In Othello, Shakespeare famously wrote that “Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.” Yep, turns out he was talking out of his ass. A recently published study from Aberystwyth University suggests that England’s most revered playwright was actually a rich, miserly landowner who took advantage of the poor and was repeatedly busted for tax evasion. He also illegally hoarded mass quantities of malt, grain, and barley during a major famine in Europe, reselling them to the poor at inflated prices for profit. Classy.
Based on several unearthed court documents, Professor Jayne Archer and colleagues wrote that “‘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. His profits — minus a few fines for illegal hoarding and tax evasion — meant he had a working life of just 24 years.”
Hey, at least he wasn’t hoarding hundreds of dead cats.