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Some are Born Great!

Southwark London - Mural of William ShakespeareSome are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.  Shakespeare is often referred to as England’s national poet, and the “Bard of Avon”.

As the most quoted English writer Shakespeare has more than his share of famous quotes. Some Shakespeare famous quotes are known for their beauty, some for their everyday truths and some for their wisdom.

Interesting Shakespeare Facts:

  • William Shakespeare was born in 1564, but his exact birthdate is unknown. He was baptized on April 26 of that year, so his birth would have been shortly before.
    Shakespeare’s parents were probably illiterate, and his children almost certainly were, Shakespeare himself did not go to college however attended Stratford’s local grammar school, where he mastered reading, writing and Latin.
  • Shakespeare was eighteen when he married an older woman Anne Hathaway in 1582 who was three months pregnant at the time.  The couple had a baby girl, and then had twins, a boy and a girl, in 1584.
  • Almost no information exists about Shakespeare’s activities from the time he moved to London from 1585 to 1592, when he was described as an up-and-coming playwright in the London theater scene. Because of this, the years 1585 to 1592 are called “the lost years”.  Historians have speculated that he worked as a schoolteacher, studied law, travelled across continental Europe or joined an acting troupe that was passing through Stratford.
  • We probably don’t spell Shakespeare’s name correctly—but, then again, neither did he.  Sources from William Shakespeare’s lifetime spell his last name in more than 80 different ways ranging from “Shappere” to “Shaxberd.”  In the handful of signatures that have survived, the Bard never spelled his own name “William Shakespeare,” using variations or abbreviations such as “Willm Shakp,” “Willm Shakspere” and “William Shakspeare” instead.
  • Some people think Shakespeare was a fraud, how did a provincial commoner who had never gone to college or ventured outside Stratford become one of the most prolific, worldly and eloquent writers in history? Even early in his career, Shakespeare was spinning tales that displayed in-depth knowledge of international affairs, European capitals and history, as well as familiarity with the royal court and high society. For this reason, some theorists have suggested that one or several authors wishing to conceal their true identity used the person of William Shakespeare as a front.
  • Because of the plague outbreak in Europe, all London playhouses were closed between 1592 and 1594 because it was thought that crowded places helped facilitate the spread of the disease. During this period, because there was no demand for Shakespeare’s plays, he began to write poetry.
  • Plays were performed only in the afternoon, by daylight, the theater had no heating.
  • In 1594, Shakespeare became one of the founders of Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an acting/theater group that soon became the leading player’s company in London.
  • Shakespeares playing company built the Globe Theater in 1599, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. It showed up to 10 plays a week, however had to be rebuilt in 1614 when it burned down, it was designed to hold 3000 people.
  • Women were not allowed to act in plays during Shakespeare’s time, so in all of his plays, boys performed women’s roles and men wearing lots of makeup, however this led to early deaths due to the high lead content on the make-up.
  • None of Shakespeare’s original manuscripts exists.
  • Shakespeare’s plays feature the first written instances of hundreds of familiar terms.  William Shakespeare is believed to have influenced the English language more than any other writer in history has. Many say these combinations of words did not appear in print before Shakespeare’s works:

– All that glitters is not gold
– All’s well that ends well
– Bated breath
– Dead as a doornail
– Fancy-free
– Fool’s paradise
– For goodness’ sake
– Good riddance
– Heart of gold
– In a pickle
– Knock knock! Who’s there?
– Laughing stock
– Love is blind
– Naked truth
– Neither rhyme nor reason
– One fell swoop
– Star-crossed lovers
– Pomp and circumstance
– Pound of flesH
– Primrose path
– Too much of a good thing
– Wear my heart upon my sleeve
– What’s in a name?
– Wild goose chase
– The world’s my oyster

The Guinness Book of Records lists 410-feature length film and TV Versions of William Shakespeare`s plays as having been produced, making Shakespeare the most filmed author ever in the English language.

Why not join us on our two hour Shakespeare walking tour around London, exploring areas of the capital that are connected with this incredible playwright.

 

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