Trivia

by Julian D.

This chapter is a free excerpt from Biography of William Shakespeare.

  • His plays have been adapted into movies at least 420 times, more than any other writer.

  • Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play, at 4,042 lines, and an unabridged duration (without intervals) of at least four-and-a-half hours.


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  • His plays have been adapted into movies at least 420 times, more than any other writer.

  • Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play, at 4,042 lines, and an unabridged duration (without intervals) of at least four-and-a-half hours.

  • A Comedy Of Errors is his shortest play, with only 1,787 lines.

  • The First Folio, the first complete edition of his plays, cost £1 on publication, equivalent to several hundred dollars today.

  • The last time one of the surviving First Folios was sold, in 2006, it went for five million dollars.

  • A ticket for the yard (standing) at Shakespeare's Globe cost one penny, about $2 today. The Globe replica sells these tickets for £5 – not much of an increase in real terms.

  • Shakespeare has been translated into at least 80 languages.

  • Shakespeare's complete works add up to 884,647 words, or 118,406 lines.

  • Playhouses in Shakespeare's time often doubled as bearpits for bear-baiting. This involved dogs being set on a bear, with the audience usually betting on the outcome. One particularly gruesome variation was putting a chimpanzee on horseback, and setting dogs on them. It is quite hard to imagine how this could happen in a playhouse one day, and then some sublime tragedy that moved the audience to tears could be on the next day.

  • There were no toilets in Elizabethan theaters.

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