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Shakespeare's Death: The 400 Year Anniversary

In April 1616, at the age of 52, William Shakespeare died. While the exact date is not completely certain, it is often recorded traditionally as April 23rd, the date which now marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

To mark the occasion, why not visit one of Devon Air Ambulance’s charity shops and see if you can unearth a Shakespearean classic? Alternatively, if you’ve got an old book (or even a DVD) lying around, you can always pass on some words of wisdom by donating it to your local shop. Shakespeare might be dead, but his words live on!

Shakespeare’s life and works

Even today, the precise cause of Shakespeare’s death is unknown, and it is likely to remain a mystery. With so many diseases still rampant back in the 17th century, from plague to typhus, there are numerous possible causes. Regardless of the cause, Shakespeare actually lived for a relatively long time, with the average life expectancy at around 35 years old for people living in London. Compared to the mysteries of his birth and death, it is much less debatable that Shakespeare was one of the best writers in documented history.

Leaving behind a legacy of plays and poems, his life is certainly one we should be celebrating, even if we know little about the man behind the quill.

Some of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays include Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth, but his less famous work should not be undervalued or ignored. Even 400 years later, his plays are performed more often than those of any other playwright, and have been translated into every major modern language.

So, how do we suggest you mark the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death? Read some of his plays or poems! While a lot of the language now seems unfamiliar, it is surprising how many of his plays are still relevant to contemporary society. It’s no coincidence that the work of Shakespeare is still so widespread and popular today.

While you’re exploring Shakespeare, why not discover some other classics? We have a wonderful selection of books in our charity shops throughout Devon, and – if you’re lucky - you might even find a hidden gem. With so much choice, you can truly celebrate the beauty of literature and the English language. Even better, you can do so while supporting a great cause in your community!

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