“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none” are the words of legendary English poet, playwright, and actor William Shakespeare. We bring to you some facts about the greatest English writer of all times that you wouldn’t have thought in the wildest of your dreams:
1. Shakespeare was born and died on the same day
Shakespeare was supposedly born on April 23, 1564 and died on the same day at the age of 52. His actual birth date remains under mysterious wraps but scholars calculated it from his date of baptism which was April 26, three days after his birth which was the customary amount to wait before baptising a newborn.
2. Shakespeare’s father got paid to drink alcohol
In 1556, John Shakespeare was appointed as the borough’s official ‘ale taster’ where he had to inspect bread and malt liquors. Later, he ungraded his social status by marrying the daughter of a reputed farmer.
3. Shakespeare was illiterate
Shakespeare never attended university. He just went to the local grammar school, King’s New School, where the curriculum would have stressed a classical education of Greek mythology, Roman comedy, ancient history, rhetoric, grammar, Latin, and possibly Greek.
4. Shakespeare married at age 18
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway who was eight years senior to him and was three months pregnant when they got married. Their first child Susanna was born six months after the wedding.
5. Shakespeare performed before Queen Elizabeth I
Shakespeare was part-owner of Lord Chamberlain’s Men, one of the most popular acting companies in London, and often played before the court of Queen Elizabeth I.
6. Shakespeare died before his plays were published
In 1609 or 1611, Shakespeare’s sonnets were published, though he did not live to see the First Folio of his plays published in 1623.
7. Shakespeare’s will had a family bed left to his wife
Since his only son Hamnet died in 1596, Shakespeare wrote his estate will to his two daughters and left the family’s “second best bed” to his wife Anne. This second best bed was his bed on his wedding night and also a bed for important guests.
8. Shakespeare paid £440 for his grave space
Shakespeare was granted the honour of burial in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon not on account of his fame as a playwright but for purchasing a share of the tithe of the church for £440.
9. Shakespeare invented 3000 words in English
Shakespeare introduced over 3000 words into the English language. Sometimes he would change verbs into nouns, verbs into adjectives, or connected words that had never before been used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.
10. Shakespeare invented lots of expressions that we still use today
In his plays, Shakespeare has created phrases that have travelled time and are still very popular. Some of these expressions are ‘Heart of gold’ (Henry V), ‘Wild-goose chase’ (Romeo and Juliet), ‘Faint-hearted’ (Henry IV, part I), ‘Break the ice’ (The Taming of the Shrew), ‘For goodness’ sake’ (Henry VIII) and ‘Love is blind’ (The Merchant of Venice).