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At Liberty University

11 Things You Might Not Know About Shakespeare

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And why the Bard just might be cooler than you.

A couple of weeks ago, Henry V opened at Liberty University, and I was privileged to be a part of it. If you know me, you know I love Shakespeare. But what I find the most interesting are the little things that most people don't know about the famed Bard. So here are 11 facts you might not know about William Shakespeare.

1. He died on his birthday.

Shakespeare and Mark Twain

April 23rd. Pretty odd. The only other writer to have done this was Mark Twain, but comparing Twain and Shakespeare is like comparing a peanut butter to a fine wine. You love them both, but you don't dare put them together.

2. He added over 1,700 words to the English language.

Shakespeare's Words

No one knew English better than Shakespeare, because he practically formed it. They always say if you want to change the world...be a writer.

3. Swagger was one of these words.

Cool Shakespeare

I bet you'll think twice before you call Shakespeare an out-of-date writer. Bro, he invented swagger.

4. He was married to Anne Hathaway.

Anne and Will

Not that one though. His Anne Hathaway would probably be a lot older looking. And yet, in the movie Shakespeare In Love, they cast Gwyneth Paltrow as his love interest. Waste of a good joke.

5. He originated the "Yo Mama" joke.

Burnnnn

Here is a sample from Titus Andronicus:

Chiron: "Thou hast undone our mother."
Aaron: "Villain, I have done thy mother."

Shakespeare getting petty.

6. He never spelled his own name correctly.

Austin Powers Meme

There are only six signatures of his in existence and apparently, he either didn't know how to spell his own name or he was changing it all the time. From "Willm Shackper" to "Wm Shakspea" to even "William Shackspere." I don't think we'll ever know.

7. He wrote a warning on his own epitaph.


Shakespeare's Grave

"Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones."

8. He had a son named Hamnet.

Alas, Poor Yorick

Hamnet died very young, and Hamlet was written shortly after. Most people think his best work is a dedication.

9. He never went to college.

Tracy Morgan Astounded

You can change the world without paying an arm and a leg. Makes you think.

10. He coined some famous phrases too.

Shakespeare's Phrases

"Laughing stock," "For goodness' sake," "Heart of Gold," "Into thin air," and more.

11. He also told the first "knock knock" joke.


knock knock

And you thought Macbeth was all about witches and death. Don't worry, at least we still have the chicken crossing the road jokes.

So there you are! These are only a few of the many facts surrounding the legend, but now you can say without a shadow of a doubt that Wm Shakspea is more hip than you. After all, he probably created that word too.

Matthew Brandon, founder of What's Your Story?. Addicted to any form of storytelling including writing songs, poems, novels, reading books, and watching movies.
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