Saturday, 28 April 2012

Shakespeare or Hitler?

The Chandos Portrait, National Portrait Gallery, London
Shakespeare had a birthday this month and so did I. Unfortunately they did not coincide. They would have done if my mother had waited three days. Instead, I share a birthday with Adolf Hitler. In fact one friend who couldn't remember the date, looked up Hitler on the Net to find out when my birthday was. (You see she remembered that coincidence).

Another friend emailed "I know your birthday is the same as Hitler's but I always think of it at Shakespeare's" - which was consoling.

But actually no-one knows when Shakespeare was born. He died on 23rd April 1616 and had been baptised 26th April 1564. It was customary to baptise babies within days of their birth in the mid-sixteenth century. Hence the convenience of assigning him one date for the beginning and end of his life.

But who knows? Maybe he was born weak and "peely-wally" like me? (I was born with bronchitis and my lungs are still my weak point). Maybe he could have been born on the same day as I was? Or rather the other way round.

Whatever, I have been enjoying all the Shakespeariana  in the media, especially James Shapiro's The King and the Playwright on BBC2 (Mondays at 9pm), which coincides nicely with a period currently interesting me. And Neil McGregor's Shakespeare's Restless World on Radio 4 each day at 1.45pm, where he takes an object as in The World in a Hundred Objects, as a starting point. We've had John Dee's obsidian mirror this week and a model of a bewitched ship - great stuff!

But if I had been born on 23rd April, I would not have been an Aries and I definitely am. Some horoscopes try to tell me Aries stops on 19th but I know better. - "independent, generous, optimistic, enthusiastic, courageous, moody, short tempered, self-involved, impulsive, impatient" says the first website I check and goes on about being ambitious and jealous and not the best mate for a domineering man.

Hmn. Closer to Hitler than Shakespeare, methinks.

Of course it's all nonsense but I do find myself identifying with these traits. How about you?

Do you share a birthday with someone famous and do you feel happy about it? What about zodiac sign and traits? Can you find anything to identify with there?


Jane McLoughlin said...

I share a birthday with Anne Frank (12 June). As a child, this made me feel very special. Still does, actually.

adele said...

I share a birthday with Ry Cooder, the musician and it's the Ides of March. Your birthday is a day after our younger daughter's. She is Aries!

I'm Pisces and I do like sea colours! And I suppose I'm a bit imaginative even though not particularly schizophrenic!

maryom said...

I'm wondering how many of those Aries attributes fit me - or Graham Norton? Both born April 4th.

Leslie Wilson said...

I doubt if Hitler would have made a good mate for a domineering man.

Paula Towers said...

I share with: Vincente Fox, president of Mexico; Carlos Saul Menem, president of Argentina; and Imelda Marcos, Filipino shoe fetishist. This might explain my bent for eating corned beef chilli fajitas whilst wearing a different pair of high heels every day?!

Mary Hoffman said...

There's a definite pattern there, Paula!

H.M. Castor said...

I knew I shared a birthday with Tony Hatch (composer of the Crossroads theme tune) & Mike Tyson, but I've just looked up the date online & apparently I can add to that Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Duke Ferdinand, swimmer Michael Phelps & singer/X-factor judge Cheryl Cole. Oh, & Charles VIII of France! We're all Cancer.

Mo said...

My birthday is shared by both Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski. Maybe I missed my Davis Cup vocation.