Am I correct to assume there is a feud between academics considering Shakespeare's social origins? I understand that he was probably born as a member of the working classes (or even the Elizabethan underclass), but his skill might suggest something equivalent to what is portrayed in the film Anonymous, where Shakespeare was a noble who wrote under the name of a commoner. What is the state of this debate? What sources could I read that summarize it?

  • As i understand it, nobody is 100% certain who wrote the things we attribute to shakespeare.
    – Richard
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 14:52
  • 2
    What does this question have to do with philosophy? It's a fine question but it is off topic for this site. Try Literature.SE
    – Not_Here
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 14:54
  • I have moved it there, thanks!
    – Mike M
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


Was Shakespeare a member of the lower classes?

For sure, not a noble.

You can see : Lois Potter, The Life of William Shakespeare : A Critical Biography (Blackwell, 2012), page 2 and 3 :

John Shakespeare [(William’s father) was] chamberlain or acting chamberlain of Stratford-upon-Avon from 1561 to 1565, [he] had been heavily involved with maintenance and improvement of Corporation buildings.

Mary Shakespeare [born Mary Arden] family name derived from the forest of Arden, which contains the villages in which all the pre-1500 Shakespeares lived.

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