”Ay, but to die, and to go we know not where”
Today, it´s 399 years the man who put those words on paper died. As so many other things around the great bard William Shakespeare, there are uncertainties and speculations as to what caused his death, as it apparently was very sudden. But he was 52 years old, and in a time when plague, syphilis, typhus, scurvy, tuberculosis, smallpox, malaria, dysentery and even toothaches made the average Londoner lucky if he made it passed the age of 40, we can conclude that Shakespeare still lived a comparatively long life.
Obvious is also that he will never be completely gone. His legacy consists of (generally accepted) 38 plays, a number that may rise as it´s during the last few years have arisen proof that he most likely also wrote the play Double Falsehood, a play that has earlier been attributer to Lewis Theobald, but which after analysis has shown to have a language and way of writing to it that is consistent with the work of William Shakespeare. He also wrote 154 sonnets and five long narrative poems.
Attempts have been made to “rob” the man from Stratford this gift and the creative work which resulted from it, and attribute it to other individuals, not least to the Earl of Oxford.
The firm standpoint of this blog is however that William Shakespeare was the man who was born in Stratford upon Avon in 1564, and that standpoint will be in place until if and when something else is proved beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt.
The work of Shakespeare has been translated into more than 100 languages, and since 1960 Hamlet has been played in 75 languages, which includes Klingon (!), Esperanto and Interlingua. From 2005 to 2014, there have been seven professional productions of Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations in Arabic. The play Romeo and Juliet has been played in 24 countries over the last 10 years and has been performed in languages which include English, German, Spanish, Korean, French, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, Estonian, Czech, Hebrew, Ukrainian, and Romanian.
The physical body of William Shakespeare may have died on this day, 399 years ago, but his work will live forever.
(As no exact date of birth exist for William Shakespeare, but he was baptized on April 26, it is quite possible he was born around this day as well. More about the bard during the weekend)
Sources: British Council.org
Initial quote: Measure for measure, act III