10 Interesting facts about William Shakespeare that you probably didn’t know about
Despite the fact that William Shakespeare is probably the best known playwright the world has ever known, there are many facts about his life that remain a mystery. We know that he wrote around 40 plays, over 150 sonnets, two long narrative poems and some other verses, but we don’t even know, when his birthday was. There are some that say Shakespeare was a fraud and it wasn’t even him that originally penned the works of William Shakespeare and here are ten other interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about the ‘Bard of Avon’:
1. Shakespeare’s parents were illiterate
It’s incredible to think that the parents of the man who has been hailed, as the greatest writer of the English language, ever, were quite probably illiterate. We can’t know for certain, but it is known that Shakespeare’s father signed his name with a mark, not a signature. It is also believed that Shakespeare’s own children were illiterate.
2. He made his fortune from his writing
Another one of the interesting facts about William Shakespeare is that, unlike many of his contemporaries, William Shakespeare amassed quite a personal fortune in his own lifetime. He made his money from his plays, his own acting and taking shares in the profits from the productions of his plays. By the age of 33 he was able to buy the second largest house in Stratford-upon-Avon.
3. We all speak Shakespeare’s language
Many people think that the language of Shakespeare’s writing is impenetrable, but we actually use Shakespearean language all the time and, when he couldn’t find a suitable word, he made it up! Words in everyday English we use today including; bloodstained, lacklustre, assassination, radiance and eyeball all came from Shakespeare.
4. He didn’t write for posterity
Shakespeare didn’t care at all if his writing lasted forever or not, he wrote them for the moment. During his lifetime, his plays were popular, but were not held in great esteem, as works of literature. In today’s terms, they did well at the box office, but were slated by the critics!
5. There are no descendants of Shakespeare
Interesting facts about William Shakespeare also include the fact that there are none of his descendants left. Shakespeare’s only son, Hamlet, died at the age of eleven and all his daughter’s children died young, so there were no descendants of William Shakespeare within twenty five years of his own death.
6. Anne Hathaway was pregnant when she married Shakespeare
A farmer’s daughter, Anne Hathaway, 26, was three months pregnant when she married the 18-year-old Shakespeare. That certainly would have raised a few eyebrows in those days and their marriage was arranged very hastily indeed.
7. Shakespeare’s name probably wasn’t spelled Shakespeare
Next one of the interesting facts about William Shakespeare is that some eighty different spellings of Shakespeare’s name have been found, from “Shappere” to “Shaxberd.” And even the poet himself used different spellings at different times and often shortened his name to things like “Willm Shakp,”
8. Shakespeare disappeared between 1585 and 1592
The bard disappears completely from historical records between the years of 1585 and 1592. It is not known for sure where he got to, but some believe that he may have worked as a schoolteacher and others think he might have gone travelling around Europe.
9. Shakespeare used co-writers
It was common at the time for writers to collaborate on works and Shakespeare was no exception in this. Whilst he did most of his work alone, it is known that other authors wrote part of Henry VIII and Macbeth.
10. Shakespeare didn’t look like his picture!
Most of the images you see of William Shakespeare are actually nothing more than guesswork. There are only two pictures of him that are thought to be authentic, one is an engraving by Martin Droeshout and the other is a monument in a church.
What other interesting facts about William Shakespeare did we forget to mention? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.