Although we have no conclusive evidence, scholars think that Shakespeare had a very brief illness that led to his sudden and unexpected death. The great writer had retired to his old town Stratford some years prior to his demise. Shakespeare was still working in 1606; however, the spreading of the bubonic plague had caused long spells of closure of theatres. This meant that work was scarce. However, the bard was reportedly visiting London until 1612. He wrote fewer plays after 1610 and after 1613, no plays are attributed to his name. Shakespeare probably knew he was inching towards death. In his final play, The Tempest, he gives away hints about his signing off from the stage and the world. The great artist passed away on 23th April 1616 at the age of 52.

       How did Shakespeare die? His will, which had been written just two months prior to his death, said that he was in perfect health. John Ward, who was the Vicar of Stratford from 1662 to 1681, wrote in his diary some anecdotes that shed light into Shakespeare’s life.

       In one of his diary entries he noted that Michael Drayton, a poet, and Ben Jonson had visited Shakespeare once and they had a merry meeting. Shakespeare drank too hard. Subsequently, he died of a fever that lasted a few days.

      For the literary titan that he was, the inscription on Shakespeare’s tomb was not very inspiring. In fact, a curse was left on his tombstone as the epitaph. It read, “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”.

Picture Credit : Google