April 23 - Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare

 Posted on April 23, 2022

This is an update of my post published on April 23, 2011:

Actually, nobody is sure exactly what day Shakespeare was born. I guess his parents didn't realize how famous he was going to be—because the only date we have in writing is his baptism date, April 26, 1564.

Still, it's traditional to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday on April 23, which is St. George's Day and is also the date that he died (at age 52, in 1616).

You probably already know that many people consider Shakespeare to be the greatest writer in the English language and the greatest playwright in ANY language. The things he wrote (a few with other authors) include 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems.

To celebrate the day, read a sonnet or two, or watch a movie version of one of Shakespeare's plays. How about A Midsummer Night's Dream (released in 1999, rated PG-13), Much Ado About Nothing (released in 1993, rated PG-13), or Romeo and Juliet (released in 1996, rated PG-13)? Note that all Shakespeare plays (and therefore movies based on those plays) have some measure of adult content, so check out parent advisories!

Check out this list of words and phrases originated or at least popularized by Shakespeare. Even people like me who aren't super excited about the plots of Shakespeare's plays can admire his way with words - including his habit of creating new words by stretching nouns into verbs or adjectives or converting adjectives into adverbs, by combining two already-existing words into one, and by inventing words that really ought to exist.

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