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Crazy Literary Facts: Shakespearean Ghosts and Suicides

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

Crazy Literary Facts: Shakespearean Ghosts and Suicides

There are certain things about Shakespeare's plays that are just assumed to be facts when in fact they are not. This is usually because a number of his better known plays have certain things in common as opposed to his other plays.

For example, everyone assumes that there are ghosts in almost every play he wrote, but in the 37 known plays he wrote, ghosts (as in the spirits of the dead--as opposed to apparitions) appear in just four: Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Ceasar and Richard the Third.

Suicide, however, occurs an unlucky thirteen times in his plays--and three plays contain multiple suicides: three in Antony and Cleopatra, another three in Julius Ceasar, and two in Romeo and Juliet.