Saturday, April 9, 2011

Measure for Measure 1 - Melsome

Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (1)

This series Shakespeare-Bacon parallels derives from Dr. William Stanley Melsome’s book The Bacon-Shakespeare Anatomy, (1945). The parallels selected are just the ones most easily recognized and don’t really do the comparison justice. Melsome goes into much greater depth showing how Bacon’s philosophy permeates the Shakespeare works.

There is a letter extant from Sir Tobie Mathew to Francis Bacon, the date on which has been erased, acknowledging receipt of some work which is un-named. In this letter Mathew writes:

“I will return you weight for weight but measure for measure.”

Knowing as we do that Bacon frequently submitted his works in manuscript to Mathew before publication Baconians think it’s possible that Bacon had Mathews review this new play.

(Line numberings in the Shakespeare quotes are only approximate)

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Duke. “Since I am put to know that your own science Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice My strength can give you; then no more remains But that to your sufficiency - as your worth is able - And let them work”.
Measure for Measure,1.1.5
(The Duke speaking to Escalus acknowledges his great knowledge of law, and so passes over any advice on it.)

“Considering that I write to a king that is a master of this Science, and is so well assisted, I think it decent to pass over this part in silence.”
Advancement of Learning, 2.23.48

(Bacon, writing to King James also on the subject of law, passes over a discussion of it after acknowledging the king’s mastery of it.)

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