turley and Howard Thomas, Shakespeare made a lot of his money by buying up large amounts of grain, malt, and barley to store, later selling it for inflated prices when his fellow countrymen were struggling.

They believe the playwright did this for 15 years and faced fines for illegal hoarding, as well as being threatened with jail time for failing to pay his taxes. (Eakin, no page available, emphasis added)

It turns out that, contrary to the ideals for which he is acclaimed, Shakespeare was a loan shark, a manipulator of monies who never hesitated to charge usurious interest and then bring suit to collect against his impecunious victims. He was, to put it bluntly, a financial vampire.



latest book is Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays.


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