Let’s shift gears for the next few blogs and explore William Shakespeare and his writing. Is there a secret code hidden in William Shakespeare’s writing? The run time for this documentary episode is 49:22. The documentary series is called the Seven Steps to Mercy: Cracking the Shakespeare Code.
Petter Amundsen is a Norwegian organist who believed he found a secret code hidden in Shakespeare’s first folio. This code reveals a treasure map where mythical objects are hidden. Dr. Robert Crumpton investigates this code. Together, they come to investigate the codes in Shakespeare’s writings as well as the man himself. Who was the real William Shakespeare? Did he even exist? If he did not exist who wrote all his plays?
The first character introduced in this series is Robert Crumpton, he is a historian who is skeptical of the code. The other is Petter Amundsen and he has a nose for codes despite not having a Ph.D. in history. Then there is a discussion on William Shakespeare, the debate over whether or not he existed. What the historical record said and the monuments dedicated to him. He is the most important figure in English literature and he created many characters over the years. His works still make people weep and cheer.
However, that said, Crumpton was intrigued by Amundsen’s theories. So he goes out on a search to discover the Shakespeare Code. Amundsen’s works lead him to believe that Shakespeare’s works have been written by Sir Francis Bacon and a second mysterious author. There have been plenty of people looking for codes in Shakespeare’s work, however, they were debunked. Crumpton goes out and meets Amundsen. They go over what Amundsen had collected and researched over the years. Amundsen brings out a book of Shakespeare’s first folio. This work was completed after his death by Shakespeare’s fellow actors.
On the first page, there is a poem written by Ben Johnson, who may have posted a code in the poem. Amundsen and Crumpton look for a number that is on the page. Crumpton discusses the strict conventions governing publishing poetry. They turn to pay and then continue with their exploration to two. Amundsen continues with this explanation using the first folio. He points to a name in one of the plays: Francis Bacon.
Francis Bacon was assumed to be William Shakespeare. He was a scholar and the greatest English essayist of the age. He was fascinated by codes. Most scholars reject that the plays in the first folio were written by Bacon. Crumpton then transitions to the scene between Miranda and Prospero and this is recreated by two actors. The pair debate over the codes that were discovered in the book.
Crumpton explores more about Francis Bacon and talks about Bacon’s style. He could be clever, but could he switch from the high language of the upper class to the lower classes? Could he write verses easily as if like water? Crumpton concludes no that he did not have the skills to write prose nor did Bacon have the imagination. Amundsen suggests that there were two authors behind Shakespeare. If Bacon was not writing on his own, who else was helping with the writing? Crumpton and Amundsen continue to explore the writings.
One of the other writers put forward is Henry Neville. He was Francis Bacon’s nephew and a distant cousin to Shakespeare. He walked the same corridors of power as Bacon. They were contemporaries. So did they come together and write these works? Amundsen continued his demonstration for Crumpton. What other codes are found in Shakespeare’s work? What is significant about the number two and other numbers in the code? Was Shakespeare a real person or a figment of the imagination of two men? Tune into the rest of the episode to find out.
I was enjoying Crumpton’s healthy dose of skepticism when he approached this mission. It was thoroughly enjoyable to learn about the other theories behind William Shakespeare. It surprised me to hear that Queen Elizabeth I was offered as a potential author. I could foresee a good discussion in English class regarding this debate. This would be a good documentary to show in an English Literature or general literature classroom.
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