Interesting Facts About Shakespeare

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We know that William Shakespeare is the beloved Bard not only in England but of the rest of the world. But little of us know the other interesting facts about Shakespeare. You may not believe that some other people think he didn’t exist! But apart from that, here are the other less known but more interesting, juicy information about William Shakespeare that you probably didn’t know!

The play, a Jacobean comedy which is thought to have been written with another playwright John Fletcher, was finally published in 1634 — eighteen years after his death. Its plot was derived from Chaucer’s The Cantebury Tales‘ first tale “The Knight’s Tale.”

The Two Noble Kinsmen revolves around the story of two bold and aristocratic cousins named Palamon and Arcite, who end up as captives after the vicious war between Athens and Thebes. Having already accepted their fate as prisoners, things changed after they saw Emilia, the gorgeous daughter of Duke Theseus. Both instantly fell in love, which ensued a rivalry between the cousins.

While the two long-life friends are fighting over Emilia’s attention, Emilia doesn’t really like any of them, making things even more complex. Meanwhile, the daughter’s jailer is completely head over heels for Palamon and more than ready to get his affection. Summing it up, it’s a quintessential love triangle that utilizes hasty tragi-comic romance encompassing themes of choice, loyalty, camaraderie, and destiny.

Shakespeare and Hathaway wed when he was 18 and she was 26 or 27 years old. They had three children together: Susanna Hall (baptized in 1583 – died 1649), their only son Hamnet Shakespeare (baptized 1585 – died 1596), and Judith Quiney (baptized 1585 – died 1662), Hamnet’s fraternal sister. Hamnet died at the age of eleven possibly due to bubonic plague.

In 1607, Suzanna married Dr. John Hall. Suzanna gave birth to Elizabeth, their couple’s only child, in 1608. In 1616, Judith married Thomas Quiney and had three sons, namely Shakespeare, Richard, and Thomas. Shakespeare died in infancy, while Richard and Thomas both died in 1639.

None of William Shakespeare’s grandchildren had children. All met their death without heirs, leaving no direct descendants of Shakespeare’s line today.

Some historians suggest that this will was a result of an agreement made at the time Susanna married the physician Dr. John Hall, that the couple would inherit the majority of Shakespeare’s estate. In the same will, Shakespeare’s will he famously made only one inheritance to his wife Anne Hathaway, his “second-best bed with the furniture.”

Shakespeare also left a bulk of his property to his other daughter, Judith. Meanwhile, he gave money and clothes to Joan Hart, his sister, and her three sons. His will also endows several of his properties, like the house where he was born, the Combe property, and the Blackfriars gatehouse in the city of London. He also left monetary bequests to Thomas Russell, his overseer, Francis Collins, his lawyers, his friends in the theater, and the poor in Stratford.

Shakespeare’s actual birthday is still unknown, but historians imply that he was baptized when he was three days old, so his birthday could have been 23rd April. This would be especially interesting as Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, the supposed day he turned 52.

A lot of people that Shakespeare wrote plays and sonnets. However, few people realize that he also acted on his own plays, as well as plays written by other playwrights. According to tradition, Shakespeare played a ghost of Hamlet’s father. During the last years of his life Shakespeare was still working as an actor apart from being a poet and playwright.

Scholars also assumed that Shakespeare acted in many of his plays, such as in Macbeth as King Duncan, As You Like It as Adam, and in King Henry as Henry IV. Shakespeare’s acting career started in 1592. His last performance was in late 1603. His first biographer, Nicholas Rowe, mentioned that his appearance in Hamlet was his best performance.

There are theories placed by historians that Shakespeare was forced by Hathaway’s family to marry her because of her premarital pregnancy, apart from the age difference. However, there is no evidence whether the marriage was a “shotgun wedding” or not. The couple bore three children, who have been mentioned earlier in this gallery.

To steer away from controversies, it was necessary to conduct the wedding before the signs of Hathaway’s pregnancy become noticeable. However, as Shakespeare was still deemed a minor by the law, permission from Hathaway’s father was required.

To speed up the proceedings, Shakespeare applied directly to the Bishop’s Court in Worcester. This granted them a license and also allowed the couple to marry outside Stratford. Documents state that the marriage was done in November 1582, but the exact parish where they married wasn’t specified.

After the wedding, Hathaway moved in with Shakespeare and lived in the latter’s family home located on Henley Street. There’s nothing much known about the couple’s relationship.

A wealthy American businessman named Eugene Schieffelin, who was a Shakespeare fanatic, wanted to import each species of bird mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, as a way of introducing them to The United States. Part of his rather unusual endeavor included releasing 60 starlings into Central Park in New York City.

The release of the starlings turned out to be successful — however, these birds have become somewhat of a pest. But the release of other birds such as bullfinches and nightingales was not as successful as that of the starlings.

The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s shortest play with 1,787 lines and 14,369 words (although some sources cite 16,258 words). The average length of a play during the Elizabethan era was 3,000 lines.

It is generally believed that Shakespeare wrote The Comedy of Errors in the early to mid-1594, rendering it perhaps one of the renowned playwright’s earliest comedies.

In December of the same year, the first recorded performance happened at Gray’s Inn as part of its Christmas festivities.

However, things didn’t go out smoothly, as the hall was packed like sardines. Fights arose, with spectators vying for the best seats. Not to mention that there were also delays on the side of the acting company and the audience being uncooperative. 

Despite the troublesome premiere, The Comedy of Errors is regarded as one of Shakespeare’s most farcical comedies and has already been adapted into many different movies.

There are over 80 recorded variations of the Bard’s name. Apart from the “William Shakespeare” we know today, there are such other variations gathered from the few extant signatures. Shakespeare signed his name in other different forms such as “Willm Shakp,” “Wm Shakspe,” “Willm Shakspere,” or “William Shakespe.” However, there are no records of him of signing his name in the complete “William Shakespeare,” just yet.

There are 37 plays and 154 credited to Shakespeare. It means that he averaged about 1.5 plays per year since 1589, the year when he began writing.

His three most famous plays are Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. All these three are tragedies, with the end not going the way of the main characters.

And that’s only for their theaters in parts of England — in London, Newcastle, and Stratford-upon-Avon. An estimated 50,000 audience watch a live Shakespeare performance, most of them first-timers who are introduced to Shakespearean plays. Overall the Royal Shakespeare Company has sold about 1.7 million tickets worldwide.

John Shakespeare was the son of a farmer Richard Shakespeare while Mary Shakespeare (nee Arden) belonged to an aristocratic family. John was an alderman and also a successful glove-maker.

Shakespeare is everyone’s idea of a literary genius. But the surprising thing about the Bard’s parents is that neither of them could read or write. John used a glovers compass and Mary a running horse as each of their own signatures. William Shakespeare’s own children are thought to have been illiterate as well, although his eldest child Susanna could print her own signature.

Shakespeare’s parents already lost two infant daughters, Joan and Margaret, before he was born. Their first daughter died just several weeks after being born, while their second daughter died a year after being birthed. Shakespeare had five younger siblings, Gilbert, Joan, Anne, Richard, and Edmund. Only Joan was able to outlive Shakespeare.

To the disappointment of historians and biographers, nothing much has been actually recorded about Shakespeare’s years between 1585 and 1592, which scholars refer to as his “lost years.” So his biographers and historians have been coming up with those stories surrounding Shakespeare in his seven “lost years.” They have speculated that Shakespeare was employed as a schoolteacher or studied law. There is another legend that Shakespeare fled his hometown for London to avoid a lawsuit after he poached a deer in the estate of a local politician.

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