- Education and Science
Some thing's you might not know about Shakespeare.
I have always loved Shakespeare's work, ever since we studied Romeo and Juliet at school. I was however the only one, as everyone else in my class seemed to find it incredibly boring. Although I could never understand why? There was something about the old English language and the controversial material he based his poems and plays on, that really intrigued me. Romeo and Juliet being so much in love, that they would rather die then live without each other and Macbeth's mother encouraging her son to kill another, in pursuit of higher social standing. Witches, potions, infidelity and death. It was unlike any literature I had ever come across before or have since. Over time as I have increased my knowledge, so to has it aided my understanding and fueled further my interest. Here are just a few reasons why I think the bard is brilliant!
Shakespeare not only had an extensive vocabulary using 17,677 words in his sonnets, narrative poems and plays. More then 1,700 of them were first used in the written form by him. He also invented new words one of these being assassination.
He was a real hit with the royals. James I and Queen Elizabeth I had both seen William act in his own plays. James I was especially keen on his work.
Shakespears sonnets are addressed to a male beloved, leading to the belief that he was either gay or bisexual. However some critics are still trying to dispel this theory, even in this day and age where society is supposedly more liberal on issues of sexuality and is also of course of no detriment to his material.
When Shakespeare died he left in his will a number of large land holdings. Which was unusual in his time as the majority of artists, even famous ones, had died in poverty.
As well as acting in his own theatrical productions, he would also perform in the works of other playwrights.
We can read his plays today only because of his friends and fellow actors Henry Condel and John Hemminges. They dedicated themselves to recording and compiling his plays as William never published any of them.
If you read horizontally, from the furthest left hand side and of last 14 lines of the book of his original published copy of hamlet. It reads 'I am a homosexual'. It also has the longest Shakespearean speaking part, at 1,500 lines long. William had a boy twin named hamnet that died at the age of 11, in 1596. Hamlet was written in 1599 and it is thought to be the product of his grief.
Common expressions today like 'puppy dog', 'skim milk', 'elbow room', 'wild goose chase' and 'what the Dickens' originally appeared in his work.
Not one single character in a Shakespeare play smokes, yet there are 13 acts of suicide.
All of the planet Uranus's satellites are named after Shakespearean characters.
William lived through the black death, never attended university, was married at 18 and had 8 children with his wife Anne Hathaway. After he died at the age of 52, he left most of his property to his eldest child Susanna, not Anne.
It was believed that the play Cardinio was a work of Shakespeare's and was performed in his life time. However over time it has been lost.
There are only 2 authentic portraits of the great man.
In the 16th century the world was a very different place to what it is today and William showed real courage with his work. He brought issues to the fore that could have caused him alot of trouble, especially as In England religion and good morals were still extremely important to society, yet he was not afraid to not only challenge it but in some cases belittle it. There is mention of genitalia, premarital sex, homosexuality, suicide as well as murder and witchcraft. All of this subject matter were not things to be discussed let alone broadcast in his time, however by winning over royalty and the public alike, he made a living out of it. Despite being believed to be a serial cheat and a raving alcoholic he still provided for his growing family and wife, knowing a thing or two about property he made a pretty penny buying and selling property too.
His body and quantity of work really is just astounding, writing 37 plays and 154 sonnet's. Most of the plays are written as verse and prose, 5 are entirely verse but none are entirely prose. He has been influential the world over and is still today one of Britain's greatest, there is nothing boring about the bard.
If you are a life long lover of shakespeare like myself or are taking new interest in him and his work, then this is for you. I hope you find them as interesting as I do.