Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Monday, April 21, 2014

S is for Shakespeare, who was born in April

They aren't really sure when William Shakespeare was born. He was baptized on April 26th in 1564, which makes next Saturday his birthday. It is known that he also died in April (April 23, 1616, which made him a man whose life spanned two centuries). That death date, 1616, sounds like a long time ago, but it was actually the 17th century, which somehow does not seem so distant. In his last play, The Tempest, there are references to the place that will become North America ("O Brave New World") and and the preiod known as the Renaissance was already coming to an end. (I was always taught that it ended around 1637.)

Here are some things they already knew in Shakespeare's time:

The earth revolves around the sun (1543)

the earth has a magnetic field (1600)

Galileo was already making detailed astronomical observations although he had not yet formuulated the law of falling bodies.  Johannes Kepler had discovered the first two laws of planetary motion. Shakespeare would have been aware of these studies in the same way that an educated person today is aware of important scientific discoveries. His plays are full of poetic references to stars and one speech from Romeo & Juliet is considered a test of how well an actor can handle the playwright's language.

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

So Happy Birthday Will!

The illustration is from the Wiki quotes site. Don't know who created it, but it tickles me. Shakespeare would have fit right into the 21st century.


  1. Love the master of language! New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge, and I look forward to visiting again.


  2. Hi Sylvia--Thanks for stopping by! We're clearly kindred spirits in our love for the Bard.