WHAT EFFECT DID THE TWO MURDERS HAVE ON SHAKESPEARE? One effect that the two murders may have had on Shakespeare is that it appears that he may have gotten a bargain price on the house (the actual sale prices of houses do not show up in the documents). The choice of the house for his family is also evidence that Shakespeare and his family had no fear of ghosts.

Park Honan takes on the more interesting question of whether Shakespeare’s plays were affected by the murders. Stratford was a relatively small town where people knew each other, and Shakespeare had contracted for the house with the second murder victim. Honan surmises that the murders “familiarized him with the raw, primitive theme of family murder….And indeed, what is important about Hamlet’s origins is that the play was created…by a poet who took in ingredients from real life to assimilate them thoroughly with experiences of his own family, schooling, and town….the murders in Hamlet are… intimately known happenings based in part on real, acutely judged events.”

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