17 Shakespeare Facts You Can Use In English Paper 2

17 Shakespeare Facts You Can Use In English Paper 2

The name William Shakespeare sent fear up our spines back in the day. The thoughts of answering a question about theme, conflict or your point of view about a language you couldn't really make heads or tails was difficult enough without trying to learn side information about Shakespeare his plays and sonnets.

The CT staff know how handy facts were to us during the JC or LC to help us discuss Shakespeare or give us extra waffle to play with when we wrote our answer. Here are 17 Shakespeare facts you can use during your English Paper 2 exam:

1.Shakespeare was also an actor who performed many of his own plays as well as those of other playwrights. There is evidence that he played the ghost in Hamlet and Adam in As You Like It.

2. Macbeth is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy.

3. Scholars have debated whether or not Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him. Evidence to suggest that he wrote each play is strong although Shakespeare did collaborate with a number of other writers.

4. Suicide happens 13 times in Shakespeare’s plays. Three suicides occurring in both Antony & Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, and two suicides in Romeo and Juliet.


5. Shakespeare would have wrote most of his work during the day as candles were very expensive in Shakespeare’s time.

6. The English language spoken during Shakespeare's time is considered "Early Modern" English and is the most similar to the modern English we use now.

7. The Elizabethan Era took place from 1558 to 1603 and is considered by many historians to be the golden age in English History.  The time period is named after Queen Elizabeth I who ruled England during this time. Shakespeare flourished during this time as Elizabeth loved the arts.

8. Queen Elizabeth was a Protestant who was constantly in danger of being assassinated by Catholics to replace her with Mary Queen of Scots.

9. Women could not perform the female parts of Shakespeare's plays during his lifetime. Boys would perform both genders. Plays that highlight this issue include Hamlet and Antony and Cleopatra.


10. Margaret Hughes is considered the first professional stage actress and her first role was Desdemona in Shakespeare's Othello in 1660.

11. William Shakespeare is an anagram of ‘I am a weakish speller’.

12. Shakespeare's play Hamlet is the second most filmed story in the world after Cinderella.

13. Shakespeare may have been inspired to write Hamlet after the death of his only son in 1596. His son’s name was Hamnet and he was 11 years old at the time of his death.

14. Actors only ever mention Shakespeare’s Macbeth as “the Scottish play” as it is said to be bad luck to mention the name in a theatre.  Some have suggested Shakespeare cursed the play after learning that Kings James VI didn’t enjoy it and others say there was an accidental death during one early performance.

15. The word Othello means wealth.

16. Interracial marriage, the central struggle and theme of Shakespeare's Othello,  was not addressed again in mainstream entertainment until 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

17. Shakespeare's King Lear contains the earliest known reference to the phrase ‘football player’.

Also Read: Mindblowingly Simple Study Hacks That Will Help You Prepare For Your Exams

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Garret Farrell

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