20 Interesting William Shakespeare Facts

The Well Known poet, playwright, actor and the greatest writer of the English language is William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare

Some Facts on William Shakespeare

 Facts about Early Life of Shakespeare

  1. Birthdate is unknown – The actual birthday of Shakespeare is unknown. However, there is some documentary proof which says that Shakespeare was baptized on 26th April 1564 and it was a tradition that baptisation would be done after three days of birth. So it is assumed that Shakespeare was born on 23rd April.
  2. Shakespeare’s Parents – Shakespeare was the son of John and Mary Shakespeare. His father was an apprentice glover and leather tanner who came from Snitterfield to Stratford. He was later elected at a high civic position after being prospered in dealing with the farm and wool products.
  3. Shakespeare’s Father – John Shakespeare 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.
  4.  Shakespeare’s Relative -William Arden, a relative of Shakespeare’s mother Mary Arden. He was arrested for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I, imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.
  5.  Shakespeare’s Siblings – He had seven siblings namely Joan, Margaret, Gilbert, Another Joan, Anne, Richard, and Edmund.

Facts About Shakespeare’s Family

  1. Shakespeare’s Marriage – Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 and Anne was 26 years. Anne Hathaway was eight years older than Shakespeare and three months pregnant when they got married. Their first child was Susanna was born after 6 months of their wedding.
  2.  Shakespeare’s Children – William and Anne Shakespeare had three children. Susanna was christened in May 1583, and the twins Judith and Hamnet in February 1585. Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, died in 1596. His daughter Susanna died in 1649. The younger daughter Judith had three children, but all died before their mother and without children. Shakespeare’s granddaughter Elizabeth, daughter of Susanna, died childless in 1670, ending the William Shakespeare line. Therefore there are no descendants of Shakespeare.

Facts About Shakespeare’s Looks and Life

  1. Shakespeare Gold Hoop Earring – From the portrait of Shakespeare of the 17th Century it is evident that William had a full beard, loosened shirt ties, a receding hairline and a shiny gold hoop earring that is dangling from his left ear.
  2. Lost years of Shakespeare – There is no evidence for what Shakespeare did between 1585 and 1592. This was the period when he moved to London and began his writing career. Thus, there is no record of how his career began or how quickly he rose to fame – these are referred to as the Lost Years.
  3. Incorrect spell of name Shakespeare – His name is spelled in more than 80 ways that vary from  ” Shaxberd” to “Shappere”.He has never spelled his name as we do now, he made many variations and abbreviations like “Willm Shakp” or “Willm Shakspere”.

 Facts About Shakespeare’s Achievements

  1. Introducing 3000 words to English –  He gets credit to introduce around 3000 new words to the Oxford English Dictionary. He invented the word like “Assassination”.
  2.  The Globe Theatres – Shakespeare and his company built TWO Globe Theatres. The Globe burned to the ground on June 29, 1613. It was set on fire by a cannon shot during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. Shakespeare and the Globe Actors were implicated in the Essex Rebellion of 1601.
  3. Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth –  Shakespeare had also performed for Queen Elizabeth I and also before King James I. Both of them were the very enthusiastic patron of his work.
  4. The Double life of Shakespeare – Although he had become a famous actor and playwright in London, Shakespeare was a highly respected businessman and property owner in his hometown in Stratford -Upon -Avon.

Facts About Shakespeare’s Work

  1. Shakespeare as an Actor – He was a renowned actor and performed many times in his own plays as well as those of others playwrights.
  2. Shakespeare’s Work –  He wrote around 37 plays and composed almost 154 sonnets. Sonnets are typically loved poems, but Shakespeare’s are often self-loathing, bitter, and even homoerotic.
  3. Shortest Play -The Comedy of Errors is the shortest play of Shakespeare that was just of  1770 lines.
  4. Longest Word – He used the longest word “Honorificabilitudintatibus” in his play Love’s Labour’s Lost. It meant ” Invincible Glorious Honorableness”.
  5. Famous Plays of Shakespeare – Some of the greatest plays of Shakespeare are Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Romeo, Juliet, and King Lear.
  6. Doubt of Shakespeare Sexuality – Based on textual evidence in the sonnets and some plays, some believe that Shakespeare was bisexual.
  7. Shakespeare Publishing of Work – Shakespeare never published any of his plays and they only came to light after his death on 23rd April 1616. His first work was published in 1623 as “First Folio”.
  8. Shakespeare’s Famous Phrases – Countless excellent phrases, now commonly used, occur first in Shakespeare. Including one fell swoop, vanish into thin air, play fast and loose, be in a pickle, foul play, tower of strength, flesh and blood, be cruel to be kind, and with bated breath.
  9. The quotation by Shakespeare – According to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Shakespeare wrote about one-tenth of the most quotable quotations ever written or spoken in English.
  10. Shakespeare Poem of Starlings –  His Work contains the reference about various types of birds ranging from swan and doves to turkeys and sparrows. One of his famous poem The Starlings which is a songbird that is kind of gift for mimicry to the natives of Europe and Western Asia.
  11. Shakespeare Poem and Eugene – In the year 1890, an American Bardolator called Eugene Schiffelin imported every kind of bird that is mentioned in the oeuvre of Shakespeare and that were not present in the United States. He released 120 Starlings as a part of his project in New York. And now 120 years later, there are 200 million starlings species taken over the skies preventing them from extinction.
  12. Criticism of Shakespeare – He received his first criticism with playwright Robert Greene in 1592 for his work “Jack of all trades” which was a second rate tinkerer compared to his other works. His criticism was highly praised because of the fact that he was not educated in University like other contemporary writers Christopher Marlowe.
  13. Shakespeare’s Portrait – No portrait of Shakespeare was every painted while he was alive. Even though there are literally thousands of pictures of William Shakespeare in the world today, nobody really knows what he looked like as his portrait was never painted when he was alive.

Facts About Shakespeare’s Death

  1. Living Through Black Death – He is said to have survived the epidemic that killed over 33,000 people in London alone in the year 1603.
  2. Shakespeare’s Death – His death is still a mystery and many say that he died due to an outbreak of typhus, a new fever that contracted many at that time. Shakespeare is buried at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, England.
  3.  Shakespeare’s Skull Stolen –  It was found that Shakespeare’s skull was stolen by the grave robbers in the 18th century. This came out true recently when first archaeological excavation was carried out at Trinity grave for a documentary in 2016. The most disturbing conclusion was that there was no head in his grave. Research says these skulls are stolen just to know to analyze what is different in the genius people.

You can see some more interesting facts for kids and as an exercise, create your own fact file.

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