Stratford-upon-Avon – the world’s stage

As one steps into the memorial at Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, one’s gaze is drawn to a statue of the bard. Just below it, an engraving captures one of his most poignant quotes from Macbeth.
Shakespeare's house
Shakespeare's house
Shakespeare stratford entry
Shakespeare stratford entry

 #Ajayan

 "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more.”

As one steps into the memorial at Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, one’s gaze is drawn to a statue of the bard. Just below it, an engraving captures one of his most poignant quotes from Macbeth. In Act V, Scene 5, upon learning of his wife’s tragic end, Macbeth laments further and the lines that follow have become more famous: “It’s a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” - resonating the chaotic tempest of life.

Baptism and Burial entries
Baptism and Burial entries

Every day, a vast throng of admirers from all corners of the globe converges to catch a glimpse of the house where the bard lived and crafted his immortal works, say local people. This historic home of the bard was acquired and restored by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which preserves the treasured site and guides the countless visitors, offering them a journey through the life and times of the legendary playwright.

Encircling the Shakespeare's statue on the serene banks of the swan-dotted Avon River stand four iconic figures from his plays—Falstaff, Lady Macbeth, Hamlet, and Prince Hal—designed and placed in 1888. These bronze statues draw countless visitors, who eagerly pose beside these timeless characters, capturing their moment of connection with the great past.

A few minutes' stroll along winding, tourist-filled streets brings one to the brick and timbered house where the great playwright was born. Entry to this historic abode is ticketed. Inside, the house offers a recreation of Shakespeare's era, with furnishings that whisper tales of the past. A glass window bears the signatures of notable visitors, among them Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, Walter Scott and John Keats, to name a few. The house also features the workshop of Shakespeare's father who was engaged in glove-making.

As evening descended, the atmosphere transformed into a lively spectacle, illuminated by the lingering brightness of a summer day. Some reveled in a picnic atmosphere, while others embarked on leisurely boat rides along the Avon. Many sought to capture the essence of a rich literary past, immortalized in the land of the all-time great playwright.

Hamlet
Hamlet

Incidentally, what a visitor will miss is the First Folio of Shakespeare’s works which were on display till recently at the house as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations.

It is recorded that after the Shakespeare family line ended and the last of the owners passed away in 1846, the house was put up for sale. American showman PT Barnum proposed purchasing the house and transporting it, brick by brick, to the US. However, an Act of Parliament intervened, establishing the trust that would preserve this historic treasure. With the help of generous donors, including Charles Dickens, the house was purchased for 3,000 pounds and today, it stands as a timeless testament to a glorious past.

Lady Macbeth figure
Lady Macbeth figure

A leisurely stroll along the banks of the Avon leads to the Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was both baptized and buried. Inside, visitors can view copies of the register entries marking his baptism in 1564 and his burial in 1616, alongside the original font where he was christened. Not only the playwright, but also his wife Anne and other family members, rest within this sacred space.

Beside the chancel where he was buried is the epithet: “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, to dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, and cursed be he that moves my bones."

Affluent in the market town, Shakespeare had secured these burial slots within the church, a structure that has stood since 1210. On display is a chained Bible, believed to have been read from during Shakespeare's time, and a bust of the bard, erected by his wife in 1623, graces the wall.

Shakespeare's bust donated by his wife
Shakespeare's bust donated by his wife

In the bustling area marked by a theatre, pubs, eateries and shops brimming with curios, performers abound. Among them, artistes portraying Shakespearean characters, small entertainers and musicians fill the air with melody and fun, all seeking small donations for their livelihood. Near the house, some don costumes of the bard’s iconic characters, with modest collection boxes placed before them, inviting contributions. A particularly enchanting sight was that of a newlywed couple, fresh from their church ceremony, pausing to capture a moment near Shakespeare’s house, adding to the vibrant tapestry of life that surrounds this historic locale.

Shakespeares grave
Shakespeares grave
Swans on Avon
Swans on Avon

It is recorded that after the Shakespeare family line ended and the last of the owners passed away in 1846, the house was put up for sale. American showman PT Barnum proposed purchasing the house and transporting it, brick by brick, to the US. However, an Act of Parliament intervened, establishing the trust that would preserve this historic treasure. With the help of generous donors, including Charles Dickens, the house was purchased for 3,000 pounds and today, it stands as a timeless testament to a glorious past.

A leisurely stroll along the banks of the Avon leads to the Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was both baptized and buried. Inside, visitors can view copies of the register entries marking his baptism in 1564 and his burial in 1616, alongside the original font where he was christened. Not only the playwright, but also his wife Anne and other family members, rest within this sacred space.

Beside the chancel where he was buried is the epithet: “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, to dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, and cursed be he that moves my bones."

Affluent in the market town, Shakespeare had secured these burial slots within the church, a structure that has stood since 1210. On display is a chained Bible, believed to have been read from during Shakespeare's time, and a bust of the bard, erected by his wife in 1623, graces the wall.

In the bustling area marked by a theatre, pubs, eateries and shops brimming with curios, performers abound. Among them, artistes portraying Shakespearean characters, small entertainers and musicians fill the air with melody and fun, all seeking small donations for their livelihood. Near the house, some don costumes of the bard’s iconic characters, with modest collection boxes placed before them, inviting contributions. A particularly enchanting sight was that of a newlywed couple, fresh from their church ceremony, pausing to capture a moment near Shakespeare’s house, adding to the vibrant tapestry of life that surrounds this historic locale.

As evening descended, the atmosphere transformed into a lively spectacle, illuminated by the lingering brightness of a summer day. Some reveled in a picnic atmosphere, while others embarked on leisurely boat rides along the Avon. Many sought to capture the essence of a rich literary past, immortalized in the land of the all-time great playwright.

The author beside the figure of Falstaff at the entrance
The author beside the figure of Falstaff at the entrance

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