Stratford and the language of Shakespeare – part 1 – the answers

A portrait of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

The text of part 1 of this article contained four words that, according to scholars, were invented by Shakespeare. Did you spot any of them? Don’t worry, here are the answers.


  1. Stratford is famous because it is the birthplace of the writer William Shakespeare.

birthplace comes from Shakespeare’s play Coriolanus.

In Act 4, Scene 4, Coriolanus says this about Rome:

My birthplace hate I, and my love’s upon

This enemy town.


  1. This year there have been countless festivals and events in Stratford and around the world to commemorate this date.

Shakespeare used countless several times. Here’s an example from Pericles Act 1 Scene 1:

… But O you powers

That give heaven countless eyes to view men’s acts,


  1. Many people also wanted to see a performance of one of Shakespeare’s plays. However, they thought that they would be perplexed by the language. They were worried that they would not understand.

perplexed appears in lots of Shakespeare’s plays. In King John Act 3 Scene 1, King Philip of France says:

I am perplexed, and know not what to say.


  1. However, the students worries were usually baseless.

Prospero uses baseless in his famous speech near the end of The Tempest (Act 4 Scene 1):

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits, and

Are melted into air, into thin air;

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on; and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.


In the next part of Stratford and the language of Shakespeare, I will take you on a virtual tour of Stratford upon Avon and show you some phrases from Shakespeare’s plays that have become modern English idioms.

by Barney

All the links in this article are to the very fine website Shakespeare’s Words by David and Ben Crystal.

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