Shakespeare 450

by | May 5, 2014

The fanfare and celebrations that marked William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday on April 23 contradict the famous lines in Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar:

The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones;

Oxford Dictionaries blog marked Shakespeare’s 450th birthday with a quiz: “How well do you know Shakespeare’s plays?

It’s become a bit of a tradition at OxfordWords to set you quizzes about Shakespeare, and it’s a fitting celebration of his 450th birthday to do so again. In the past we’ve asked you to find out how Shakespearean you are, and whether you can spot the difference between Shakespeare and the Bible. We’ll go a bit easier on you this year, and simply want you to answer these questions related to some of Shakespeare’s most famous lines…

Despite how well you did on the quizzes, there is always something new to learn about Shakespeare:


On Friday, May 16, [CFI Toronto] will be hosting a talk by Dan Falk, author of  The Science of Shakespeare: a New Look at the Playwright’s Universe. . . .

The book explores the connections between Shakespeare’s novel observations of human nature and the larger scientific revolution that was just then getting underway. Falk argues that the legendary playwright was well aware of the changes in the air, and that he played an important and overlooked role in ushering in a more “modern” way of thinking.

You can purchase your tickets and contact the event organizer at the Science of Shakespeare Eventbrite site.

3 thoughts on “Shakespeare 450

  1. Corwin

    By total coincidence, I came across this today. Shakespeare works in any context, I suppose – although I can’t help thinking that this might also be true of many other writers. What’s wrong with a little Ben Jonson or Christopher Marlowe? Shakespeare may be more overwhelmingly iconic than is really healthy.

    The Science of Shakespeare book sounds a touch Whiggish, portraying Shakespeare as a stepping stone to modernity (whatever that is) rather than a unique voice from his own time, but it also sounds interesting.

  2. Tim Underwood

    According to John Hudson, on the Internet, Shakespeare was written by Emilia Bassano. I find this comforting because I always heard a female voice whenever I heard Shakespeare being read. Some of my former literature professors explained this female voice as Shakespeare’s alleged bisexual personality. Not being an expert on bi personality types I accepted this explanation. Dr. Faustus, in Marlowe’s play, certainly has the vainglorious male personality going for it. The doctor is my favorite play from this period. A modern cartoon copy, of this foolish magic enthusiast, was portrayed by Mickey Mouse in the feature movie, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Mickey is less vainglorious and more adorable when portraying this character. Naturally.

    The only time I truly enjoyed Shakespeare was when it was being portrayed by Wayne and Schuster. I seem to enjoy Shakespeare more when parodied than when played as a tragedy.

    In any case, I am thankful for her contributions to the language that was passed down to us.


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