Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bacon's Signature Ciphers in Shakespeare -36- Francis Anon


6) This next example the Friedmans credit to Parker Woodward. Peter Dawkins analyzed it further. In The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, on page 56 in the Histories of the First Folio, there is a humorous scene where Prince Henry plays a joke on the Drawer (tapster) named Francis. This is the only passage in the Shakespeare works in which a name is repeated in any such extent in a dialogue in a short space of text, that of one column. And the name is Francis and it’s printed (or indicated by the abbreviation  ‘Fran’ ) exactly 33 times, again the Simple count for ‘Bacon’. 

The Friedmans do cite this instance but do not provide any insight on why it could not be planned to catch the attention of authorship sleuths about the possibility of it being an embedded clue of Bacon’s authorship. They only make a little joke that if we are to suppose it had any such significance, then the word “anon”, since it is also used often in the passage, would likewise be significant, which to them would be silly, though “anon” only seems to have been used 13 times. What I noticed that the Friedmans overlooked was that the cipher count for the word “anon” happens to equal 67 in the Kay cipher, the number that equals the Simple cipher count for “Francis”. Interestingly, if we don’t count the abbreviations “Fran” as part of the “Francis” count then we find the name written out 20 times in that column and together with the 13 instances of “anon” we have 33 instances of “Francis”. And these 33 instances of “Francis” make a neat Simple cipher of “Francis Bacon”.

Now, as stated earlier, the Friedmans criticized a count in one cipher alphabet (say, the Simple one) being associated with a significant value in a second cipher alphabet (such as the Kay one). Their argument being that this introduces ambiguity and increases the probability of a hit. A counter argument to this is that such a cipher technique could actually have been used, that double enciphering isn’t uncommon, and that the Friedmans themselves have already distanced themselves from absolute rigid rules in this field. They allow varied spelling, varied pronunciations, and some leeway of errors in decoded messages. They say that sometimes “we take other factors of the situation into account”. The other factors to consider in the present case is that the word ‘anon’ wasn’t just used once or a few times, but 13 times in the same column. And that these 13 times of ‘anon’,  which can equate to ‘Francis’ can be added to the other 20 written out instances of ‘Francis’ to sum 33 instances, which then provides both his first and his last name.

In any case, even without using ‘anon’ the 13 instances of the abbreviation ‘Fran’ for a speech part also bring the count to 33. Also, such a double enciphering could only be used sparingly in any case since the Kay cipher counts are generally much larger than the Simple counts and so don’t easily set up such double encoding opportunities.

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