15 Unknown Facts about William Shakespeare

6. Othello inspired by real-life lover?

William Shakespeare Life

Image Credit: Listal

Historians speculate that many of the characters appearing in the bard’s plays were inspired by a few of his real-life lovers. Emilia, a shadowy and dark figure is said to have inspired many of his sonnets. She was a poet in her own right and is credited to have produced some of the earliest known feminist works in English language. Her titles include “Eve’s Apologie in Defence of Women”. She exposed the double standards in society. Many scholars believe that Shakespeare had Emilia in mind while writing the character with the same name in Othello. Emilia undeniably has some of the most feminist lines in the entire works of Shakespeare.

7. None probably spelt his name correctly

William Shakespeare Facts

Image Credit: 1stdibs

Sources from the bard’s lifetime spell his name in at least 80 different ways. These include “Shaxberd” to “Shappere”. Even the poet himself used various abbreviations to sign his manuscripts, including “Willm Shakspere”, “Willm Shakp”, and “William Shakspeare”. It’s not properly known from when he started writing “Shakespeare” has his surname. But Shakespeare is likely to have been derived from the old English word “schakken” which means to brandish, and “speer”, as in spear, probably indicating an argumentative person.

8. The lost years

William Shakespeare Facts

Image Credit: polytechnic

None knows for sure what the bard did during two time periods in his life: 1578-82 and 1585-92. There’s no proper record of his activities. Multiple theories suggest Shakespeare was a school teacher, a clerk, a butcher, and that he even fled to London after a case of deer poaching. It was also about time when dramatist Robert Greene labeled Shakespeare as an “upstart crow”, an indication to the latter’s growing popularity.

9. The savvy businessman

William Shakespeare Facts

Image Credit: Flickr

Besides writing 37 plays that are still popular today, one of the lesser known William Shakespeare facts is that he was a prosperous businessman with several properties. These include a gatehouse in London, acres of farmland and a cottage at Stratford-upon-Avon, and the New Palace. He was also a stakeholder in the Blackfriars and Globe theatre. The latter used to stage most of the William Shakespeare plays.

Also Read: 13 Unknown Facts About Davy Crockett

10. The first instance of familiar terms

William Shakespeare Facts

Image Credit: imgur

Talk of William Shakespeare history and his influence on English literature is paramount. He was the first to introduce several phrases that are widely used today in daily conversation. These include “lacklustre” in As You Like It, “fashionable” in Troilus and Cressida, “foregone conclusion” in Othello, “one fell swoop” in Macbeth, “sanctimonious” in Measure for Measure, “in a pickle” in The Tempest, “wild goose chase” in Romeo and Juliet, and many others. He’s also credited for introducing names like Miranda, Jessica, Olivia, and Cordella.