10 Interesting Facts about William Shakespeare

Over the centuries, there has been considerable research done about the greatest playwright this earth has seen. There are some of the facts that no one knows – especially about his looks. Here is an interesting facts file:

About William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

10 Useful Facts about William Shakespeare

Which is commonly known:

Shakespeare was a renowned playwright and poet. His interest in theatre developed at an early age, his father took him and his siblings to see travelling shows. He has written approximately 37 plays before his retirement from the theatre.

Useful Fact:

Shakespeare was left-handed. Not many people know this or perhaps careless. However, left-handers can feel proud!

About the family:

Shakespeare’s Father, John was a money lender. He was accused in the Exchequer Court of Usury for lending money at the inflated rate of 20% and 25% Interest. Shakespeare’s family was all illiterate.

About marriage:

In 1592, Shakespeare married a twenty-six years old lady Anne Hathaway at the age of eighteen. At that time she was expecting his baby. He left his wife only a bed when he died.

Shakespeare was known to have three children – Hamnet Shakespeare, Susanna Hall and Judith Quinney.

About his theatre company

Lord Chamberlain’s Men was a theatre group in London which soon became the leading theatre company in London when Shakespeare became its founder in 1594.

This theatre was built on leased land so it was forced to be closed in 1597. But soon a new theatre was constructed by all the partners of Lord Chamberlain’s men on the south bank of the Thames River. It was named as The Globe. The motto of the Globe Theatre was totus mundus agit histrionic (all the world’s a stage).

The Globe thatre
The Globe Theatre, London

No women were allowed to work as actors – female roles were taken by young lads who wore women’s clothes and elaborate make-up. The lead content in the white make-up led to many early deaths of the boy actors. Sometimes, even adult actors played certain roles, such as Juliet’s nurse or the witches in Macbeth. These roles were often reserved for popular adult actors.

In addition to acting, the actors also had to sing, dance and play instruments on stage as per the play’s requirement.

About his Religion

Shakespeare was a Roman Catholic. Although, the favoured faith in England at that was Protestantism and some critics believe that Shakespeare may actually be a believer of Protestantism.

Shakespeare dies on 23 April 1616 at the age of fifty-two. No one knows how Shakespeare died. Last play he wrote was Two Noble Kinsmen. His tomb was inscribed with a curse. After his death, Shakespeare’s friends and contemporaries assembled his plays and published them for the first time.

Thus, all the works of Shakespeare were published posthumously.

Elizabethan theatre
Elizabethan theatre

About contribution to English words:

William Shakespeare is believed to have influenced the English language more than any other writer in history, coining-or, at the very least, popularizing-terms and phrases that still regularly crop up in everyday conversation.

Some of the interesting words invented by Shakespeare are: Critic, bandit, dauntless, dwindle, lacklustre, lonely, swagger, unreal and many more. Shakespeare alone contributed around 1700 words to the English Language.

Shakespeare himself knew seven languages and often made direct quotes from those languages in his plays.

Work Fact:

William Shakespeare’s works contain more than 600 references to various types of birds, from swans and doves to sparrows and turkeys. The starling-a lustrous songbird with a gift for mimicry, native to Europe and western Asia-makes just one appearance, in “Henry IV, Part 1.”

About his tragedy plays

Many of Shakespeare’s plays are tragedies. Some of the tragedies by William Shakespeare are Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Timor of Athens, Cymbeline, etc. Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, Hamlet are his four most appreciated tragedies.

King Lear
King Lear

None of Shakespeare’s plays was written in the format we find them in today. They did not have the Act and scene divisions. That is because the plays were meant for performance only and not reading.

While most of Shakespeare’s tragedies revolved about male protagonists, the comedies had intelligent and powerful female characters at the centre.

Interesting Fact:

Shakespeare is among those listed in the Lord Treasurer’s Remembrance Residuum London accounts as delinquents owing back-taxes “The marginal note Surrey, and the reference to ‘Residuum Sussex’, added later, signify that Shakespeare had migrated across the river to the Surrey Bankside”

You can also see some additional Facts about William Shakespeare and as an exercise, create your own fact sheet.

More info on- William Shakespeare Marriage Anne, Parents and Siblings, Achievements

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