23 April marks the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare, the world-revered English playwright whose influence on the language is still felt today. IBTimes UK looks at some of the most unusual facts about the Bard of Avon:

His will

The only item Shakespeare left to his wife, Anne Hathaway, in his will was the second best bed in the house, along with the bed linen. The will read: "I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture."


The theme of suicide is one of the most common his Shakespearean literature. It occurs 13 times in his 37 plays.

William Arden

One of Shakespeare's relatives, William Arden, a second cousin, was indicted for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed in 1583.

Elizabethan or Jacobean

Although Shakespeare's work is largely considered Elizabethan, the majority of his plays were written after the death of Queen Elizabeth I. James VI of Scotland became James I when he inherited the crown of England in 1603. Therefore, Shakespeare can be considered a Jacobean writer.


The majority of the moons in orbit around the Uranus are named after characters from Shakespeare's plays, including the fairies Oberon and Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream.


Alongside the curse of Macbeth, a poem Shakespeare had inscribed on his tomb in Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, states that anyone who moves his bones will be cursed. His grave had been left untouched since 1747.


Shakespeare is credited with creating several given names, including Miranda, Olivia, Jessica and Cordelia, which remain popular to this day.

Comedy of Errors

In one of Shakespeare's earliest plays, The Comedy of Errors, all of the puns with "err" in them are connected to syphilis. At the time, it was widespread belief that having desire caused someone to burn inside and contract syphilis.


Two of Shakespeare's plays have been translated into Klingon, the fictional language created for the Star Trek series. Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet have been painstakingly translated into the fantasy lingo - for diehard fans only.

Unknown plays

There is evidence that some of Shakespeare's plays have been lost to history. The History of Cardenio, often referred to as merely Cardenio, is known to have been performed by the King's Men, a London theatre company, in 1613.