Today is the 392nd anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on April 23, 1616. April 23 may also be his birthday, but no one knows for sure. We do know he was christened on April 26, 1564.
In any case, the bard seemed like a good topic for today’s blog. After all, he was one of the most influential writers of all time, though not much is known about his personal life. He was very prolific and is credited with having written 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and a few other poems.
About 150 years after his death, some people began to doubt that his works were really written by a more learned man. Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, were all suggested, but as they were all dead… Scholars dismiss these doubts, though speculation continues. I guess we’ll never know.
Shakespeare has probably given us more famous quotes and common sayings than any other writer. Here are a few that should seem familiar.
“This above all: to thine own self be true”. – Hamlet (Act I, Scene III).
“All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts” – As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII).
“Can one desire too much of a good thing?”. – As You Like It (Act IV, Scene I)
“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”. – The Merchant of Venice (Act I, Scene III).
“He hath eaten me out of house and home”. – King Henry IV, Part II (Act II, Scene I).
“The better part of valour is discretion”. – King Henry IV, Part I (Act V, Scene IV).
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. – King Henry the Sixth, Part II (Act IV, Scene II).
“But, for my own part, it was Greek to me”. – Julius Caesar (Act I, Scene II).
“Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.” – Julius Caesar (Act II, Scene II).
“I bear a charmed life”. – Macbeth (Act V, Scene VIII).
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” – Macbeth (Act V, Scene I).
“I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at”. – Othello (Act I, Scene I).
“I have not slept one wink.”. – Cymbeline (Act III, Scene III).
“My salad days, when I was green in judgment.” – Antony and Cleopatra (Act I, Scene V).
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep”. – The Tempest
“The course of true love never did run smooth”. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act I, Scene I).
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind”. – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act I, Scene I).
For more on Shakespeare’s life and words, here are some links: