The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined: An Analysis of Cryptographic Systems Used as Evidence That Some Author Other Than William Shakespeare Wrote the Plays Commonly Attributed to Him

The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined: An Analysis of Cryptographic Systems Used as Evidence That Some Author Other Than William Shakespeare Wrote the Plays Commonly Attributed to Him

The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined: An Analysis of Cryptographic Systems Used as Evidence That Some Author Other Than William Shakespeare Wrote the Plays Commonly Attributed to Him

The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined: An Analysis of Cryptographic Systems Used as Evidence That Some Author Other Than William Shakespeare Wrote the Plays Commonly Attributed to Him

Excerpt

Shakespearean scholars have often had to deal with arguments that Shakespeare did not have the birth, breeding or education necessary to write the plays. The evidence brought forward by both sides in this particular argument is necessarily conjectural, and must therefore always be inconclusive. On the other hand, claims based on cryptography can be scientifically examined, and proved or disproved. In this book we examine the cryptographic evidence used to support the thesis that someone other than Shakespeare wrote the plays.

Many of the anti-Stratfordians who use cryptography to support their arguments have two aims: they wish to prove that Shakespeare did not write the plays, and they also wish to prove that someone else -- usually Bacon -- did. Of course other claimants have been brought forward; and there is even one subtle sceptic who, while not accepting Shakespeare, has found in the First Folio cryptographic evidence which has convinced him that there are hidden messages proving the writer to be a man whose Christian name was Will and whose surname began with 'Shake' (see ch. VI). There are also those who find that Shakespeare, like Homer, was a syndicate -- or, to use the current jargon of American scholarship, a 'project'.

At the outset we must make two things clear. First, the science of cryptology (which concerns itself with secret writing by means of codes and ciphers) is a branch of knowledge which goes back far into the past -- certainly beyond Elizabethan times. In the sixteenth century it was abundantly used. It is also certain that Francis Bacon (the leading contender for the authorship of the plays) gave a brief account of cryptography, and invented a unique and admirable cipher system which we shall later describe. So it is clear that ciphers could quite certainly have been used, and by Bacon in particular, to conceal a claim to the true authorship of any work. The question of course -- as Prof. E. R. Vincent pointed out in the parallel case of . . .

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