You probably know of William Shakespeare, but do you truly know about him? Saturday is the 400th anniversary of the death of the famous English playwright, so it’s the perfect time to learn a little about the man behind “Hamlet.”
For example, did you know historians aren’t really sure when Shakespeare was born? They know only that he was baptized April 26, 1564, and that at the time babies generally had such ceremonies about three days after their birthdays. Therefore, the date widely considered to be his birthday is April 23. But it could be wrong.
1. Linguists have translated “Hamlet” into more than 75 languages, including Klingon, which is spoken in the “Star Trek” universe.
2. In Klingon, the famous “to be or not to be” speech reads something like, “taH pagh taHbe’. DaH mu’tlheghvam vIqelnIS. quv’a’, yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu’ je SIQDI’? pagh, Seng bIQ’a’Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI’, ’ej, Suvmo’, rInmoHDI’? Hegh. Qong — Qong neH — ’ej QongDI’, tIq ’oy’, wa’SanID Daw’’e’ je cho’nISbogh porghDaj rInmoHlaH net Har,” according to Memory Alpha.
3. The musical “West Side Story” is based on “Romeo and Juliet.”
4. “The Lion King” is based on “Hamlet.”
5. “She’s the Man” is based on “Twelfth Night.”
6. Shakespeare’s grave is in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. There’s a curse on it, reading: “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.”
7. Shakespeare invented or popularized a number of phrases. Among them are “as good luck would have it,” “brave new world,” “faint-hearted,” “good riddance” and “laughing stock,” according to BBC America.
8. He used the word “love” more than 2,000 times in his work.
9. He used the word “sex” 19 times.
10. And he used the word “butt” 11 times, according to Open Source Shakespeare.
11. Six of Shakespeare’s works involve women secretly dressed as men.
12. Legend has it Shakespeare died of a fever he contracted after drinking with his friends.
13. Shakespeare wed a woman named Anne Hathaway, and she was pregnant when they married.
14. The playwright had three kids: Susanna, Hamnet and Judith.
15. He was right-handed.
16. He had two periods of lost time during his life when researchers aren’t sure what happened, 1578-1582 and 1585-1592, according to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
17. Some theorists believe Christopher Marlowe, a playwright who lived near Shakespeare around the same period, penned at least some of his plays. “Marlowe’s reported death in 1593 was faked as part of an escape into exile, and Marlowe is the author of the plays and poems attributed to Shakespeare,” the International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society’s website has claimed.
18. Shakespeare may have performed as the ghost in Hamlet.
19. His name has been spelled several different ways throughout history, including “Shakspere” and “Shaxberd.”
20. He probably wore a gold earring.