Q:

How did Shakespeare get his nickname "the Bard"?

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Quick Answer

Bard is a medieval Gaelic word for a specific class of poet that evolved to mean any epic storyteller. Shakespeare was originally known as the Bard of Avon, for his birthplace. Today he is known as the Bard because he is considered the greatest storyteller of all time.

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Full Answer

Little is known about William Shakespeare's early life, but it is likely that he did not earn his nickname until after death. In his time, Shakespeare was considered a less popular playwright than his peers Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson. But seven years after his death, two of his friends published the First Folio, which was the original anthology of his plays. This began to make Shakespeare's work the most well-known and easily reproduced. He eventually came to be known as the Bard of Avon because he was born in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare's popularity increased with the expansion of the British Empire. His plays became synonymous with the English language, and his importance to British culture grew exponentially. David Garrick, a highly popular actor in the eighteenth century, was a devoted fan of Shakespeare. He is credited with inspiring the first major wave of Shakespeare mania. By the time the Royal Shakespeare Company was founded in 1875, Shakespeare was officially known as the Bard.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did William Shakespeare do?

    A:

    William Shakespeare wrote two narrative poems, 38 plays and 154 sonnets during his lifetime and is often considered the greatest English-language dramatist, poet and writer. He was also an actor in both his own plays and those of others. He partially owned the Lord Chamberlain's Men, an acting company later called the "King's Men." "Romeo and Juliet" and "Hamlet" are two of his best-known plays.

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  • Q:

    What is Shakespeare's style of writing?

    A:

    Shakespeare's style of writing was principally "blank verse," a form of unrhymed iambic pentameter. Like much Elizabethan literature, his plays were typically replete with figurative language and rhetoric.

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  • Q:

    Why did Shakespeare become a writer?

    A:

    There is no consensus on why William Shakespeare became a writer. He initially started as an actor but eventually began writing his own plays and poems. Some scholars and historians suggest he started writing to make money.

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  • Q:

    What were Shakespeare's occupations?

    A:

    In addition to being an actor, playwright, and entrepreneur, it is thought that Shakespeare may have also worked as a horse attendant and assistant schoolmaster. There are several years of Shakespeare's life for which there is no existing account, and scholars merely speculate on his occupation during those years, notes Biograph.com.

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