Knowledge of Law


The plays and poems of "Shakespeare" are saturated with legal principles, technically expressed. They clearly show that the author was as familiar with the intricate practice of the courts as he was with the theory of the law. He was a trained lawyer, and the technical knowledge of the law shown in the plays must have been acquired by someone who had actually practised in the courts; no amateur could have acquired by conversation with legal acquaintances the familiarity with the law shown by the author of the plays. Dr. Appleton Morgan, the president of the New York Shakespeare Society said :

"He was a ripe, learned and profound lawyer, so saturated with precedents that at once in his highest and sweetest flights he colours everything with legal dyes."

Heard in his Shakespeare as a Lawyer, says :

"He must have obtained his knowledge of the law from actual practice."

There is no evidence that Will Shaksper had any acqaintance with the law.

Is it a coincidence that Francis Bacon, who was Lord Chancellor, was the greatest jurist of his age and as profound a lawyer as was "Shakespeare?"

It is clear that the author of "Hamlet" must have possessed an intimate knowledge of the law of suicides, as found in the old case of Hale v.Petit in Plowden's Reports, which are written in Norman Latin law-jargon and black letter type, and which would be utterly unintelligible to a layman.


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