Google doodle pays tribute to Shakespeare and St George

Shakespeare and St George's Day Google doodle Image copyright Google
Image caption Can you name the eight Shakespeare plays featured in the drawing?

Google has paid tribute to playwright William Shakespeare and St George's Day with a special Google Doodle.

The patron saint of England crops up in a total of 18 of the Bard's plays - eight of which are featured in the search engine's home page homage.

St George's Day, 23 April, is the date of Shakespeare's death 400 years ago and is also widely believed to be the date on which he was born in 1564.

The occasion is being marked with events across the UK this weekend.

Google features a different drawing or "doodle" on its home page every day, marking events, anniversaries and notable people around the world.

Saturday's doodle features, from left to right, scenes from Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest (although shipwrecks also feature in Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors), King Lear, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Who's behind Google’s doodles?

Shakespeare officially wrote 38 plays in his 52 years, performing most of them at The Globe Theatre in London.

St George crops up a total of 18 times in his plays, according to the Independent newspaper, including the famous battle cry in Henry V: "Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'"

Who was St George?

  • Very little is known about Saint George but he is thought to have been born into a Christian noble family between about 275 and 285 AD in Cappadocia, an area which is now in Turkey.
  • Became a Roman soldier in the guard of Emperor Diocletian.
  • Honoured as a Christian martyr after execution on the orders of Diocletian for refusing to denounce his faith in 303 AD.
  • Story of St George slaying a dragon is a legend brought back by the Crusaders.
  • His cross - red on a white background - forms the national flag of England and features within the Union Jack.
  • St George's Day is celebrated on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of his death.

Weekend of celebrations

US President Barack Obama, who is on a three-day visit to the UK, visited The Globe as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations on Saturday.

He watched a brief performance of a portion of Hamlet, including the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy.

Meanwhile, a host of actors and performers are taking part in events around the country, including a BBC Shakespeare Live event.

The special broadcast from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon will be led by actor David Tennant and feature Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Helen Mirren and Benedict Cumberbatch.

On Saturday afternoon, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be in Stratford-upon-Avon, where the playwright was born.

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