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This is a very interesting topic which I've been curious about for years. While I come mostly for your comments on the paranormal (I'd really like to see you write a book about it! - you make more sense than most anyone on either side of the fence), I highly enjoy reading your views about the Shakespeare authorship issue. Thanks for another highly informative post!

Another thought about what you call "the Scottish play." To this day, there exists a name taboo regarding this play in the theatrical community. Actors still believe that saying "Macbeth" will bring bad luck, so they use circumlocution. I suspect this taboo has a long history, but has undergone a shift since the original taboo against speaking aloud the name of the actual playwright. Think of how the "children's" community still "remembers" the Black Death of the 14th century every time they recite "Ring around the Rosey."

No one would think Macbeth was about the Gunpowder Plot if they weren't trying to combat the Oxford argument. Gary WIllis is a brilliant writer (read his incredible book on the Gettysburg Address for example) but to call his Macbeth book weak is an understatement.

By the way, the idea that the play contains material from another hand is not scholarly supposition. It is indisputable. The famous "Boil, boil toil and trouble" song of the witches is from another play, for one example.

The Stratford scholars never ask why a play written after the Gunpowder plot should be so obviously unfinished and cobbled together on their man's death in 1616? They don't ask because the answer is obvious: Macbeth is in the shape it is in because the author died in 1604 and others completed it.


As Goethe said, Michael, the only consolation of mediocrity is that genius is not immortal.

>As Goethe said ...

?

I don't get it.

What's with that benign comment.. ;-)

Benign are your quoting from
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe the german writer?

He also said this upon his deathbed;

"I have found no confession of faith to which I could ally myself without reservation. Now in my old age, however, I have learned of a sect, the Hypsistarians, who, hemmed in between heathens, Jews and Christians, declared that they would treasure, admire, and honour the best, the most perfect that might come to their knowledge, and inasmuch as it must have a close connection to the Godhead, pay it reverence. A joyous light thus beamed at me suddenly out of a dark age, for I had the feeling that all my life I had been aspiring to qualify as a Hypsistarian. That, however, is no small task, for how does one, in the limitations of one's individuality, come to know what is most excellent?

– from a letter to Sulpiz Boisserée dated 22 March 1831[22]

Thanks for the tip o' the pen, Michael. The porter scene is the only part of Macbeth that has any unambiguous relevance to the Gunpowder Plot -- and this is to the *trial* of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators. They invoked a Catholic doctrine called Equivocation, a doctrine that was dreamed up in the early 1580s in Spain and caused no small amount of consternation on English shores. Edward de Vere's father-in-law wrote about Equivocation in a treatise for Queen Elizabeth in 1584. (Equivocation also came up in a trial of the Catholic agent Robert Southwell in 1595.)

In 1587, there was an actual state-sanctioned assassination of a Scots monarch. King James's mother. (So all this business about James descending from Banquo holds for Mary Queen of Scots too.) This was a particularly bloody bit of regicide, incidentally, involving a botched beheading that had to be executed twice because the axeman didn't quite finish his bloody work in one stroke. Incarnadine indeed. In any event, the Queen of England had Scots royal blood on her hands, as did her jury that delivered the pro forma treason verdict that sentenced Mary Queen of Scots to death. On that jury sat Edward de Vere. Thereby hangs a tale.

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