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April 23

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare is credited with introducing more than 2,000 words and phrases such as "laughingstock," "foul-mouthed," and "knock-knock." Can you imagine a world without knock-knock jokes?

Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-123317.

1564: All the World’s His Stage
William Shakespeare is born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England
The most famous playwright the world has ever seen, William Shakespeare created unforgettable characters and stories in language so rich that the words move “trippingly on the tongue” (at least that’s how Hamlet put it).

His tragedies, such as King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth; comedies like Twelfth Night and As You Like It; and history plays, such as Henry V, thrive centuries later in part because they are filled with characters who make the same kinds of choices and face the same kinds of problems people everywhere do: broken hearts, office politics, family stuff.

Shakespeare’s 37 plays and 154 sonnets, basically a love poem, are really fun to read aloud. That’s because Shakespeare worked puns, jokes, and insults right into the text. Strangely, little is known about Shakespeare’s life.
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