Hark, hail and well met everyone, welcome to this special Shakespeare post. This Saturday, the 23rd April, marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and the 452nd anniversary of his birth. To celebrate the great man’s achievements we’ve collected up our favourite facts about the Bard.
1. Even Shakespeare wasn’t without his critics. One contemporary theatre critic described him, in 1552, as an “upstart crow, beautified with our feathers”.
2. There are more than 80 spellings of Shakespeare’s name.
3. As well as a playwright Shakespeare was of course an actor. He is thought to have played the part of the ghost in Hamlet.
4. Apparently the bust of Shakespeare over his grave originally held a bag of grain. It was replaced with a quill in 1747.
5. During his lifetime Shakespeare is reputed to have written 37 plays and 154 sonnets.
6. The Bard also composed a special curse for his gravestone:
Good friend for Jesus sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here:
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.
7. The Oxford English Dictionary credits Shakespeare with introducing an astonishing 3,000 words into the English language.
8. Shakespeare’s shortest play is The Comedy of Errors.
9. Shakespeare is the second most quoted author in English.
10. In 1890 American Eugene Schiffelin decided to bring every bird species mentioned in Shakespeare to America. The 60 starlings he released now have 200 million descendants.
There are lots of events going on up and down the country and hundreds of ways to spread the love of Shakespeare. Have a look at the Shakespeare birthplace trust site for more information, resources and ideas. Whatever you’re doing to celebrate, we hope you have a fantastic and fun time.
Take a look at No Sweat Shakespeare for lots more fun facts and info about the Bard.