Shakespeare is a man of duality- actor and playwright, historian and creative writer, master of poet and prose. It is therefore fitting that this listing of the other aspects of the Stratfordian’s straddling nature top our charts at Number One.
Although Shakespeare is the quintessential Elizabethan poet, it is necessary to remember the bulk of his work occurred in the Jacobean era, thus making him master of two separate eras of classic English Literature.
Shakespeare has the remarkable distinction of being a playwright with two significant birthdays thanks to his birth before the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar. By the old Julian calendar, Shakespeare was born April 23, St. George’s Day. The Gregorian calendar turns his birthday to May 3, World Press Freedom day. Each is a fitting celebration for England’s greatest writer.
Shakespeare is widely regarded as the master of the sonnet, the quintessential love poem. Ever the iconoclast, his most memorable sonnets are ironic and depart from the high romantic ideal typifying the form.
2035 words were first recorded by William Shakespeare, not necessarily proof he invented them, but certainly mastered them, including frugal, crucial and assassination. This is a stunning achievement of innovation from a man who is regarded as creator of iconic themes and subject matter.
Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, is also a figure of duality. She is recorded as having two spellings of her name, Hathaway and Whateley, the second appearing on a marriage licence Shakespeare applied for in November. There is also some uncertainty as to her age- her tombstone records her as being aged sixty seven, but the contemporary engravings for number one and seven were extremely similar. This therefore casts doubt as to whether she was two years or six years older than her husband.
A fascinating set of layers has Shakespeare 🙂