Ten Random Facts: William Shakespeare

Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.

Since this is the annual weekend of love, I decided to take my monthly segment to honor the master of literary romance, William Shakespeare. Even people who haven’t read his plays have at least heard about some of his love stories, such as Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Midsummer Night’s Dream. So what better way to celebrate the time of romance than to share ten random tidbits about the incredible life and work of Shakespeare?

  1. While we can’t say for sure how many plays and poems Shakespeare wrote in his life, scholars assume that his grand total was almost 40 plays, over 150 sonnets, and other verses.
  2. His wife’s name was Anne Hathaway. Sources disagree on how many children they had together, but the three known for sure are Hamnet, Susanna, and Judith.
  3. Thirteen of Shakespeare’s characters committed suicide in his plays. Coincidence?
  4. Shakespeare has been a big influence on the English language since his time, as well as English literature. According to his Wikipedia page, Shakespeare’s list of people inspired by him include Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, and—believe it or not—Sigmund Freud.
  5. You might hear an actor experienced in Shakespeare tell you about how Macbeth is a curse in the world of theater. If that’s the case, don’t be too surprised. Legend has it that disaster struck when a troupe of actors tried to perform Shakespeare’s darkest play, including—but not limited to—injury, failure, and even death. As a result, a lot of superstitions have cropped up surrounding the word itself. Some of these superstitions involve banishing the guilty party from the building, or quoting lines from Hamlet or Merchant of Venice. The story about the play is so controversial that it now has its own Wikipedia page. Don’t worry, I wasn’t in a theater when I wrote this.

Or was I?

  1. Shakespeare’s most popular, talked about (and arguably, most misunderstood) play is Romeo and Juliet.
  2. Though many English teachers might have their students study Shakespearean plays (for good reason, don’t get me wrong), this doesn’t mean that Shakespeare’s stories aren’t controversial. Most of them are, alluding to things like sex, racism, murder, political fraud, and even anti-Judaism.
  3. Two notable Brits who contributed to Shakespeare’s work (or at least, the two that I’m thinking of) were monarchs; one was Queen Elizabeth I, and King James I.
  4. April 23 is the day scholars agree was the day Shakespeare was baptized, though to this day many celebrate it as his birthday.
  5. If you haven’t gone to college, you might be encouraged by this: William Shakespeare didn’t either.

And those are my ten random tidbits. If you’d like to know more, I’ve attached my sources used below. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to enjoy my favorite Shakespeare play of all time: Much Ado with Emma Thompson. Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”

Photo source: http://guardianlv.com/2014/04/william-shakespeare-happy-450th-birthday/

Sources used: http://absoluteshakespeare.com/trivia/facts/facts.htm





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