April 23rd, 2019 will be William Shakespeare’s 455th birthday. Centuries later, this poet, playwright, linguist, and actor is still celebrated as one of the most influential and brilliant writers in history. To honor the “Bard” of Stratford-upon-Avon, here are some lesser-known facts about him and his works:
- Shakespeare has given many words (estimate of 1,700 – 3,000) to the English language. This includes “lackluster,” “swagger,” “unaware,” and “bandit.”
- Shakespeare’s collective plays contain 200 references to dogs and 600 references to birds.
- The epitaph on Shakespeare’s gravestone is a poem and also a curse for anyone who dares to move his bones (this is unfortunate for the apparent graverobber who was speculated to have taken his skull in 2016).
- Shakespeare had penned many modern (and amusing) phrases such as “wild goose chase” and “in a pickle.”
- “William Shakespeare” might not be his true name. It was spelled over eighty different ways and the Bard himself usually signed own his name “Willm Shakp.”
Although he only lived to fifty-two, Shakespeare and his body of work are still discussed, debated, and dissected in and out of the classroom. Of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays, which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!