In any case, I'm trying to keep the enthusiasm up and the random information on Shakespeare rolling. In case you missed it, here are the two other informational posts I have made about the Bard earlier this week:
Tips for Reading Shakespeare
Books About Shakespeare
Feel free to go and read!
For today's post, I thought it would be fun to share some of the fun and random facts known...and unknown about Will Shakespeare. Some of these might sound familiar, but I hope at least a fact or two are new to you!
*I should note that even some of these, while recognized as being accepted among scholars, aren't verified by everyone. A lot isn't known about Shakespeare, so that leaves some things open to questions. I did my best to include only the things that are noncontroversial*
- While we attribute April 23, 1564 as being Shakespeare's birthday, it isn't known for certain! His baptism was on April 26th, so scholars have placed his birth as three days before (babies were baptized as soon as possible in case of sickness or early death).
- There are two known portraits of Shakespeare. The third (and funnily the one I used as the backdrop for the month's image) cannot be confirmed AS Shakespeare-even though it is fairly similar to the other two (the other two are an engraving and a statue-not a lot to go on!)
- There was a period of time, known as the "Lost Years" where absolutely nothing is known about Shakespeare or his whereabouts (this time period was from 1585-1592)!
- The majority of his plays were published AFTER his death. The ones chosen to be published were selected by two of his friends-we have them to blame for The Tragedy of Cardenio being lost to history forever!
- Shakespeare's contemporaries included Marlowe, Jonson, Bacon, and others-to this day, there are those who believe THEY wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare.
- All of Shakespeare's grandchildren passed before passing on the family name, so there are no direct descendants of Will!
- In Shakespeare's will, he leaves his wife his "second-best bed." Ouch.
- There are six known signatures done by William Shakespeare, but none are spelled "William Shakespeare."
- Many of Shakespeare's plays were based on plays from earlier years and by other poets. This was common practice.
- Most of Shakespeare's plays were written and performed during the reign of James I, not Elizabeth as is commonly believed.
- The sonnets were originally published without Shakespeare's knowledge. There is no way of knowing whether the numerical order they were placed in are how Shakespeare intended them to be!
- Yes, the Globe Theater burned down after a cannon went off during a performance of Henry VIII.
- Before Shakespeare's works, there was no recording of the word "critical," and countless others (including countless-see what I did there?)
- The First Folio is the ONLY known recording of 18 of Shakespeare's plays. If it hadn't been published, they would have been lost forever!
- Today, actors avoid saying "Macbeth" while in a theater-it is believed to bring bad luck!
- Shakespeare not only wrote plays, but also performed in them regularly.
- There is a curse written over Shakespeare's grave not to remove his bones from their resting place.
- Richard II and King John are the only two plays that contain absolutely NO prose.