Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23 in Literary History

April 23 is one of the most important days in literary history. April 23 is the date William

Shakespeare was born and the date he died.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford on Avon in 1564. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and had three children with her...Susanna, Hamnet and Judith.

No one really knows what Shakespeare looked like or much about his philosophical or religious beliefs, but there are few that deny him the title of "greatest writer in the English language" and few that dispute his enormous influence on our society.

In all, the bard is credited with writing 38 plays and 154 sonnets. But what impresses me the most about Shakespeare’s words is that they are quoted more than any others except for the Bible.

Below are some of the more famous Shakespearean quotes…

  1. All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players:
  2. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
  3. Brevity is the soul of wit.
  4. Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
  5. "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet."
  6. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves"
  7. "Nothing can come of nothing…"
  8. A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!
  9. Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods,
    Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds;
  10. Sweets to the sweet, farewell!

This is perhaps the most famous speech in dramatic history...Hamlet's "To Be or Not To Be" soliloquy. In this video Laurence Olivier plays Hamlet.

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