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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
More Shakespeare Code ...
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1508  Tuesday, 13 September 2005

[1] 	From: 	John Briggs <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 13:30:29 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...

[2] 	From: 	Michael B. Luskin <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 09:08:46 EDT
	Subj: 	More Shakespeare Code ...

[3] 	From: 	David Basch <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Sep 2005 14:10:29 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...

[4] 	From: 	Joseph Egert <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Sep 2005 19:34:14 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code...

[5] 	From: 	Ward Elliott <
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	Date: 	Friday, 09 Sep 2005 14:55:48 -0700
	Subj: 	RE: Sh Codes

[6] 	From: 	David Evett <
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	Date: 	Friday, 9 Sep 2005 21:12:28 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

[7] 	From: 	Elliott Stone <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 10 Sep 2005 19:49:16 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Briggs <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 13:30:29 +0100
Subject: 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...

V. K. Inman wrote:

 >In my case no, I am not pro-Catholic.  I am a Presbyterian with a
 >Seminary Education.  It did not take a lot of that education to see
 >how Roman Catholic WS's thinking is.

As we debated earlier this year: in 'Henry V' alone, Shakespeare didn't 
know the difference between a pax and a pyx, and thought that "Non 
nobis, Domine" was a Roman Catholic Psalm.

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Michael B. Luskin <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 09:08:46 EDT
Subject: 	More Shakespeare Code ...

Simple is often most true and therefore often the best.

G. B. Harrison points out that Richard II was presented by special 
request by Essex conspirators just before the attempt.  Elizabeth saw 
the parallel, and pronounced on it.  This landed Shakespeare & Company 
in a lot of hot water, from which they narrowly escaped.

Michael B. Luskin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Basch <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Sep 2005 14:10:29 -0400
Subject: 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...

Joseph Egert writes:

 >The slippery Lady from Belmont may have superseded it, but how did she
 >break it?

Good question and here is brief overview of the answer.

When bantering with Nerissa, Portia suggests to Nerissa that she place a 
cup of Rhenish wine on a contrary casket should the choice of suitor 
discussed (the Duke of Saxony's nephew) be in danger of choosing 
correctly.  This little joke reminds us of the fact that Nerissa is 
Portia's agent.

A bit later, Gratiano approaches Bassanio and tells him, "I have a suit 
to you." In the story line, he is requesting, that is, "pleading a 
suit," that he go along with Bassanio to Belmont. We learn from the 
discussion that they have both been there before (as confirmed also by a 
conversation between Nerissa and Portia.) The word suit has another 
meaning as a marriage suit. Reading between the lines, Gratiano is 
telling that he too has a suit in Belmont along with Bassanio. This is 
confirmed later in the play.

We know that Nerissa knows the secret of the caskets since she witnessed 
the false choices. By the way, her name, Nerissa, in Hebrew, sounded as 
Nir'as'soh,' means "it was seen," a word in the Bible mentioned in 
connection with the rainbow (a rainbow was seen in a cloud), and this 
seems to be Shakespeare's way of calling her attention to her role in 
the play.

In the original story, Il Picorone, the hero is helped to learn the 
answer to the riddle from the maid of the woman he wishes to marry.

We jump to the point after Bassanio chooses well and Nerissa and 
Gratiano jump up and reveal the deal they had made. Gratiano asks that 
Bassano's marriage be accompanied by his own since Bassanio did indeed 
provide him with a wife Nerissa. Gratiano then says:

         I thank your lordship, you have got me one [a wife].
         My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
         You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
         You loved, I loved for intermission.
         No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
         Your fortune stood upon the casket there,
         And so did mine too, as the matter falls;
         For wooing here until I sweat again,
         And sweating until my very roof was dry
         With oaths of love, at last, if promise last,
         I got a promise of this fair one here
         To have her love, provided that your fortune
         Achieved her mistress.

There above is the deal that Gratiano made with Nerissa. She had all the 
incentive to pass the secret. That she did indeed attain this fee for 
her service is further hinted by the fact that, when Nerissa gives the 
deed of gift from Shylock to Lorenzo, she remarks, "I will not charge a 
fee for this service." Not for this service as she did charge a fee for 
that other service of spilling the beans.

There are other signals about what is happening in some of the coded 
material, too difficult to go into here. There are also the hints that 
show up in the double entendres of the bantering, hinting about this, as 
when Bassanio remarks, "You teach me answers for deliverance."

True, it was Nerissa that passed the secret but she was operating under 
an unspoken agreement with Nerissa. You might say that Portia fulfilled 
the letter of the covenant but not its spirit. (Now where have we heard 
that before?)

Now to the matter of Jessica, the slander, which someone else on the 
list brought up, pooh poohing the significance of Lorenzo's line in Act 
V telling that Jessica slandered him (which she did). Lorenzo's line 
merely underlines the fact of her character trait that she is given to 
committing slander. It ought to have been plain enough that she was out 
of Shylock's house before the friction between Antonio and Shylock 
occurred when it was discovered that she had fled. There could be no way 
that she could have overheard her father plot against Antonio with 
another Jew. It was a slander that is believable only because Shylock is 
a Jew and now she has become a Christian and so supposedly is above 
committing such sins. As to her thievery, it is an open act in the play 
when she robs her father and which Lorenzo reminds us of in Act V.

Shakespeare has written a play that has two levels: a surface meaning 
that is usually taken at face value in accordance with the expectations 
and prejudices of the audience and a deeper meaning that transcends its 
time.  Those who are willing to look more deeply and carefully at what 
is before them will not vote their prejudices and jump to the surface 
bait but will look to the human dimensions of the story. They will then 
see a deeply caring, suffering Shylock, a widower betrayed by his 
daughter, whose real fault is that he misjudges the latitude that he 
will be given by the Venetian court to press Antonio to ask forgiveness. 
They will also see that Shylock is beset by enemies that are morally 
flawed and hypocritical, enemies not deigning to practice the high moral 
declarations they proclaim.

David Basch

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joseph Egert <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Sep 2005 19:34:14 +0000
Subject: 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code...

Jim Blackie argues elsewhere (SHK 16.1483), "we need to capture the 
meaning that Shakespeare had intended for his audience at that time..."

Shakespeare's many audiences included political and religious sects of 
all stripes, his own coterie, possibly us, and above all himself. 
Literary theorists of his day insisted on multilayered meaning and 
coding to include literal, allegorical, moral and anagogical levels--all 
are clearly evident in his works. Once again, Shakespeare is a man for 
all factions, who see what they want, as do we.

Larry Weiss claims (SHK 16.1483), "it is not only legitimate but 
essential to point out the prejudices and preconceptions of witnesses."

Exactly.

The same applies to judges and their critics. As is so often the case, 
Brother Weiss' ab hominem remarks are cogent and incisive, though at 
times limited in scope. This year's "bizarre" reading may become next 
year's "old hat," only to be assailed and finally displaced by the 
"nouveau bizarre." Or, what's a SHAKSPER forum for?

Regards,
Joe Egert

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ward Elliott <
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Date: 		Friday, 09 Sep 2005 14:55:48 -0700
Subject: 	RE: Sh Codes

Those who find Shakespeare codes of interest might wish to check this 
reference to the Sonnets in Morse Code: 
http://retards.org/radio/shakespeares_sonnets_cw/

With thanks to my ham radio colleague, Charles A. Lofgren,
Ward Elliott

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Evett <
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Date: 		Friday, 9 Sep 2005 21:12:28 -0400
Subject: 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1482 More Shakespeare Code ...

I'm probably entering this thread too late to get read by many
SHAKSPERians, but think some additional scholarship appropriate. I am 
among the skeptics as regards codes in the Shakespeare plays: I relished 
William Friedman?s *The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined* as a graduate 
student, and have encountered nothing since to offset its arguments.

I cannot deny, however, that we have substantial evidence in early 
modern non-dramatic texts for encoded meanings. The most extensive 
argument I know of is A. Kent Hieatt's in *Short Time's Endless 
Monument: The Symbolism of the Numbers in Edmund Spenser's 
"Epithalamion"* (New York: Columbia Univ.  Press, 1960), which traces in 
the long lyric poem Spenser wrote and published to celebrate his own 
marriage a complex set of numerological, cosmological, alphabetical, and 
imagistic patterns that comprise a coherent system of non-discursive 
meanings under- and overlying the more immediately linguistic elements 
of the poem. Hieatt cites a good many other contemporary works, and much 
additional scholarship, in support of his argument, and other scholars 
following his lead have added more.

To find and interpret such codes, however, it is crucial to work with 
the text itself to count lines and stanzas, go back a dozen lines to 
confirm the suspicion that there might be an acrostic, consult a 
reference book about the relationship between a number and an icon. 
Hieatt's book records the results of months of concentrated study. 
Theatrical texts deny these possibilities; we hear spoken words, not see 
letters; as soon as we have registered a word, others come immediately 
to displace it from our consciousness (not to mention the other sounds, 
visual stimuli, stimuli from the other senses, all demanding our 
attention), and until I see more persuasive evidence than that provided 
by even Lucas Erne that Shakespeare wrote texts for publication, and 
supervised publication carefully enough to insure that codes depending 
on the placement of particular letters in particular spots on the page 
were correctly printed, I cannot buy the proposition that the kinds of 
concealed messages that initiated this thread are present in the plays.

Cryptoskeptologically,
David Evett

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Elliott Stone <
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Date: 		Saturday, 10 Sep 2005 19:49:16 -0400
Subject: 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1493 More Shakespeare Code ...

Perhaps we might ask this question.

Did the audience that first saw Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible" 
think it was written in a code"?

I do not think that they did. They understood that it was an allegory 
about a current political issue dressed up as the hysteria over witch 
trials that took place centuries earlier.

If you believe that the English audience that first viewed Hamlet 
believed it was all about the Danish Kingdom and had no relevance to the 
Elizabethan Court then your education is seriously impaired.

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

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