Five Interesting Facts about William Shakespeare


1. Playwrights in Shakespeare’s time struggled hugely with people copying their plays and benefiting due to the lack of any copyright laws. In order to combat this, Shakespeare’s actors would receive their lines during the play. The common practice was for someone backstage to whisper the lines to the actors onstage.

2. Many of his plays have been lost forever. We know for certain that one of these lost plays was called Cardenio, and scholars theorize that he wrote nineteen more that have disappeared.

3. He doesn’t have any direct descendants. He had three children with his wife, Anne Hathaway, Hamnet – who died in 1596 and two daughters, Susanna and Judith. Only Susanna had a child, Elizabeth, who died childless in 1670.

4. Shakespeare was not just a playwright, he considered his primary career to be acting, and also formed a joint-stock company with his actors. Because of this he took a share in the company’s profits, earned fees for his plays, and died a very wealthy man.

5. It was not unusual to move the bones of the dead to make room for others, but Shakespeare’s remains were never disturbed. Perhaps this is because he threatened to put a curse on anyone who moved his body from his grave, with the epitaph:

“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.”