Interesting Facts About William Shakespeare

August 6, 2009 | In: People facts

f American actor Edwin Booth as William Shakespeare's Hamlet

William Shakespeare was a great English dramatist and poet, the writer of 36 plays, 154 sonnets, and two narrative poems. Shakespeare’s works of the 16th and 17th centuries include “Antony and Cleopatra,” “Hamlet,” “Henry VI,” “Julius Caesar,” “King Lear,” “Macbeth,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Othello,” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Like many of his fellow European playwrights, Shakespeare was also an actor and was a part of the group called the “Chamberlain’s Men” who staged their work at the Globe Theater. When King James took a liking to Shakespeare’s work, the theater became known as the “King’s Men.

Macbeth is thought to be one of the most produced plays ever, with a performance beginning somewhere in the world every four hours!

If William Shakespeare’s poaching had gone undetected, the world might have been deprived of some of the greatest plays ever written.

But in 1584, when he was about 20, Shakespeare was caught and had to leave his home of Stratford-on-Avon. He drifted around and ended up in London,where he took a menial job in the theater.

There, however, Shakespeare found his place in life and by 1592 he had become a well-known playwright.

As his life progressed, Shakespeare’s work became more pessimistic, hitting bottom with “Timon of Athens.” Then something must have changed in his life and his last plays (“Cymbeline” and “The Tempest”) became idyllic and romantic.

Shakespeare retired from the stage in 1610. Since then, his plays have been staged all over the world, studied in most literature classes, and filmed for theatrical release.

Shakespeare is indirectly responsible for the presence of starlings and sparrows in North America. Neither species existed there until a wealthy New Yorker bought and released them in Central Park in the 1890s–to bring to the United States all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works.

Shakespeare was buried in the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. He put a curse on anyone daring to move his body from that final resting place. His epitaph was:
Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here:
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.

The only mention that Shakespeare specifically makes of his wife in his Last Will and testament was to leave her his “second best bed”.

400 years after his death, there were 15 million pages of him on Google. In comparison, there are 135 million for God, 2.7 million for Elvis Presley, and 14.7 million for George Bush.

Shakespeare’s true son, Hamnet, was only 11 years old when he died, a victim of the plague. The two daughters lived to a very old age by Elizabethan standards. Susanna was 66 when she died in 1649; Judith was 77 when she died in 1662.

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April 25th, 2010 at 2:20 pm


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