Q:

What was Shakespeare's father's occupation?

A:

Quick Answer

William Shakespeare's father, John Shakespeare, had a number of occupations, including glover, tanner, business owner and civil servant. While he was born a commoner, he eventually managed to elevate himself and his family into the nobility.

  Know More

Full Answer

John was the son of Richard Shakespeare, a farmer in Snitterfield. He moved to Stratford as an apprentice glover (one who makes gloves) and leather worker sometime before 1532. He bought numerous properties in the 1550s, including several houses, and he later inherited some farming real estate. Between rent collected from these lands and the profits made from selling timber and barley from the farms, John was far wealthier than the average glover.

The prestige and prosperity that came with John's many businesses also helped him attain numerous civil service positions, including ale-taster of the borough (the person in charge of enforcing various tavern regulations), constable, affeerer (the person in charge of establishing fines for laws without specified penalties), burgess, chamberlain, alderman (a member of the town council), high bailiff (a position similar to mayor but with additional duties, such as serving as the town coroner) and, later, chief alderman. All of these successes led to John applying for his own coat of arms and a rank in the gentry in 1569.

Later in life, John fell into debt for reasons that are unknown. He stopped paying his taxes, no longer fulfilled his alderman duties and was fined for skipping church, which he likely missed to avoid being arrested for defaulting on payments. He was also charged with illict lending and charging interest on money as well as illegally trading in wool. However, his son's theatrical successes helped mend his reputation, and before he died in 1601, he was reinstated on the town council and had his request for a coat of arms approved.

Learn more about Literature

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did Shakespeare influence modern society?

    A:

    William Shakespeare's legacy has been far-reaching within modern society, his work having paved for the way for greater sexual openness and racial equality as well as influencing the fields of psychology, sociology and politics. For example, a common narrative device employed by Shakespeare in his plays was the soliloquy, which involved characters speaking aloud their inner thoughts and feelings. This was long in advance of, and perhaps influential for, psychoanalytic therapists and theorists such as Sigmund Freud.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some weird facts about William Shakespeare?

    A:

    Weird facts about William Shakespeare include the fact that he wrote a curse for his own epitaph, his father was once a professional drinker and that he spelled his own name wrong. He also either coined or popularized several common phrases still in use today.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did Shakespeare do before he became a writer?

    A:

    Very little is known about the early life of William Shakespeare before he became a writer. He was born in 1564 and married his wife Anne in 1582 at the age of 18, but scholars debate what happened in the next 10 years of his life.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is Shakespeare so important today?

    A:

    William Shakespeare's work has shaped English literature, language and thought for over 400 years. Scholar Alan Craven names him the "greatest dramatist, the greatest poet and the greatest prose writer" in the English language. Shakespeare's coined words are incorporated into the language today as common parlance; his genres led to modern literary genres and his plays transformed theater. Most importantly, Shakespeare's work changed the way Westerners think about humanity, ethics and themselves.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore