Uncovering the Mystery: Shocking Facts About William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English playwright and poet widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, in April 1564 and died on April 23, 1616, at 52.
Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, and his birthdate is unknown. His father, John Shakespeare, was a successful businessman and his mother, Mary Arden, was from a prominent family. Shakespeare had seven siblings, but his only surviving son was Hamnet, who died at 11.
Little is known about Shakespeare’s early life, but he likely attended King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford, where he would have received a classical education in Latin and Greek. In November 1582, he married Anne Hathaway, who was pregnant and eight years his senior. They had three children together, but one of them died in infancy.
Shakespeare moved to London in the late 1580s and began working as an actor and playwright. His early plays were mainly histories and comedies, such as “Richard III,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “The Taming of the Shrew.” He later wrote tragedies, including “Hamlet,” “Othello,” and “King Lear.”
Shakespeare’s plays were performed at the Globe Theatre, a venue that he owned, along with other members of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a company of actors. His plays were very popular during his lifetime and continue to be performed and studied today.
Shakespeare is also known for his poetry, including his sonnets, which were first published in 1609. His works have been translated into every major language and are still widely read and performed today.
Despite his success, Shakespeare was not without controversy. Some scholars have questioned the authorship of his works, suggesting that they were written by someone else. However, the overwhelming consensus among scholars is that Shakespeare was indeed the author of his plays and sonnets.
In recognition of his contributions to literature, Shakespeare was buried in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey in London. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language and his works continue to be studied and admired around the world.
There are several interesting and surprising facts about William Shakespeare that are not widely known. Here are a few:
- Shakespeare’s plays were not always popular during his lifetime. In fact, some of his works, such as “Troilus and Cressida,” were considered failures.
- Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre burned down during a performance of his play “Henry VIII” in 1613. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire.
- Shakespeare’s plays were often censored or banned for being too controversial. For example, “Richard II” was banned for portraying the overthrow of a king, while “Measure for Measure” was censored for its sexual content.
- Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, was eight years older than him and was pregnant with their first child when they got married.
- Shakespeare’s plays were not written in modern English. They were written in Early Modern English, which is very different from today’s English.
- Shakespeare is credited with coining many words and phrases that are still in use today, such as “eyeball,” “fashionable,” and “all of a sudden.”
- There are only two surviving portraits of Shakespeare that are believed to be accurate representations of him. One is the Chandos portrait, and the other is the Droeshout portrait, which appears on the cover of the First Folio.
- There is some evidence to suggest that Shakespeare may have been a secret Catholic. During his lifetime, Catholics were persecuted in England, so it is possible that he kept his beliefs hidden to avoid persecution.
- Shakespeare’s plays were not meant to be read silently. They were written to be performed, and were meant to be seen and heard, rather than read.
- Shakespeare’s epitaph on his tombstone famously warns against anyone who would dare to move his bones: “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear, / To dig the dust enclosed here. / Blessed be the man that spares these stones, / And cursed be he that moves my bones.