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Drama King: 10 Intriguing Facts About William Shakespeare

Image of a statue of William Shakespeare for a blog post covering interesting facts about William Shakespeare.

Our exploration into ten intriguing facts about William Shakespeare promises to be a fascinating ride.

From his mysterious lost years to his unexpected influence on the English language, each fact sheds light on the life and legacy of this literary giant.

Whether you’re a Shakespeare aficionado or just curious, there’s something here for everyone.

So, let’s dive in and uncover the stories behind the Bard of Avon! 📖🎭

Facts About William Shakespeare Listed

Kicking off our list of ten fascinating facts about William Shakespeare, let’s delve into the mystery of his “lost years.”

This period, cloaked in secrecy, spans from 1585 to 1592 and leaves us guessing about what Shakespeare was up to.

Image of a printed copy of Shakepeare's work along with a desk calender.
A book of works by Shakespeare and a desktop calendar
maybe used to track the days of his “lost years” period

1. Shakespeare’s “Lost Years”

William Shakespeare’s “lost years” sparked a lot of curiosity in the world of literature.

Spanning from 1585 to 1592, this period is a real mystery.

Not much is known about what Shakespeare was up to during these years.

Historians speculate he might have been working as a school teacher, traveling, or honing his playwriting skills.

Interestingly, these years were just before he emerged as a prominent playwright in London.

This enigma adds to the fascinating facts about William Shakespeare, leaving us wondering about his life’s untold stories.

Image of a page from the play Hamlet.
A passage from Shakespeare’s classic, Hamlet

2. Shakespeare’s Linguistic Influence

William Shakespeare wasn’t just a master playwright; he was a wizard with words.

His linguistic influence is monumental.

He added around 1,700 words to the English language.

Imagine that!

Words like “eyeball,” “fashionable,” and even “bedroom” first appeared in his works.

He also crafted catchy phrases we still use today, like “break the ice” and “wild goose chase.”

This incredible knack for language makes the facts about William Shakespeare not just about his plays, but also about how he shaped the way we speak.

Image of numerous volumes of Shakespeares works for a blog post covering intriguing facts about William Shakespeare.
Several volumes of Shakespeare’s work with his
surname spelled S-h-a-k-s-p-e-a-r-e, leaving out the middle “e”

3. Variations in Spelling His Name

Here’s a quirky fact about William Shakespeare: his name’s spelling was never set in stone.

Back in the day, spelling wasn’t standardized like it is now.

So, Shakespeare himself spelled his name in various ways.

In fact, over 80 variations of the surname Shakespeare have been recorded!

Some of these include “Shappere” and “Shaxberd.”

This fun tidbit shows how language and names evolved.

It’s one of the many intriguing facts about William Shakespeare that make his history so fascinating.

Image of Shakespeare's grave in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Shakespeare’s tomb at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, England (UK)

4. Shakespeare’s Grave and the Curse

One of the more eerie facts about William Shakespeare involves his final resting place.

Shakespeare was buried in 1616 in the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Now, here’s the spooky part: his tombstone carries a curse.

It warns against moving his bones with the line, “Cursed be he that moves my bones.”

Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for graves to be dug up to make room for others.

But Shakespeare’s curse seems to have worked; his grave remains untouched to this day, adding a hint of mystery to his legacy.

Image of a portrait of Shakespeare with his trademark earing.
Shakespeare with his trademark earing

5. Shakespeare’s Earring and Fashion

Did you know that fashion was a big deal for William Shakespeare?

One of the standout facts about William Shakespeare is his iconic earring.

Portraits from his era often show him sporting a gold hoop earring.

This wasn’t just a style statement; it was a symbol of wealth and artistic flair in Elizabethan England.

Earrings were trendy among poets and musicians, showing their creative and free-spirited nature.

So, Shakespeare’s earring was more than just an accessory; it was a part of his identity as a celebrated artist of his time.

Image of a perched starling for a blog post covering interesting facts about William Shakespeare.
A starling, much like those released in Central Park in
New York City in the late 1800s in honor of William Shakespeare

6. The Starling Bird in North America

Believe it or not, William Shakespeare has an unexpected link to starlings in North America.

Among the intriguing facts about William Shakespeare is how his work led to the introduction of this bird species in the U.S.

In 1890, a fan of Shakespeare released about 100 starlings in New York City’s Central Park.

He wanted every bird mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays to live in America.

The only mention of a starling is in “Henry IV.”

This small act had big consequences.

Today, starlings are widespread across North America, all thanks to a Shakespeare enthusiast’s unique tribute.

Image of a book containing the works of William Shakespeare.
The authorship of Shakespeare’s plays has been called into question over the centuries

7. The Shakespeare Authorship Question

A juicy piece among the facts about William Shakespeare is the rumor that he didn’t write his plays.

This centuries-old debate suggests other authors may have penned his famous works.

Names like Christopher Marlowe and Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, often pop up in this conspiracy theory.

However, most scholars dismiss these claims, sticking to the belief that Shakespeare, a man from Stratford-upon-Avon, was the true author.

Despite this, the rumor adds an intriguing layer of mystery to Shakespeare’s already fascinating story.

Image of St. Mary's church in Stratford-upon-Avon, England (UK).
Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was baptized in 1564 and buried in 1616

8. Shakespeare’s Secret Religion?

One of the more mysterious facts about William Shakespeare involves speculation about his religious beliefs.

During his time, England was in religious turmoil, shifting between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Some historians believe Shakespeare might have been a secret Catholic, based on clues in his writings and his family’s history.

However, solid evidence is scarce, so this remains a topic of debate.

This aspect of Shakespeare’s life adds to the enigma surrounding the legendary playwright, making his story even more captivating.

9. His Precise Knowledge of Foreign Places

One of the remarkable facts about William Shakespeare is his detailed knowledge of foreign places, despite never leaving England.

His plays are set in varied locations like Italy, Denmark, and Greece, and they often feature accurate references to local customs and geography.

How he gained such precise knowledge is a mystery.

Some speculate he might have talked to travelers or read extensively.

This intriguing aspect of Shakespeare’s work shows his extraordinary imagination and understanding of diverse cultures, adding depth to his global appeal.

Image of the rebuilt Globe Theatre in London.
The rebuilt Globe Theatre in London, England (UK)

10. Shakespeare’s Legacy and Influence on Language

William Shakespeare’s legacy and influence on language are truly astonishing.

Among the many facts about William Shakespeare, his impact on the English language stands out.

He coined phrases like “heart of gold” and “in a pickle,” which we still use today.

His works contributed over 1,700 words to the English language.

His unique style of writing, blending classical and vernacular language, made his plays both elegant and accessible.

This blend has influenced writers and speakers for centuries, cementing Shakespeare’s status as a linguistic genius and a timeless icon in literature.

Image of William Shakespeare's home in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon, England (UK)

Biography: Facts About William Shakespeare

Full Name:

William Shakespeare

Date of Birth:

Baptized April 26, 1564 (actual birth date unknown, traditionally observed on April 23)

Place of Birth:

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England

Date of Death:

April 23, 1616

Profession:

Playwright, Poet, Actor

Major Achievements:

  • His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Legacy:

  • Shakespeare is often referred to as England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.
  • His works have had a profound influence on English literature and the development of the English language, introducing new vocabulary and phrases.
  • He significantly impacted the fields of drama and literature, with his plays continuing to resonate and inspire adaptations and reinterpretations across various cultural and historical contexts.
Image of a statue honoring William Shakespeare.

Wrap-up: Facts About William Shakespeare

And that wraps up our dive into the fascinating world of William Shakespeare.

It’s pretty amazing how facts about William Shakespeare still capture our imagination, even after all these centuries.

His impact on the way we speak, write, and see the world of theater and poetry is nothing short of incredible.

From his mysterious personal life to those plays and sonnets that never get old, Shakespeare’s got a special place in our hearts and culture.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just casually interested, there’s always something new and intriguing to learn about the Bard.

So, here’s to keeping the spirit of Shakespeare alive, in all the surprising ways his legacy pops up in our lives! 🎭✨

Image of a scene from Hamlet for a blog post covering interesting facts about William Shakespeare.

FAQs: Facts About William Shakespeare

1. What was Shakespeare’s family life like?

William Shakespeare was married to Anne Hathaway and had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith.


His family life in Stratford-upon-Avon was somewhat separate from his career in London, and little is known about his private life due to limited historical records.


2. How did Shakespeare’s work influence the development of the theater?

Shakespeare played a crucial role in the evolution of English theater.


His innovative use of language, character development, and themes set new standards for plays.


He was involved with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men, which became one of the most successful companies in London.


His Globe Theatre, famous for its open-air setting, became a hub for his and others’ productions.


3. What genres did Shakespeare write in?

Shakespeare was versatile, writing across several genres.


He is renowned for his tragedies, such as “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet,” his comedies like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and his histories, including “Henry V.”


He also wrote sonnets and other poetic works, showcasing his skill in both drama and poetry.


References: Facts About William Shakespeare

“Birds of Shakespeare: The Common Starling | Folger Shakespeare Library.” www.folger.edu, 16 Dec. 2022, www.folger.edu/blogs/shakespeare-and-beyond/birds-of-shakespeare-the-common-starling/. Accessed 26 Jan. 2024.

“CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Religion of Shakespeare (Was Shakespeare Catholic?).” www.newadvent.org, www.newadvent.org/cathen/13748c.htm.

Folger Shakespeare Library. “Shakespeare’s Life | Folger Shakespeare Library.” www.folger.edu, www.folger.edu/explore/shakespeares-life/.

https://www.facebook.com/thoughtcodotcom. “What Was Shakespeare Doing during His Lost Years?” ThoughtCo, 2019, www.thoughtco.com/shakespeare-lost-years-2985102.

Jabr, Ferris. “John a Long – Publications List.” Publicationslist.org, vol. 14, no. 6, 2011, publicationslist.org/jlong.

Maranzani, Barbara . “Was Shakespeare the Real Author of His Plays?” Biography, 26 May 2020, www.biography.com/authors-writers/shakespeare-real-author-theories.

Mendoza, Jean. “William Shakespeare Probably Wore This Piece of Jewelry.” Grunge, 4 June 2021, www.grunge.com/428442/william-shakespeare-probably-wore-this-piece-of-jewelry/. Accessed 26 Jan. 2024.

“Playing Fast and Loose with Shakespeare’s Name – How Did Shakespeare Spell His Own Name Anyway?” www.shakespeare-Online.com, www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/shakespearename.html. Accessed 26 Jan. 2024.

Royal Shakespeare Company. “William Shakespeare’s Life and Times | Royal Shakespeare Company.” Rsc.org.uk, Royal Shakespeare Company, 2017, www.rsc.org.uk/shakespeares-life-and-times.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. “Shakespeare’s “Lost Years.”” Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, 2000, www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/shakespedia/william-shakespeare/shakespeares-lost-years/.

“Shakespeare’s Legacy.” Rice.edu, 2019, www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words04/history/shakespeare.html.

“Shakespeare’s Words.” Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, 2021, www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/shakespedia/shakespeares-words/.

SparkNotes. “SparkNotes : William Shakespeare’s Life and Times: Influences.” www.sparknotes.com, www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/life-and-times/historical-context/literary/influences/.

“The Strange Mystery of the Curse on Shakespeare’s Grave.” History Hit, www.historyhit.com/the-curse-on-shakespeares-grave/.

“William Shakespeare’s Church – Stratford upon Avon.” www.stratford-Upon-Avon.org, www.stratford-upon-avon.org/shakespeare.

“World Shakespeare Bibliography | Homepage.” worldshakesbib.org, 2020, www.worldshakesbib.org/.