How Well Do You Know the Bard?

shakespeareThink 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 swoopvanish into thin airplay fast and loosebe in a picklefoul playtower of strengthflesh and bloodbe 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:

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