William Shakespeare is easily one of the most influential writers in the Western World – but was a little weed influencing him?
William Shakespeare is one of the most noted authors of the Western world, and one of the most easily recognized names in theater. From his plays like Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, to his large collection of poems and sonnets, he’s referred to as “the bard” for a good reason. However, in Sonnet 76 he refers to “invention in a noted weed,” which sounds like a pretty poetic way to mention the inspiration some artists have talked about while smoking marijuana.
So, Did Shakespeare Smoke Pot?
Scientists in South Africa were recently loaned a series of pipe fragments found on Shakespeare’s property. The 400-year-old pipe pieces were tested for substance residues, and what they found was that 8 of the samples contained cannabis residue. 4 of those samples were found, quite literally, in Shakespeare’s back yard.
So, does this mean that William Shakespeare indulged in smoking weed? Not necessarily, because as anyone knows circumstantial evidence isn’t the same as catching someone red-handed. However, given that the pipes were dug up from Shakespeare’s back garden (as well as from other locations at Stratford-Upon-Avon), and that he wrote about “strange drugs” in his work, chances are good he was at least passingly familiar with marijuana, cocaine, and other substances. When we look at the rock star style life he had (who else could buy a manor for his family using nothing more than the proceeds from writing poetry and putting on plays?), we can surmise that Shakespeare likely experimented with all kinds of things, and that marijuana smoking was probably one of the less-extreme activities he indulged in.
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