Shakespeare and bankruptcy

Michael Quilter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shakespeare uses the idea of bankruptcy in several of his plays and poems. At the time, bankrupts were regarded with much suspicion, they were vilified and labelled frauds, and bankruptcy was possible for traders only. This article considers the relationship between the early English bankruptcy Acts and current Australian law and examines how Shakespeare used the idea of bankruptcy, including the stigma attaching to bankruptcy, to both reflect, and influence, contemporary perceptions, and how his influence in relation to the idea of bankruptcy is still observable today. Through imagery and metaphor he created a persona for bankruptcy removed from its statutory housing, freeing it to inform moods, emotions, longings and sympathies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-123
Number of pages19
JournalInsolvency law journal
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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