Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Shakespeare Trivia: Answers from Q & A

Here are the answers to last week’s Shakespeare Trivia Questions. How did you do?

Question 1. In what year was Shakespeare born?

a. 1564 – Christopher Marlowe, another important Elizabethan dramatist was also born in 1564. Marlowe lived until 1593. Shakespeare died in 1616.

Question 2:  Shakespeare was born in what town or city?

b.  Stratford –upon-Avon was not large, but was an important market center in Warwickshire, about 100 miles northwest of London.

Question 3. Shakespeare attended the Stratford Grammar School, also known as the King’s New School:

c. There are no records of his school attendance. A typical grammar school day in Shakespeare’s time started at 7am in winter, 6am in summer; the students worked until 11, took a 2-hour lunch, resumed at 1pm and worked until 5. Forty days vacation per year were allowed. Latin grammar and translation were the main subjects of study.

Question 4. Who did Shakespeare marry?

c.  Anne Hathaway – A marriage licence bond was issued for William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. In Shakespeare’s day a marriage certificate did not exist, and all that was necessary to conclude a marriage was the asking of the banns on three successive Sundays in church and then a ceremony before family and friends. The banns were asked only once for Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway because she was pregnant at the time the bond was issued.

Question 5. Shakespeare was the father of how many children?

a. 3 – Susanna, born in 1583, and the twins Judith and Hamnet, born in 1585. Shakespeare’s only son Hamnet (named after one of Shakespeare’s neighbors, Hamnet Sadler) died at age 11 in 1596.

Question 6. What Elizabethan writer called Shakespeare an “upstart crow”?

d. Yes. Greene (1558-1592) was a minor Elizabethan dramatist (Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay) and novelist (Pandosto). His famous criticism of Shakespeare as an “upstart crow” helps proves that William Shakespeare had become well established in the London theater world by the year 1592.

Question 7. The London theaters were closed on account of a virulent outbreak of the plague in 1593 and part of 1594. Specifically, what disease was this?

c. Bubonic Plague – In Elizabethan times the plague was responsible for closing the theaters and causing thousands of deaths. A bacillus spread by the rat flea may have been its chief cause. During the 14th century it was called the Black Death, and was responsible for the death of one quarter to one third of the population of Europe.

Question 8. Is it possible to say in exactly what order Shakespeare’s plays were written?

b. No one knows the exact order of composition. Scholars can make educated guesses, but there is not enough clear evidence to say exactly in what order they were composed.

Question 9. In 1594 Shakespeare became one of the founding members of what acting company?

a. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men – Acting companies sought the protection and preferment of aristocrats. The Lord Chamberlain in 1594 was Henry, Lord Hunsdon, Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth. Aristocratic patronage could protect players from the city of London authorities, who were usually eager to curtail their activities.

Question 10. Beginning around 1608 Shakespeare wrote 4 plays, Pericles Prince of Tyre, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, often categorized as:

b. Romances – These plays share certain romantic elements not typical of the rest of Shakespeare’s works, and may have been influenced by the staging possiblilities afforded by the Blackfriars indoor theater, in which Shakespeare’s company began to play in 1608.

Extra Credit Answers:

Extra Credit 1: Which fellow actor(s) did Shakespeare remember in his will?

a. Richard Burbage, John Heminges and Henry Condell – Burbage was said to be the greatest tragedian of his time. Heminges and Condell collected and edited Shakespeare’s plays for the First Folio, published in 1623.

Extra Credit 2: To whom did Shakespeare dedicate his long narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece?

d. Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton – Many people identify him as the youth addressed so affectionately in Shakespeare’s Sonnets. The dedication of Venus and Adonis is rather formal, but the one to The Rape of Lucrece is much warmer, attesting a growing friendship between patron and poet. Rowe (Shakespeare’s first formal biographer, 1709) reported that Southampton gave Shakespeare a reward of 1000 pounds for his poetic efforts. This sum seems too enormous by 16th century standards, but some of Shakespeare’s important biographers have thought that he received such a gift.


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