William Shakespeare

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Who was Shakespeare's patron?

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iangoodwin88 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Patronage was a huge part of medieval and Renaissance society. Groups or individuals were expected to act as patrons for those who were of lower socio-economic status. To this end, Shakespeare was no different. Below, I have summarized a list of patrons that contributed to the works of William Shakespeare

Edward Manners, Third Earl of Rutland - This individual was a friend of Shakespeare's who displayed encouragement for Shakespeare's unique writings. At the time, there was a traditional model to follow; however, Manners pushed Shakespeare to write with his own style or flare, which made him quite popular. Additionally, Manners was also involved in the construction of a theatre in Rutland.

Queen Elizabeth and King James I - Both of these individuals loved Shakespeare's drama. Queen Elizabeth enjoyed the plays so much that she intensely studied the ancient classical period. Additionally, having the appropriate background, she used her power to advance English drama. It was obvious that she was fond of Shakespeare's plays but she never attended the public theaters as it was not custom for royalty to venture to those parts.

Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton - The patronage of Henry Wriothesley is best exemplified by the fact that Shakespeare had his narrative poem Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece dedicated to Southampton. Additionally, the title page of "Fair Youth" in Sonnets provides dedication to "the lordship of Mr. W.H." One theory is that W.H is actually Wriothesley, whose initials had been switched to better hide the identify of the funder. However, others suggest that this dedication was actually to a different patron, William Herbert, whose initials actually line up!


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celtic1108 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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gsenviro | Student

No artist or playwright could have survived the Middle Ages or the Early Modern period without a patron and William Shakespeare was the same. Without the patronage of a number of wealthy and art-loving patrons, we would never have known who Shakespeare was. The most notable among the various patrons of Shakespeare were Queen Elizabeth and King James I. The queen, especially, was known to be a great lover of drama, and positively influenced the development of English drama and fostered the genius of Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare had the following patrons:

1) Queen Elizabeth

2) King James I

3) Edward Manners, Third Earl of Rutland

4) Henry Wriothesley, The Third Earl of Southampton

5) William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke

6) Henry Carey Baron Hunsdon

7) Sir Francis Walsingham

8) Thomas Radcliff, Third Earl of Sussex

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shoonya | Student

Very simple friend, it was Henry Wriothesley.

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