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Shakespeare Facts: Read Facts About William Shakespeare

Interested in Shakespeare facts? If so, you’re in the right place! Below is a range of 30 little known facts about William Shakespeare. Do bear in mind that very little in the way of hard facts is actually known about Shakespeare’s life (unlike facts about Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which are fairly well documented), but we’ve researched long and hard to come up with a different spin on the great man with a range of interesting facts:

William Shakespeare Facts: 1

Shakespeare lived to 52. It is known that he was born in April 1564 and that he died on 23rd April 1616. We know that he was baptised on 26th April 1564 and scholars now believe that he was born on April 23rd. He therefore died on his fifty-second birthday, coinciding with St George’s Day. How fitting that the great English writer is so closely identified with the patron saint of England!

William Shakespeare Facts: 2

Shakespeare had seven siblings. They were: Joan (1558); Margaret (1562); Gilbert (1566); Joan II (1569); Anne (1571); Richard (1574) and Edmund (1580). Read more about Shakespeare’s family.

William Shakespeare Facts: 3

Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when he was 18. She was 26 and she was pregnant when they married. Their first child was born six months after the wedding.

William Shakespeare Facts: 4

Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway had three children together – a son, Hamnet, who died in 1596, and two daughters, Susanna and Judith. His only granddaughter Elizabeth – daughter of Susanna – died childless in 1670. Shakespeare therefore has no descendants. Read more about Shakespeare’s family.

William Shakespeare Facts: 5

Shakespeare died a rich man. He made several gifts to various people but left his property to his daughter, Susanna. The only mention of his wife in Shakespeare’s own will is: “I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture”. The “furniture” was the bedclothes for the bed.

William Shakespeare Facts: 6

Shakespeare was buried in the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. He put a curse on anyone daring to move his body from that final resting place. His epitaph was:

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.

Though it was customary to dig up the bones from previous graves to make room for others, Shakespeare’s remains are still undisturbed.

William Shakespeare Facts: 7

One of Shakespeare’s relatives on his mother’s side, William Arden, was arrested for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I, imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.

William Shakespeare Facts: 8

During his life, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets! This means an average 1.5 plays a year since he first started writing in 1589. His last play The Two Noble Kinsmen is reckoned to have been written in 1613 when he was 49 years old. While he was writing the plays at such a pace he was also conducting a family life, a social life and a full business life, running an acting company and a theatre.

William Shakespeare Facts: 9

Few people realise that apart from writing his numerous plays and sonnets, Shakespeare was also an actor who performed many of his own plays as well as those of other playwrights. During his life Shakespeare performed before Queen Elizabeth I and, later, before James I who was an enthusiastic patron of his work.

William Shakespeare Facts: 10

Shakespeare’s profession was acting. He is listed in documents of 1592, 1598 and 1603 as an actor. We know that he acted in a Ben Jonson play and also in his own plays but it’s thought that, as a very busy man, writing, managing the theatre and commuting between London and his home in Stratford where is family was, he didn’t undertake big parts. There is evidence that he played the ghost in Hamlet and Adam in As You Like It.

William Shakespeare Facts: 11

In Elizabethan theatre circles it was common for writers to collaborate on writing plays. Towards the end of his career Shakespeare worked with other writers on plays that have been credited to those writers. Other writers also worked on plays that are credited to Shakespeare. We know for certain that Timon of Athens was a collaboration with Thoma Middleton; Pericles with George Wilkins; and The Two Noble Kinsmen with John Fletcher.

William Shakespeare Facts: 12

Some scholars have maintained that Shakespeare did not write the Shakespeare plays, with at least fifty writers having been suggested as the “real” author. However, the evidence for Shakespeare’s having written the plays is very strong.

William Shakespeare Facts: 13

Shakespeare is the second most quoted writer in the English language – after the various writers of the Bible.

William Shakespeare Facts: 14

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre burnt down on 29th June 1613 after a cannon shot set fire to it during a performance of Henry VIII. (See our article on interesting facts on The Globe Theatre.)

William Shakespeare Facts: 15

Shakespeare is always referred to as an Elizabethan playwright, but as most of his most popular plays were written after Elizabeth’s death he was actually more of a Jacobean writer. His later plays also show the distinct characteristics of Jacobean drama.

William Shakespeare Facts: 16

Almost four hundred years after Shakespeare’s death there are 157 million pages referring to him on Google. There are 132 million for God, 2.7 million for Elvis Presley, and coming up on Shakespeare’s heels, George W Bush with 14.7 million.

William Shakespeare Facts: 17

Suicide occurs an unlucky thirteen times in Shakespeare’s plays. It occurs in Romeo and Juliet where both Romeo and Juliet commit suicide, in Julius Caesar where both Cassius and Brutus die by consensual stabbing, as well as Brutus’ wife Portia.

William Shakespeare Facts: 18

Some of Shakespeare’s signatures have survived on original documents. In none of them does he spell his name in what has become the standard way. He spells it Shakespe; Shakspe; Shakspere and Shakespear.

William Shakespeare Facts: 19

Shakespeare lived a double life. By the seventeenth century he had become a famous playwright in London but in his hometown of Stratford, where his wife and children were, and which he visited frequently, he was a well known and highly respected businessman and property owner.

William Shakespeare Facts: 20

The American President Abraham Lincoln was a great lover of Shakespeare’s plays and frequently recited from them to his friends. His assassin, John Wilkes Booth was a famous Shakespearean actor.

William Shakespeare Facts: 21

Although it was illegal to be a Catholic in Shakespeare’s lifetime, the Anglican Archdeacon, Richard Davies of Lichfield, who had known him wrote some time after Shakespeare’s death that he had been a Catholic.

William Shakespeare Facts: 22

Candles were very expensive in Shakespeare’s time so they were used only for emergencies, for a short time. Most writers wrote in the daytime and socialised in the evenings. There is no reason to think that Shakespeare was any different to his contemporaries.

William Shakespeare Facts: 23

It was illegal for women and girls to perform in the theatre in Shakespeare’s lifetime so all the female parts were written for boys. The text of some plays like Hamlet and Antony and Cleopatra refer to that. It was only much later, during the Restoration, that the first woman appeared on the English stage.

William Shakespeare Facts: 24

There are only two Shakespeare plays written entirely in verse: they are Richard II and King John. Many of the plays have half of the text in prose.

William Shakespeare Facts: 25

Shakespeare wrote many more plays than the ones we know about. It’s certain that he wrote a play titled Cardenio, which has been lost, but scholars think he wrote about twenty that have gone without a trace.

William Shakespeare Facts: 26

Shakespeare’s shortest play, The Comedy of Errors is only a third of the length of his longest, Hamlet, which takes four hours to perform.

William Shakespeare Facts: 27

Two of Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing, have been translated into Klingon. The Klingon Language Institute plans to translate more! (If you’re into quirky Shakespeare facts check our our  list of 23 things you never knew about Shakespeare)

William Shakespeare Facts: 28

All Uranus’ satellites are named after Shakespearean characters.

William Shakespeare Facts: 29

‘William Shakespeare’ is an anagram of ‘I am a weakish speller’.

William Shakespeare Facts: 30

Shakespeare’s original grave marker showed him holding a bag of grain. Citizens of Stratford replaced the bag with a quill in 1747.

 

Read to the bottom and still in need of unusual Shakespeare facts? Check out our list of 23 things you never knew about Shakespeare. If these William Shakespeare facts aren’t enough for you to understand the Bard and his life, check out our complete biography of Shakespeare, or this Shakespeare timeline.


85 Responses to Shakespeare Facts: Read Facts About William Shakespeare

Emma says: December 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm

I think these facts are very interesting. A job well done.

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Jennifer says: April 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm

These really helped my daughter for her History Assisignment and I am very proud of you guys for inventing such a helpful website……keep it up you guys!

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matthew philip loughlin says: June 14, 2012 at 11:24 am

this website is so cool .im in english rght now and having a lot of fun learning about this very interesting man….ps love the facts

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Adam says: December 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

These Shakespeare facts became very useful and people have the rights to have an opinion but heyy not so negative.. anywayz great help

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Patricia Strong says: February 10, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Actually the actor who shot Lincoln was the WORST of that lot of actors. Some of the Booths were amazingly good but not John Wilkes. Also he was at odds with the brother who was THE actor.

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Chris Morales says: December 11, 2011 at 1:44 am

Actually, these Shakespeare facts are really boring. I clicked this page hoping to find out something new but the facts are pretty generic and not useful.

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NSS says: December 11, 2011 at 11:04 am

Thanks for reading & commenting Chris. Sorry you’ve not found the facts about Shakespeare too interesting…but as it stands so few facts are known about Shakespeare’s life! That said we seem to be getting the same types of feedback on this page, so will endeavour to dig out some juicy, interesting Shakespeare facts in the very near future!

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Traeton says: January 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Wow… It’s really sad that u guys are arguing about abunch of Shakespeare facts. Can’t u guys just read them and keep your opinions to yourself?

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bardlite says: August 25, 2012 at 12:53 am

Whoever compiled this list says in Fact 12 that “evidence for Shakespeare’s having written the plays is very strong.”

It is customary that such assertions be supported by evidence. Please provide examples of such evidence–even if weak.

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Marion Tiews says: January 25, 2012 at 10:11 am

I was told their would be 30 interesting facts yet there were only 27. What are you tying to pull here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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NSS says: January 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Hi Marion – glad to hear you read through to the end of the “Shakespeare Facts” piece ;) T’was a slight technical glitch that now been fixed – thanks for the spot!

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roy knight says: August 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm

One FACT you have not disclosed or did not know of ,is ,that
W,S s COFFIN is buried in HOLY TRINITY at 3 times the
normal depth I.E 18 FT WHY??? who knows ????

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Rumy says: February 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thanks for your help!!! the facts are really useful-i’m doing ‘little-known facts about Shakespeare’ for my homework n i’d like to thank you because i’ve looked everywhere and havent found anything!
:)

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Jen says: February 20, 2012 at 12:31 am

I have read conflicting reports on how many children Shakespeare actually had. Is it 3 or 8? Thanks for compiling all of this information and having it neatly organized on this page. It has been a tremendous help when trying to write a report on his life.

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LOL says: February 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm

thanks, this really helped me with my english homework !! Great !! dont know why people are saying its boring, its just facts, what more do they want ?? :)

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Christopher says: March 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm

At least two of Uranus’s moons are not named for a Shakespeare character: Umbriel and Belinda. These two are from Alexander Pope’s “Rape of the Lock.” Ariel is a name used in both “Rape of the Lock” and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

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Anna says: March 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Thanks sooo much! This helped me a lot, although some facts are pretty…how can I say it…not worth knowing(?) I only needed 10 facts, so, I fount everything okay. Thanks for posting them.

BTW, what is this font? I like it :)

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Pugalini Yoges says: April 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm

it really helped me with my homkework. very very very useful i will use this site and i recmend u use it 2

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danielle says: April 26, 2012 at 12:58 am

these facts really helped me(: i needed these acts for my report on shakespeare and its due next friday! so thanks for the facts hopefully i get an A im only in 7th grade by the way

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Krsytina Ruiz says: May 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm

These Facts Have Really Helped Me With My Project That I Have To Do For English . I Have Gotten An ‘ A ‘ On My Paper And Just Wanted To Come Back And Say Thanks . ^o^ :)

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shaida jahan says: May 17, 2012 at 7:12 am

important and interesting facts are given…..grateful to the admin to make me known all these about Shakespeare…

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naomi says: May 18, 2012 at 7:36 pm

These are really good facts. they really helped me with my homework. i think shakespeare is amazing!!

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Orange Bubble says: June 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Excellent! Just what I need for my end of year project! By the way, could you by any chance add that Shakespeare got in trouble with the law a good few times? I read it somewhere in a book, and it’s definitely not well known! Thanks, O. Bubble.

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pradeep gupta says: June 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

really these facts about Shakespeare are very helpful for my T.G,T exam. all the facts are very interesting

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cool dude 44 says: June 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Hey guys this is all great but i realy need some good facts on romeo and juliet and how W.S related to them , or something like that if anyones got any it would help a LOT !!! thnx !!!:-)

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Nidesha says: June 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Some facts on Romeo & Juliet:

1. Juliet was most likely played by a man, since women were not allowed to act.

2. The play’s full title is The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

3. The play’s first publication in 1597 was unauthorized and incomplete.

4. The publisher’s name was Thomas Creede.

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Angelmcgonnell says: July 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I really liked this website as it helped me with my 10 pages of Shakespeare project I enjoyed reading this because I did not only copy some I learned how he lived and wrote his amazing poems thank you to the people that got this website together…:*

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david says: August 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm

This facts are making the study on shakespeare and his plays really interesting . Thank the team for providing this informations.

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Michelle May says: September 21, 2012 at 4:10 am

Hey Charlie, Read Shakespeare by Another Name by Mark Anderson and all will be revealed. There is no record of Shakespeare having actually written the plays, no scripts, no manuscripts, no evidence that he really went to school (they say he probably did), and only some signatures on legal documents. He was involved with the theaters somehow, but as I said. the reasons for this sloppy scholarship will be revealed. They make stuff up.

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shaunna says: November 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm

very good information !!!!!!!
I used all of that for my homework and it gave me very good feelings about william shakespeare and that i can use that information in other work for tudors!!!! merc i

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selena says: November 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm

i had an essay to hand in and this did give me a lot of facts thanks
but also people r like moaning y cant u just like keep yr opinions 2 yourself ( :

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emran says: November 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

Shakespeare lived to 52. It is known that he was born in April 1564 and that he died on 23rd April 1616. We know that he was baptised on 26th April 1564 and scholars now believe that he was born on April 23rd. He therefore died on his fifty-second birthday, coinciding with St George’s Day. How fitting that the great English writer is so closely identified with the patron saint of England!

Reply
Charlotte Cicco says: December 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm

this really helped me ith my english hw thx alot and think about this fact shakespears love poems were not to his wife but to a mysterous woman knowone knows about

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Jayz says: December 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

This was a great help in my english gsce mock exam and in my others to it really helped me to understand what sort of person Shakespeare is and who his family were. i had no idea that he was a bussinessman or even if he sold propertys it helped alot so thanx…

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Ilovefacts says: December 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I love these facts . it helped me a lot . well i feel so sad for him . well the past is past . could the NSS team at least try putting his achievements ? but the facts are so USEFUL ! THANKS A MILLION :D . could you also make a promotion on fb so i can recommend to my friends ! cd i no who is the creator of this site ?

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samantha says: January 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I had to do 5 unusual facts on Shakespeare for my homework and none of the websites i went on had really good facts on like yours so thanks a lot you have really helped me out!!!

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Jade says: January 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I found this website very usefull and it helped me to get my homework done in a flash. I also found the facts very interesting and a joy to read.
Thank you, No sweat Shakespeare
xxxx

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Morgan says: March 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm

This website is great. I have had two projects based on reniassance artists and an biography and this really helped:)

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alicia says: March 22, 2013 at 8:18 am

this is really great information about William Shakespeare, I have to do this assignment about him and this was the best information I could find. thank u so much for doing this page. from Alicia

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asiamgrowingup says: May 3, 2013 at 4:40 am

Wow! This became very useful, I went to google to find facts about Shakespeare and this is just what I needed! I am already doing Shakespeare and these facts are very helpful to me for my reasearch!!
asiamgrowingup

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K-_- says: May 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

this is a brilliant website and this really helped me with my english h/w. these facts were very good and the last three facts were kind of surprising and AMAZING!.!.!.!

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Niamh says: September 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Thanks a lot to the admin of this page! I had 2 get some unusual facts about Shakespeare and this site really helped! I love the one about the will and also the anagram one is really interesting! Don’t listen to the haters, this page is great!!!!:D

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Sophie says: October 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm

This website saved my life, thank you so much, i had a English Essay and this website helped me so much! Thank you guys!

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Sophie says: October 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm

It was great !!!!!! I’m a 6th grader, from Madrid and it was awesome!!!!!
I’m studying about Shakespeare and at first I wasn’t interested and I didn’t want to do my essay, but when I read this, I’m al of sudden a new fan!!!!!! At first I only knew a few facts, but now I know a hole bunch of them!!’mmThanks a lot you guys!!!!!!!!

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