The “Bard of Avon” William Shakespeare is an eminent figure in literature known for his plays, poetry and acting. There is no documented evidence about the exact date of birth of Shakespeare; however it is recorded that he was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, England on April 26, 1564.
“He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul”, states John Dryden and the statement is justified if one understands the amount of intensity and critical study Shakespeare presents through his works like Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, etc. If you want to learn more about William Shakespeare, here are the 5 interesting facts you might have ignored about him.
- Shakespeare’s Marriage: Anne Hathaway was 26-year-old when she became the wife of Shakespeare, who was only 18-year-old. In the month of November, 1852 when Hathaway was three months pregnant the marriage took place in a church. After six months, a girl was born and they named her Susanna. Shakespeare was blessed with twins, Judith and Hamnet in February, 1585.
- Shakespeare – the businessman: William Shakespeare was not only a talented playwright, but also was efficient in utilizing his talents to make money. He was a renowned property owner of the age and part-owner of the “Lord Chamberlain’s Men”, also known as the “King’s Men”, which was a popular playing company. The plays of Shakespeare were performed and he was directly involved in employing actors, investments, and took a share in the profits.
- The Globe Theatre: With the first production of As You Like It, “The Globe Theatre” opened in the year 1599. Shakespeare became rich with the running of the theatre as he was a shareholder and the place was an inevitable success as it played the works of Shakespeare, Beaumont, Jonson, Fletcher, etc. Unfortunately, a cannon used for the play Henry VIII went off and the thatch roof came down in fire.
- Bubonic Plague: While Shakespeare was writing great pieces and spreading them like wildfire, there was a deadly disease which became rampant between 1592 and 1594, it was the Black Death or plague. The theatres were shut down because they were the places where crowd would gather in considerable numbers facilitating the easy spread of the disease. Shakespeare during this period wrote poetic masterpieces like Venus and Adonis, because there was no demand for plays.
- Contribution to English language: Shakespeare contributed to the English dictionary more than any other playwright as he coined unique terms and popularized some of the fascinating words. For instance, addiction, fashionable, eyeball, lacklustre, arch-villain, cold-blooded, assassination, bedazzled, dishearten, inaudible, ladybird, scuffle, and swagger are few of the words that Shakespeare brought into limelight through his works. According to Louis Marder, a Shakespeare Professor, Shakespeare used more than 7000 different words in some of his plays, which is more than the number of different words used in the King James Bible.
The death of Shakespeare is still a mystery and the historians couldn’t conclude precisely the cause of death or the date of death. However, in the Holy Trinity Church it was recorded that William Shakespeare was interred on April 25, in the year 1616. Shakespeare’s grave has an epitaph on which a curse was carved against moving his bones and the grave is preserved till day not because of the curse, but because of the respect he attained through generations by producing masterpieces, which are timeless.