On this day in 1616, the famous English poet and playwright William Shakespeare passed away on his 52nd birthday. Shakespeare, from Stratford-upon-Avon, became famous for his plays including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and King Lear; he wrote around 38 plays and 154 sonnets. He was married to a woman named Anne Hathaway and had three children. In his will he left most of his estate to his eldest daughter Susanna and to his wife left “my second best bed”. He was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church.
Today, on the 450thS anniversary of his birth, Shakespeare is still considered one of the greatest writers of the English language in history. School children and university students across the globe study his work, and his plays continue to draw huge crowds. Big-name actors still feel most at home performing a Shakespeare play – just take the recent success of David Tennant’s Hamlet and Tom Hiddleston’s Coriolanus.
“Good friend, for Jesus’ sake, forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here;
Blessed be the man that spares these stones
And cursed he that moves my bones.”
– Shakespeare’s epitaph