Even if you have never read one of his plays but you’ll probably notice by now that this Saturday marks the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare died on 23rd April 1616, at the age of 52. This was relatively an old age to live in those times. He is called the greatest author in English language not only because of his works in English language but also for his profound knowledge and lasting impact on the language itself.
On this occasion let’s take a look at some stuffs that you probably don’t know:
1. Nobody knows when Shakespeare was born. He was baptised on 26th April 1564. By considering the tradition of time, he would have been baptised when he was three days old. So he was probably born on 23rd April 1564. If that is true, today is his 452nd birthday.
2. Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18. She was eight year older than him and was three months pregnant at that time.
3. No direct descendants of Shakespeare are alive today.
4. Shakespeare had seven siblings and most of his family members were illiterate.
5. Shakespeare was not only a famous play writer but also a rich businessman. He had many properties under his name.
6. During his life he had written atleast 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and a number of poems. There are also a large number of lost plays. This means he had written an average of 1.5 plays since he started writing in 1589.
7. According to Oxford English Dictionary, Shakespeare had added almost 3000 words to the English language.
8. According to Shakespeare professor Louis Marder, “Shakespeare was so facile in employing words that he was able to use over 7,000 of them – more than occur in the whole King James Version of the Bible – only once and never again.”
9. Shakespeare was not always appreciated in his lifetime. The first reference to him, written by the critic and rival Robert Greene in 1592, called him “an upstart crow”.
10. Shakespeare never published his plays.
11. Shakespeare’s last play – The Two Noble Kinsmen – is reckoned to have been written in 1613 when he was 49 years old.
12. The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s shortest play at just 1,770 lines long.
13. Shakespearean actors got their lines only when the play was in progress. It was because there was no such thing as copyright and play theft was common.
14. Among the 80 languages Shakespeare’s works have been translated into, the most obscure must be the constructed language of Star Trek’s Klingon.
15. Shakespeare started writing poetry when there was an outbreak of the plague in Europe which resulted in all London theatres being closed between 1592 and 1594. There was no demand of play during this time.
16. There are more than 80 variations recorded for the spelling of Shakespeare’s name. In the few original signatures that have survived, Shakespeare spelt his name “Willm Shaksp,” “William Shakespe,” “Wm Shakspe,” “William Shakspere,” ”Willm Shakspere,” and “William Shakspeare”. According to History.Com, the man himself never actually signed his name using the spelling we use today.
17. Unlike most artists in those times, Shakespeare died as a very wealthy man.