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25 (Ill-Advised) Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday From the Bard Himself

Or you could just stab yourself. A lot of Shakespeare's plays end that way.


When someone’s having a birthday, they should be the one to decide how to celebrate the occasion. Unfortunately, William Shakespeare can not tell us where he’d like to go bar-hopping or what flavor his cake should be, because he’s been dead for 398 years. But don’t worry! He’s left some careful instructions for us, if you know where to look.

All of the below suggestions have been taken directly from Shakespeare’s 37 plays (give or take, because wow, there are a lot of histories and we get bored real fast), so you can rest assured that they’re totally great ideas that Shakespeare totally thinks you should try out for yourself! Yay!

In no particular order:

  • Fake your own death. But don’t be stupid about it—make sure a clergy member tells you it’s okay first.
  • Convince a friend that his wife is cheating on him through the clever placement of handkerchiefs.
  • Trick your significant other into developing feelings for an ass. No, like, a literal ass. This can probably best be achieved through catfishing.
  • Bake a pie. (Do not tell anyone what you’ve made the pie from. Laugh maniacally.)
  • Cross-dress early and often.


"'Sup, other ladies. Or, um, different ladies. Not... you are ladies. I'm totally not a lady. What were we talking about?"

  • Take a nice holiday in England but then change your mind and turn the whole trip around before you even get there.
  • Deliver your unborn child via c-section so that he can one day grow up to decapitate a political leader.
  • Be a good wingman. Break a woman’s spirit and mold her to your will so your friend can make out with her sister.
  • Blackmail nuns into having sex with you. (Alternately, demand that people you’ve had sex with become nuns.)
  • Teach a fish to speak English.


I get that Caliban is supposed to represent the horrors of colonialism, but not nearly enough productions cast him as a fish monster. (image via Wikimedia)

  • Screw your courage to a sticking place, like perhaps a roach motel.
  • Bend your thoughts towards France.
  • Put on a mask and make fun of your crush mercilessly.
  • Lend money to a neighbor so you can justify skinning them alive at a later date.
  • Consider investing in ear poison.


You'll make a profit from the play rights alone.

  • Get a group of your buddies together and dress up as trees.
  • Deal with unwanted sexual advances by dressing up like a fairy and beating the offender senseless.
  • Upon receiving an important promotion, abandon all your drunken friends and pretend you don’t know them.
  • For a fun time, try unsexing yourself.
  • Get married. Right now. Like, RIGHT now don’t even question it just do it GET MARRIED NOW.



  • Be adventurous with your fine dining experiences! Eat a heart in a marketplace.
  • Ransack Rome. You know, just for funsies.
  • Is the ear poison market too oversaturated? Diversify your assets into sword poison.
  • Read Timon of Athens. (Note: We have not read Timon of Athens.)
  • Offend some mortals.



(featured image via joshua_d)

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