Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” is the most famous line in all of Shakespeare’s plays.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – A team of archaeologists decided to record a documentary about the bard’s life and death. So they asked the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, permission to analyze the poet and playwright’s grace. Upon doing so, they discovered that Shakespeare’s skull was stolen from his grave.
“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.”
The researchers used a powerful radar capable of collecting information from considerable depths and breaking through tough materials. But they soon realized that the information they possessed of the burial site of the greatest writer Britain and the world have ever seen were wrong.
It was thought that both William Shakespeare and his wife, Ann Hathaway, were buried deep in solid coffins. But the analysis showed that the two were only wrapped in a shroud and placed in shallow graves.
According to the markings on the bard’s side of the burial site, it seems that some time ago, grave robbers unearthed his remains and stole his skull. There are various theories about whom might have ordered such a crime, lots of evidence pointing towards a physician that lived a century after Hamlet’s author.
At the time, people believed that the genius of an individual can be deduced from his skull. And as we can see in Macbeth, witchcraft was in high demand in the area, so maybe some wealthy patrons ordered the removal of the head with a view to engaging in magic rituals that would move the genius from the skull to another person.
The news that Shakespeare’s skull was stolen from his grave is not new. Even in the seventieth-century stories of his burial site being desecrated were circulating among English folk. Unfortunately, all of the leads that the researchers were able to find were dead ends, and the skull is still missing.
But seeing as the poet and playwright put a curse on his final resting place and judging by the faith of his characters, it may be that the grave robbers’ lives did not end well. Just think of Hamlet, Ophelia, Macbeth, even Romeo and Juliet.
When a character proved to have a loose sense of morality, Shakespeare killed in off in spectacular, sometimes gruesome ways. So whatever happened to the Bard’s lost remains, we can be sure that the owners did not live happily ever after.
The documentary aired this Saturday in Britain.
Image source: Wikimedia