When we discussed Prospero’s beginning to consider the meaning of life and that the end of his is near, we discussed the possibility of Shakespeare expressing his own thoughts about death through Prospero, since he wrote the Tempest later in life. In researching his later life, I found some interesting facts about his death and his grave. After his death, Shakespeare’s family placed a bust of him writing on the wall nearest his grave; each year on Shakespeare’s birthday, a new quill pen is put in the hand of the bust. In addition, Shakespeare enclosed a curse on his tombstone (see below). Possibly as a result of this curse, legends about the possibility of unpublished works being buried with Shakespeare have gone uninvestigated.
The curse enclosed in his epitaph:
Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
But cursed be he that moves my bones.