The collected works of Shakespeare are known the world over, yet the facts about Shakespeare�s life remain a mystery to many. Before you read your next Shakespeare play or sonnet, take a moment to discover some interesting facts about his life.
- No portrait of Shakespeare was every painted while he was alive.
- Shakespeare never published any of his plays. Most of his plays were published seven years after he died.
- All of his grandchildren died. Shakespeare has no living descendants.
- No one knows his actual birthday.
- Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway was eight years older and three months pregnant when they married. This was a bit of a scandal at the time, but not entirely uncommon.
- Shakespeare�s father, John, was a moneylender who was accused of lending money to people at an exorbitant rate of 20% to 25% interest.
- A relative of Shakespeare on his mother�s side, William Arden, was arrested for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I. He was imprisoned in the tower of London and executed.
- Shakespeare and company built two Globe Theatres
- There are many authors and scholars who do not believe that Shakespeare wrote his plays. They believe he had a ghostwriter or plagiarized his works. Sir Francis Bacon is often cited as the actual author of Shakespeare’s works.
- Although Shakespeare was a great playwright, many members of his family were illiterate.
- During the course of Shakespeare�s life, he wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets.
- Shakespeare is buried at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, England. He put a curse on anyone who dared to move his body from its final resting place.
- Not only did Shakespeare write plays and sonnets, but also he performed in a number or his own plays and those by other playwrights.
- 400 years after his death, Shakespeare merits 15 million pages on Google. Elvis only has 2.7 million.
- Macbeth is said to be the most-produced play ever written. It is estimated that a performance is being staged somewhere in the world every 4 hours.
- Macbeth is also believed to be a cursed play for actors. Quoting Macbeth in a theater outside of an actual performance is said to bring misfortune to the actor, the production and the theater.
- Suicide was a common theme with Shakespeare. It occurs 13 times in various plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar and Othello.
The average American’s vocabulary is around 10,000 words – 15,000 at the high end. Shakespeare had a vocabulary of over 29,000 words.
- The animal world is well represented in Shakespeare’s works. Over 3,000 references to some 180 difference species of animals–both real and imaginary–have been identified in the plays. Everything from simple country wildlife–birds, bats, hedgehogs, insects, wild boar and deer–to more exotic species–rhinoceros, tiger, elephant and bear, as well as the mythical unicorn, phoenix, and dragon.
- The words “assassination”and “bump” were invented by Shakespeare. If you say “laugh it off” you are also quoting Shakespeare. Other language contributions included ‘puke’ and ‘bedroom’.
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