Where be his quiddities now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures and his tricks?

I’m fairly certain that historical scholarship suggests that Shakespeare had several run-ins with lawyers. He was certainly not always on the right side of the law and I have to wonder exactly he suffered at the hands of lawyers that made him so specifically saucy about them. Quiddities and quillets may be made up words but there is a cutting specificity about them. Usually I’m not too convinced by things in the plays being related to Shakespeare’s life but this is an exception because Hamlet, as the Prince of Denmark, likely has not much had to deal with the quillets of lawyers. It is a moment that feels curiously outside the realm of the Danish court – which is another factor that makes me think it’s a personal matter that Shakespeare has with lawyers.


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