Saturday, April 23, 2016

Shakespeare 400

Today, April 23, marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, and people the world over are celebrating his life and work. Nowhere are the celebrations grander, of course, than in the United Kingdom.
April 23, oddly enough, is also believed to the birthday of the Bard.

Like so many others, I have always been fascinated by Shakespeare, the most famous writer in the English language. He is known, of course, for his sonnets and plays (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Midsummer Night's Dream, etc.). 

I have always marveled at his skills at storytelling and in his use of our language. At the same time, I was curious about Shakespeare - the individual. I wondered what he was like as a child, a young man, as a friend, a husband. What made him tick?
Birthplace of Shakespeare
Thus, more than 25 years ago, I traveled to England and on to Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was born.

Stratford-upon-Avon is a medieval market town in England's West Midlands. Historians tell us Shakespeare was born there in 1564 in a restored 16th-century half-timbered house situated on Henley Street. It was in this house that Shakespeare grew up and wrote some of his earliest work. 

Stratford-upon-Avon is now a shrine to Shakespeare, and going there a passion-filled pilgrimage for his most enthusiastic fans. 

When I was there, I learned a lot about Shakespeare, as well as about the visits by dozens of other celebrated writers, including Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, John Keats and Walter Scott. One can only wonder about their own thoughts and feelings as they walked around in in the footprints of the master.

Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon was fascinating. All lovers of Shakespeare should go, at least once. The memories made there will last a lifetime!

Full Disclosure: I love and admire the works of William Shakespeare so much that I once named a new puppy after him. My Shakespeare, like the man he was named for, was amazingly brilliant too.

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