Did W. Shakespeare Really Exist? Sept. 12, 2000 It is part of every person’s education to be taught that William Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers of all time. Shakespeare was a man who began life from in modest family, with virtually no education early on, in the16th century town of Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and who later wrote plays and poetry that were to win praise throughout the world. It is an inherited belief that has been passed own from generation to generation.
With the increase in learning of the present day, and a growth of research opportunities, more and more people have become dissatisfied with this inherited teaching. Substantial inconsistencies and illogicalities have been detected within its content. This is the cause for extensive examinations that have contradicted what people had before now believed in without question. As a result, a number of different ideas to be considered about Shakespeare and who he really was. The authorship debate is about the conflict it has caused. On the one hand, there are those who refuse to abandon the inherited teaching.
Instead they devote themselves to explaining, if they can, and excusing, if they cannot, the inconsistencies of Shakespeare’s story. On the other hand, there are those who have abandoned the inherited teachings. They see the ideas of the literary scholars to be unproved; and as more and more information comes to light, their ideas become almost nave. ~ Questioning W. Shakespeare’s Existence Using the Stratford Monument’s Clues ~ Although students of literature are taught to believe that the great poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, was the same man that bought and sold property and dealt in farm produce within his native Stratford-upon-Avon, it is a belief that rests solely upon four key pieces of information. They are Greene’s Groats-worth of Wit; Sweet Swan of Avon, the tributes inserted at the front of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s collected plays, and the Stratford Monument.
Even they can be questioned. The Stratford Monument is actually a great factor in proving the Oxfordian viewpoints. In 1623, a monument was erected in Shakespeare’s honour inside the Holy Trinity Church at Stratford-upon-Avon. After almost four centuries, the monument’s true purpose has been revealed. Two secrets encrypted into the text with mathematical precision, each spell the name of the nobleman who was associated with the authorship of the Shakespearean plays.
This man is Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. As a consequence of this, the doubts that previously existed concerning true authorship have almost all been settled. The secrets of the monument urge that the person it has revealed should be tested. The truthfulness of the monument’s message can therefore be confirmed, or denied, by comparing and examining the credentials of both men; the one named by the monument, and the other, conventionally affirmed by Stratford enthusiasts to be the real Shakespeare. The Epitaph to William Shakespeare, erected in 1623 inside the church of the Holy Trinity at Stratford-upon-Avon: IUDICIO PYLIUM GENIO SOCRATEM, ARTE MARONEM, TERRA TEGIT, POPVLVS MAERET, OLYMPVS HABET STAY PASSENGER, WHY GOEST THOV BY SO FAST, READ IF THOV CANST, WHOM ENVIOVS DEATH HATH PLAST, WITH IN THIS MONVMENT SHAKSPEARE: WITH WHOME, QVICK NATVRE DIDE: WHOSE NAME, DOTH DECK Ys TOMBE, FAR MORE, THEN COST: SIEH ALL, Yt HE HATH WRITT, LEAVES LIVING ART, BVT PAGE, TO SERVE HIS WITT.
OBIIT ANO DO 1616 TATIS 53 DIE 23 AP Notice the first lines to the three opening couplets. They are both an order and a challenge to everyone that reads them. They pretty much mean “Stop! Do not hurry by. If you can, read who has been placed in this Shakespeare Monument. Since the Monument is too small to contain a body, it must be just the name of a person that has been enclosed,” and of them we are asked to read. The first clue to that identity begins with the switching of a noun and its adjective.
This is common in Latin, but not in English, for it changes ‘This Shakespeare Monument’ to ‘This Monument Shakespeare.’ This could be thought to mean the monument of someone named Shakespeare, as opposed to the monument for Shakespeare. The second clue is derived directly from what follows: ‘With Whome,’ for it is ‘Quick Nature’ that follows, and this can be read in Latin as: ‘Summa Velocium Rerum.’ Since we are told that ‘Quick Nature’ has ‘Died’ and that ‘Envious Death’ has placed in the Monument what we are challenged to seek, a solution to the puzzle may be sought after. One particular strategy for solving certain types of word puzzles is to construct a message that uses only the first syllable from each word in a given phrase. These, when placed together, reveal the hidden message. If we use ‘Summa Velocium Rerum’ this way, we are left with ‘Sum Ve Re,’ or ‘Sum Vere,’ which quite literally translates to ‘I Am Vere.’ Edward de Vere is a more likely candidate for the position of great author over Shakespeare in many ways.
DeVere is known to have had the education, possessed the ability and experienced the same life traumas as those found in Shakespeare’s plays. He also had reasons to conceal his authorship. Among many discerning scholars, he is already seen as a possible candidate for having been Shakespeare. The memorial concludes by saying: ‘Living Art.. has left ‘A Page .. ‘ This subtly implies reference to the author of the inscription (the page), the person who constructed the elaborate riddle. This leads the reader to think of the actual craftsmanship and notice perhaps any hidden clues.
It is clear that there are two meanings attached to the inscription on the monument. The most obvious is that which serves to appease an onlooker only reading to confirm their beliefs that Shakespeare did in fact write the Shakespearean works. The other, the secret one is for people that don’t know what to believe. It is this that challenges the passer-by to the riddle that follows; lays clues for its solution; reveals the hidden name; and concludes by the author signing off as a page in service. Although the above conclusions are sound, they are still only the first step in establishing the truth behind Shakespeare’s identity.
A single mention of de Vere’s name is not enough. It could be explained as a chance occurrence. However, a true craftsman, to further show off his skill, would create more than one clue leading to de Vere as to eliminate all possibilities of coincidence. A different method for encrypting secret messages into documents is by Equidistant Letter Sequencing: a technique learned from the Jewish cabbalists (occultists) in the 16th century. It involves the construction of a message by using every nth letter in a passage of text.
By stringing these letters together, the person decoding the document can then learn what has been hidden. All he or she needs to know is the value of ‘n’ and where to begin. (Cabbalist theories claim to give two meanings to the five books of Moses in the Old Testament -one basic and the other secret. It is this idea, which was very common during the16th century that has been used in constructing the Stratford Monument). Like all good encryption devices, the Equidistant Letter Sequence is mathematically based, so there is always a chance that the messaging has occurred by accident. However, as the number of letters in the message increases, so the probability of their occurrence by chance dramatically decreases.
Equidistant Letter Sequencing is a difficult way to work. It requires the encoder to place each nth letter correctly, yet still maintain the sense and grammar of the text containing the secret message. In order to do this the encoder may have to resort to misspelling or abbreviating a word, so that the concealed message fits. Both misspellings and abbreviations are evident within the epitaph to Shakespeare (A few examples include the different spelling of ‘WHOM’ and ‘WHOME,’ an extra ‘T’ to the word WRIT(T). The extra ‘E’ has been added to help form the word TEST. Secondly, the abbreviations are inconsistent.
At first, the word THIS has been spelled in full, but the second time it appears it has been shortened to YS. This abbreviation is, of course, primary for completing the word TEST.). It therefore suggests to those who study the Monument’s inscription that this form of encrypting has very likely been used. The three couplets that are in English contain 220 letters of which 23 have been used to form a sentence that once again names de Vere. Edward de Vere was the 17th Earl of Oxford.
By using every alternate 17th letter, so that ‘n’ is equal to 34, the sentence: ‘SO TEST HIM I VOW HE IS DE VERE’ appears from within this tribute to Shakespeare. This may seem like it could all be a coincidence, but based on all the factors such as letter placement, the fact 17 was chosen as the nth number, et cetera, the estimated probability of the secret messages actually being a coincidence are about one in 200 billion (1:200,000,000,000). One final reason the Monument is proof Shakespeare was in fact not the author of the Shakespearean plays is of the error written in the epitaph for all to see. The final words of his epitaph read: OBIIT ANO DO 1616 TATIS 53 DIE 23 AP. (The year of death given 1616, of age 53 the day 23 April). The age is incorrect. Shakespeare died on, or shortly after, his birthday, aged 52; not 53 as the monument states.
This is yet further supporting evidence that whoever authorized and paid for the monument did not intend it as a serious and lasting tribute to the man it is suppose to be honouring. After all, the year of Shakespeare’s birth was easily obtainable in the Church Register nearby. However, by inserting the incorrect age, it does signal curiosity to those alert to the correct date. Shakespeare Essays.