Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bacon's Signature Ciphers in Shakespeare -45- Clowne


16)  Another instance similar to this that involves a character name and a play on identity is found in the play As You Like It.  In Act 5, Scene 1, 1st column of page 204 of the Comedies, there is a segment of the play that some authorship supporters for the Earl of Oxford, Christopher  Marlowe, as well as Bacon have thought seems to transcend the action of the scene itself. This is where the clown Touchstone is talking to the character “William”. William here is portrayed as a kind of unlearned oaf.  Touchstone, the wit of the play is competing with William for Audrey and in this scene he means to embarrass William and warn him off. Touchstone has these lines:

Clo. Then learne this of me, To have, is to have. For
it is a figure in Rhetoricke, that drink being powr'd out
of a cup into a glasse, by filling the one, doth empty the
other. For all your Writers do consent, that ipse is hee:
now you are not ipse, for I am he.

Orthodox scholars think it’s ridiculous that there could be any meaning beyond the play’s apparent plot. To me the internal evidence suggests the playwright is stepping in and showing himself to the audience somewhat. The mentioning of “it is a figure of Rhetoricke” could just be used to bring in the word ‘figure’ as a hint of a possible cipher. Does he really mean to give the country lad William a lesson in Latin? (In the play The Merry Wives of Windsor a character named William is given a lesson in Latin but there William is literally a student and the character giving instruction is literally a teacher and the scene is literally one of a lesson in Latin.) If so, then how does the following line about ‘ipse’ connect to the “figure in Rhetoricke”? And what is the meaning of “your Writers do consent”?  Does he really think the unlearned William understands who his “writers” are? Then in the next speech touchstone threatens William in what Shakespearean scholar Kittredge has said is statecraft terminology “bandy with thee in Faction” and “[o’er]-run thee with policy”, something that Bacon would definitely know. While other authorship skeptics have tried to construe the dialogue’s meaning to their authorship candidate, I thought the place to look would be in the character’s name. Normally, in modern editions the name of Touchstone is used throughout. But in the folio this name is not used to indicate him as a speaker. Instead it begins his entrance as “Enter Clowne” and then “Clo.” is used when he speaks. The simple count for “Clowne” is C=3, l=11, o=14, w=21, n=13, e=5 totaling 67, which equals the simple numerical count for “Francis”. So if the Clowne is “ipse” or “hee” and William is not “he” and the passage is about the concept of identity, then this has the feeling of a hidden signature about it.

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