William Shakespeare turns 450: Top 11 facts about the greatest playwright

william shakespeare

Today 23rd April is widely regarded as William Shakespeare’s birthday, we all know who he is and many students despise him, yet there are a lot of things people don’t know about the greatest playwright who ever lived, here are some facts you probably didn’t know about Shakespeare:

1) Nobody knows his real birthday. That’s right nobody is certain of the exact day Shakespeare was born, and you were worried about people forgetting your birthday, just imagine how much worse it would have been if you were as famous as he is. 23rd April is just a day people assume to be his birthday, talk about being presumptuous, not only did we forget his birthday, we also assume that his birthday is April 23rd when it may or may not even be true.

2) He died on his 52nd birthday i.e. 23rd April 1616. The poor guy just couldn’t catch a break when it comes to birthdays. Like people forgetting his birthday wasn’t birthday wasn’t bad enough.

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3) He married Anne Hathaway. Yes but not the Anne Hathaway you have in mind.

4) He was only 18 when he married his wife who was 26, it was even weirder back in his day.

5) Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear,
      To dig the dust enclosed here:
     Blest be the man that spares these stones,
     And curst be he that moves my bones.

This was Shakespeare’s Epitaph, some believe it is a curse to anyone who dared disturb his final resting place. Which is why nobody has dared to move his remains in 400 years because obviously nobody wants to mess with the ghost of a man who can find a rhyme for ‘forbear’.

6) Shakespeare didn’t come up with the stories of many of his plays, he based them on historical events or “borrowed” them  (*cough* plagiarism!)

7) Some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays are Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and As You Like It.

8) Miguel de Cervantes the Great Spanish novelist and playwright died just eleven days before Shakespeare. Many believe that they died on the same this is not true because England was using the Julian calendar where as Spain was using the Gregorian calendar.  Miguel de Cervantes died on 23rd April (Gregorian Calendar) and Shakespeare died on 23rd April (Julian Calendar).

9) 23rd April is celebrated as World Book Day, no prizes for guessing why.

10) 23rd April was also the day William Wordsworth died.

11) Many of Shakespeare’s plays are believed to have been lost to history, much to the joy of school children everywhere.

William Shakespeare goes down the history as the greatest writer in English language around the world.