10 fast facts: William Shakespeare

By tradition and guesswork, William Shakespeare is assumed to have been born on 23 April 1564, but what else do we know about the famous Bard?

Here are 10 facts you didn’t know the one and only William Shakespeare!

10 facts you didn't know about Shakespeare

1. There are 156 million pages referring to Shakespeare on Google. In comparison, there are 13.1 million for Winston Churchill, 36 million for Andy Warhol and 125 million for The Rolling Stones.

2.  Conspiracy theorists believe that it was actually Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford, who wrote Shakespeare’s plays. He was sometimes called “spear-shaker” by his peers and died in 1604 before many of Shakespeare’s plays were produced.

3. MacBeth is the earliest known work of literature to contain the word “assassination.” In fact, the Bard is thought to have invented over 1,700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words that were wholly original.

4. William Arden, a relative of Shakespeare’s mother Mary Arden, was arrested for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I, imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.

5. Shakespeare died on April 23 1616- 52 years after he was born- and left most of his real estate to his daughter Susanna. The only mention of his wife, Anne Hathaway, in his Last Will and testament was to leave her his “second best bed”.

6. Shakespeare is buried near the altar of Holy Trinity Church, where he was baptized, in Stratford-upon Avon. The slabstone over his tomb includes the following inscription, believed to be a curse written by Shakespeare himself:

Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forebeare
To digg the dust enclosed heare;
Bleste be the man that spares thes stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.

7. 24 of Uranus’ 27 satellies are named after Shakespearean characters, including Titania, Ophelia, Juliet and Cupid!

8. Star Trek fans will be pleased to learn that two of Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing, have been translated into Klingon. Better yet, the Klingon Language Institute plans to translate more!

9. Although it was illegal to be a Catholic in Shakespeare’s lifetime, the Anglican Archdeacon, Richard Davies of Lichfield, who had known him wrote some time after Shakespeare’s death that he had been a Catholic.

10. Shakespeare dabbled in property development. At age 33, he bought the second most prestigious property in all of Stratford, The New Place.

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Written by Britain Magazine // 23rd April 2012