Tudor Stratford - The Shakespeare Story
"The Merchant of Venice" in its own way also draws upon business life: the point at issue is whether a bond to forfeit "a pound of flesh" if three thousand ducats are not repaid by the due date is to be interpreted literally.
This same year of 1596 saw William Shakespeare able to obtain a grant of Arms for his father, so that John Shakespeare - variously a Stratfordian glover, butcher and wool dealer, official ale taster and Bailiff (Mayor) - at last became a gentleman.
Sadly this year of status and success was also one of sorrow for William and Anne: their only son, Hamnet, died on 11 August 1596 at the age of eleven and a half.
Eventually William Shakespeare himself retired back to New Place, Church Street, opposite the Guild Chapel and his old school, and died on the day of his birth, 23 April, in 1616. By 1623, when his wife died, a bust in his memory had been erected near his tomb in Holy Trinity Church - where hundreds of townsfolk and admirers led by The Worshipful the Mayor and Councillors pay floral tribute each April.