24 Questions About William Shakespeare

1. How is Shakespeare still relevant today?
His work is still significantly relevant today because the characters are relatable, works from long ago can still be relevant, and talking about the plays could make for an interesting conversation. First, His work is still relevant today because we can relate to the characters.

2. How old was Shakespeare when he wrote his first play?
Most academics agree that William wrote his first play, Henry VI, Part One around 1589 to 1590 when he would have been roughly 25 years old. The Bard is believed to have started writing the first of his 154 sonnets in 1593 at age 29. His first sonnet was Venus and Adonis published in the same year.

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3. How many words did Shakespeare make up?
The English language owes a great debt to him. He invented over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.

4. What was unique about His writing?
He used a metrical pattern consisting of lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter, called blank verse. His plays were composed using blank verse, although there are passages in all the plays that deviate from the norm and are composed of other forms of poetry and/or simple prose.

5. What are the three different types of plays that Shakespeare wrote?
Of the three types of plays recognized in the First Folio — Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies — the last has been the most discussed and is clearest in outline. Tragedy must end in some tremendous catastrophe involving in Elizabethan practice the death of the principal character.

6. Who said that Shakespeare was not of an age but for all time?
These words of praise, probably the most famous ever written about him, were penned by His good friend and fellow writer, Ben Jonson.

7. Which was His first play?
He is believed by most academics to have written his very first play, Henry VI, Part One in this year. 1590-91. Shakespeare is again believed to have written Henry VI, Part Two and Henry VI, Part III. 1592.

8. Underrated Shakespeare Plays
King John. This is one of the Bard’s least-performed plays, although it was popular with the Victorians because of its pageantry and medieval pomp.
• Cymbeline.
• Henry VI Part 2.
• Coriolanus.
• Timon of Athens.
• Love’s Labour’s Lost.
• All’s Well That Ends Well.
• Troilus and Cressida.

9. How did Shakespeare die?
The cause of His death is a mystery, but an entry in the diary of John Ward, the vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford (where Shakespeare is buried), tells us that “Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted.”

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10. What are five words that Shakespeare created?
Here are some examples of words:
• Addiction: Othello, Act II, Scene II.
• Arch-villain: Timon of Athens, Act V, Scene I.
• Assassination: Macbeth, Act I, Scene VII.
• Bedazzled: The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, Scene V.
• Belongings: Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene I.

11. How many words did Shakespeare write?
According to Marvin Spevack’s concordances, His complete works consist of 884,647 words and 118,406 lines.

12. What did Shakespeare leave in his will to his wife Anne Hathaway?
He famously left his wife, Anne Hathaway, his ‘second best bed’. It was also the bed that would be offered to staying guests, so the ‘second best bed’ referenced in His Will is likely to have been the one that he and Anne shared as man and wife.

13. How many plays did William Shakespeare write in total?
For now at least, it is still safe to say he did indeed write the 37 plays and 154 sonnets credited to him. Yes, so much so that in 1597, he bought one of the most prestigious properties in all of Stratford, The New Place.

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14. How many words are there in the English vocabulary?
The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries.

15. What inspired Shakespeare to become a writer?
He undoubtedly admired Chaucer works immensely, for he uses several of Chaucer’s poems as sources of his plays. Troilus and Criseyde was the primary source of Troilus and Cressida, and the Parliament of Fowles was a source of Mercutio’s “Queen Mab” speech in Romeo and Juliet.

16. What is the language used by Shakespeare?
By about 1450, Middle English was replaced with Early Modern English, the language of Shakespeare, which is almost identical to contemporary English.

17. What is the genre of Shakespeare?
His plays are typically divided into three categories: comedy, tragedy, and history. His tragedy and history plays tend to be his longest. His comedies are also referred to as romances, or romantic comedies.

18. What did Shakespeare base his plays off of?
Between about 1590 and 1613, He wrote at least 37 plays and collaborated on several more. His 17 comedies include The Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing. Among his 10 history plays are Henry V and Richard III. The most famous among his tragedies are Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth.

19. How old was Shakespeare when he wrote his first book?
Most academics agree that William wrote his first play, Henry VI, Part One around 1589 to 1590 when he would have been roughly 25 years old. The Bard is believed to have started writing the first of his 154 sonnets in 1593 at age 29. His first sonnet was Venus and Adonis published in the same year.

20. What is the longest of His plays?
The average length of a play in Elizabethan England was 3000 lines. With 4,042 lines and 29,551 words, Hamlet is the longest Shakespearean play (based on the first edition of The Riverside Shakespeare, 1974).

21. What does it say on His grave?
“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.” It’s thought that the warning was penned by Shakespeare himself.

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22. What is William Shakespeare most famous for?
Many people believe he is the best British writer of all time. His many works are about life, love, death, revenge, grief, jealousy, murder, magic and mystery. He wrote the blockbuster plays of his day – some of his most famous are Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet.

23. What is His most famous piece of work?
Some of the more popular pieces of Shakespearian writing, which may be studied in school or university, include the likes of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear.

24. What inspired William Shakespeare to write Hamlet?
Some believe the 1596 death from an unknown illness of His 11-year-old son—the intriguingly named Hamnet—prompted the dark tone in the playwright’s later works. Other scholars think that the death of His father in 1601—the same year he wrote Hamlet—inspired his exploration of a grieving son.