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Shakespeare in London

By 1592 Shakespeare was a playwright in London and had enough of a reputation for Robert Greene to denounce him as "an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey." (The italicised line parodies the phrase, "Oh, tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide" which Shakespeare wrote in Henry VI, part 3.)

In 1596 Hamnet died; he was buried on August 11, 1596. Some suspect that his death was part of the inspiration behind The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (c.1601), a reworking of an older, lost play (possibly Danish play Amleth or Thomas Kyd).

By 1598 Shakespeare had moved to the parish of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, and appeared at the top of a list of actors in Every man in his Humour written by Ben Jonson.

Shakespeare's signature, became an actor, writer and finally part-owner of a playing company, known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men the company took its name, like others of the period, from its aristocratic sponsor, the Lord Chamberlain. The group became popular enough that after the death of Elizabeth I and the coronation of James I (1603), the new monarch adopted the company and it became known as the King's Men.

In 1604, Shakespeare acted as a matchmaker for his landlord's daughter. Legal documents from 1612, when the case was brought to trial, show that in 1604, Shakespeare was a tenant of Christopher Mountjoy, a Huguenot tire-maker (a maker of ornamental headdresses) in the northwest of London. Mountjoy's apprentice Stephen Belott wanted to marry Mountjoy's daughter. Shakespeare was enlisted as a go-between, to help negotiate the details of the dowry. On Shakespeare's assurances, the couple married. Eight years later, Belott sued his father-in-law for delivering only part of the dowry. Shakespeare was called to testify, but remembered little of the circumstances.

New Place, Stratford-on-Avon, built on the site of Shakespeare's homeVarious documents recording legal affairs and commercial transactions show that Shakespeare grew rich enough during his stay in London years to buy a property in Blackfriars, London and own the second-largest house in Stratford, New Place.

 

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