How Well Do You Know the Bard?
Think you know something about William Shakespeare, eh?
Well, maybe you do…maybe you don’t. In any case, here’s a lists of curious facts about the great English poet, playwright and actor.
- He was born and died on the same day, April 23rd, which is the same day that England celebrates its patron saint, St. George.
- More than 80 spelling variations of Shakespeare’s name exists.
- He wrote 17 comedies, 10 history plays, and 10 tragedies.
- Shakespeare put a curse on anyone who would dare to move his body upon burial.
- Most of his plays were first printed on pamphlets called “quartos”.
- He had 7 siblings: 4 sisters and 3 brothers.
- He died a rich man, leaving most of his wealth to his daughter.
- One of his relatives was arrested for plotting against the Queen.
- Shakespeare is the second most quoted writer in the English language. The first? The various writers of the Bible.
- Almost four hundred years after Shakespeare’s death there are 157 million pages referring to him on Google. There are 132 million for God.
- It is believed that many of Shakespeare’s plays are based on others’ earlier plays, histories, and poems, a common practice at that time.
- Very little is known about when the 154 sonnets were written or to whom they were addressed.
- Some of Shakespeare’s signatures have survived on original documents, but in none of them does he spell his name in what has become the standard way. He spells it Shakespe; Shakspe; Shakspere and Shakespeare.
- Countless excellent phrases, now commonly used, occur first in Shakespeare, includingone fell swoop, vanish into thin air, play fast and loose, be in a pickle, foul play, tower of strength, flesh and blood, be cruel to be kind, and with bated breath.
- The American President Abraham Lincoln was a great lover of Shakespeare’s plays and frequently recited from them to his friends. Ironically, his assassin, John Wilkes Booth was a famous Shakespearean actor.
These and many more facts about William Shakespeare can be found here: