William Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616. He was 52; not bad at a time when life expectancy was less than 40. None knows how he died, except that one of his relatives claimed he fell ill following a night of binge drinking. The bard, however, had written his epitaph well before. It reads, “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.” The obituary seems to have done the trick and Shakespeare’s tomb lies intact even to this day.
How did a man of his class, who never had a formal education, become one of the most popular writers ever? Shakespeare had exhaustive knowledge about history, international affairs, European capitals and royal courts. May historians suggest that several authors, wanting to conceal their true identity, used William Shakespeare as a front. That include people like Mary Sidney Herbert, Francis Bacon, Edward De Vere, and Christopher Marlowe. Many scholars doubt his hypothesis while others believe most of his plays were co-authored.
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays. Whatever we read today is largely because of the efforts of Henry Condell and John Hemmings, two fellow actors in the bard’s theatre company. They curated Shakespeare’s works as a dedication towards the playwright and published a collection of his plays in 1623. It’s known as the First Folio.
The Bard of Avon was especially fond of suicides. So much so that death by suicide occurs 13 times in all the plays he authored. Historians and scholars argue that Shakespeare was a morbid man having a taste of sardonic humor. These amusing and quirky William Shakespeare facts also lend an insight to the poet’s personality. Tragedy and suicides were perhaps similar to him. Romeo and Juliet, one of the best known Shakespeare tragedies, ends in a suicide.
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