On April 23, the great playwright William Shakespeare turns 480 years old. Thanks to a good diet and rigorous exercise though, he doesn’t look a day over 390.
We’re all aware of Shakespeare’s beautiful poetry and classic plays, even if we don’t understand a word of what the characters are saying. What we’re less aware of though, is the life story of the man himself. Very little is known for sure, and much of what we think we know is pure speculation. There are a few things we know for sure though, both directly about the man and indirectly related to his work.
Here’s a quick trivia quiz to see how much you know about the world of William Shakespeare.
What Famous Actress of Today Shares Her Name with Shakespeare’s Wife?
We’re guessing she herself is not close to 500 years old, but Anne Hathaway at the very least shares her name with the wife of William Shakespeare. The two married when Anne was 26, and William a spry 18. No details exist as to how happy the marriage is, but they did stay together until William’s death in 1616, so it likely wasn’t particularly hellish.
There are also no confirmed writings that suggest Then-Hathaway looked as good in a catsuit as Now-Hathaway, so we’re just going to assume that not only did she, but she could also rob a bank or jewelry store with the best of them.
What is Significant about Shakespeare’s Epitaph?
You might think Shakespeare’s tombstone would make mention of his family or career (he died rich and famous, after all.) Nope — not only did he write his own epitaph, but he turned it into a curse:
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.
He doesn’t specify exactly what the curse entails, but does it really matter? It’s a curse. Nobody ever gets cursed with tons of money and an active love life. So if you visit the Bard’s grave, hands off. Just in case.
What Planet has Moons Named after Shakespearean Characters?
Most figures in our solar system are named after mythological figures, such as Gods, to make up for the fact that they can’t support life and are therefore big fat celestial losers. With Uranus, however, 24 out of her 27 moons share their names with characters from Shakespeare’s plays, such as Juliet, Ophelia, Puck, and Miranda. No Romeo though, because he was too dumb to check Juliet for a pulse before drinking poison and offing himself. Such carelessness deserves no moon.
Uranus’s remaining three satellites are named after characters from Alexander Pope poems, but it’s not his birthday, so nobody cares about him.
Name the Two Lost Shakespeare Plays That Nobody Has Ever Managed to Unearth?
Shakespeare wrote several dozen plays in his lifetime, but not all of them are known to the public. There are two, in fact, that appear to have been completely lost to history: Cardenio (a possible spin-off of the Don Quixote story) and Love’s Labour’s Won (a possible sequel to Love’s Labour’s Lost.)
Enough bits and pieces of Cardenio have been discovered that some efforts have been made to cobble together something that some people might consider a close-enough version of what the Bard wrote. The same cannot be said for Love’s Labour’s Lost however, which exists as nothing more than a name. For all we know, it was simply a working title for another play, though nobody knows that for sure.
But hey, Shakespeare got paid for both, which is all that really counts.