Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Tempest authorship - part 1

Note: The following set of posts on the authorship of The Tempest come from chapter 3 of Barry Clarke's book The Shakespeare Puzzle: A Non-esoteric Baconian Theory which can be found here:

Chapter 3. The Tempest (1)

3.1 Preliminary

We examine the evidence supporting the current scholarly view that the main source for Shake-speare's The Tempest was a letter known as the True Reportory (TR) sent back from the newly established Virginia colony in 1610, about a year before the play's first known performance. It appears that this letter was restricted (Section 3.3) and that the actor William Shakespeare could not have had access to it, a thesis that scholars have not hitherto examined. Section 3.4 is dedicated to dating The Tempest and we find a new topical allusion that assists in dating the play to after 1610. This argues against the Earl of Oxford being the play's author since he died six years earlier. A propagandist version of the TR, known as the True Declaration (TD), was registered by the Virginia Company in November 1610. In support of its author being Sir Francis Bacon, we present a table of metaphorical parallels (Section 3.5) between the TD and Bacon's work, and show where these also correspond to the Shake-speare work.

3.2 New Virginia Colony
In 1606, the newly inaugurated Virginia Company published a Charter with the design of financing and promoting the inhabitation of the new Virginia colony in America. Eight names appear on the document who bought shares at 12 10s (12.50) each. The Virginia Company's three ships set sail in December 1606, with 144 men and boys, and on 13 May 1607, the first settlers built a three-sided fort on the banks of the James at Jamestown Island. The early settlers attempted to make the venture profitable by producing glass, pitch, potash and tar, on the promise of land ownership after seven year service. Unfortunately, it was cheaper to buy them elsewhere.

On 23 May 1609, the Second Virginia Charter was issued signed by King James with the attached names of 52 Council members charged with governing the colony from London. Sir Francis Bacon, whom King James had promoted to Solicitor-General only two years earlier, was one of them but William Shakespeare was not.

An expedition of nine ships carrying some 600 passengers set sail from Plymouth to reinforce the colony on Friday evening 10 May 1609. On 23 July, while off Bermuda, one of the ships, the Sea Venture, carrying both the intended Deputy Governor, Sir Thomas Gates, and the Secretary, William Strachey, hit a severe storm which damaged their vessel. After furiously bailing out water for three days and four nights, the ship became wedged between two rocks off Bermuda and all 150 passengers astonishingly reached dry land. The rest of the fleet made it to Virginia only to encounter disease, starvation, and the inhospitable natives. Meanwhile, at Bermuda, despite several attempts at mutiny, the survivors built two small vessels from the remains of the Sea Venture, and on 10 May 1610 they continued to Jamestown. On reaching the colony on 23 May, they found that most of the emigrants had died of starvation the previous winter. The native Indians had prevented the settlers from hunting, fishing or gathering wood, and had eliminated those who ventured outside the fort to do so. So on 7 June, with food in short supply, the colonists abandoned the post for Newfoundland with the intention of returning home on the English fishing fleet but, after fortuitously rendezvousing with Sir Thomas West's (Lord De La Warre) approaching supply ships, they elected to re-inhabit the colony. Nevertheless, many were discouraged and later returned to England.

In the Shake-speare play The Tempest, which received its first known performance on 1 November 1611 at Whitehall, a fleet bound for Naples hits a storm and the ship carrying Alonso, King of Naples, becomes separated from the rest of the fleet who assume that Alonso has succumbed:

Ariel: …and for the rest o' th' Fleet
(Which I dispers'd), they all have met again,
And are upon the Mediterranean Flote
Bound sadly home for Naples,
Supposing that they saw the King's ship wrackt,
And his great person perish.
(1610-11 The Tempest, 1.2.232-6)

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