Where there Three Marlowe
Ciphers in Hamlet?
We have just discussed,
at length, how Hamlet's name ciphers or morphs into Marley. Now the question is are
their other similar ciphers hidden in Hamlet?
The answer seems to be
yes there were. "Shakespeare" was hardly the only Elizabethan to
play word math and sometimes it required more than just Hamlet's "drossy arithmetic
of the mind." Many period writers, including Bruno and Dee, believed
their were magical powers hidden in words and numbers.
Let's take the most obvious one first. Horatio is
Hamlet's friend and the person Hamlet directs or charges to tell his story to
||Horatio, I am dead,
Thou livest. Report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied....O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me...tell
Note: "wounded" and "wounded" are
two words, pronounced differently but spelled the same, i.e., to injure
and to entwine. The "ed" could mean twice wound, or to wind forwards
and backwards. It's brilliant word
play. And unnoticed for four centuries.
Part of Horatio's wounded
a mathematical term, "ratio" that means "correspondence."
The most obvious correspondence is one to one. Since it is a seven letter
name like Marlowe, let's see how they match out:
Three letters match,
so we have a remainder of four letters:
Now we have to ask
ourselves do these letters Caesar shift into one another?
And the answer is yes.
All four four letters Caesar shift by three
to morph into their Marlovian
analogs. The shift is cleverly hidden by the fact that two shift backwards and
two shift forwards. So H becomes E, O becomes L, T becomes W and I becomes M.
The first two move backwards by three
letters and the second two move forward by three
These letters then
supply the letters needed to shift or morph Horatio into Marlowe:
Three was a
number, so the relationship is a powerful one.
The modern reader
will, no doubt, wish to call attention to the fact that the shift is 4 for one of the letters. But this is a contemporary problem. Elizabethans did not
have a "j" in their alphabet. They used "i" for "j"s.
So using their alphabet, the shift is a perfect three.
I noticed this
after working on the Hamlet = Marley problem and it is my own insight.
Given Hamlet's conversation with Horatio about their wounded names and
"things standing thus unknown," I
think we can confidently conclude we were
being given all the clues required to decipher
Other important clues,
however, are to be found in the initial meeting between Hamlet and
Horatio. It takes place in I, ii. Horatio, Marcellus and
Bernardo encounter Hamlet, who seems to have a bit of trouble recognizing
Horatio, and apologizes to Horatio with the phrase, "or
I do forget myself."
Since Hamlet and
Horatio are both morphed names for Marlowe, the phrase "I
do forget myself,"
takes on additional meanings. Good ones. Humorous ones.
Hamlet then asks
Horatio why he is absent from their university, to which Horatio replies "A
Marlowe, we know, was accused of being absent or truant
from his university ca. 1587. So the parallel is important, since this is
about the right time for the Ur Hamlet to have been written.
Hamlet, like the Queen
and her Privy Councilors, stipulates otherwise, "I
know you are no truant. But what is your affair
The overtone here is
that Horatio is traveling on affairs
of state, just as young Marlowe did whist at Cambridge. The Privy
Council's entail or conciliar reads, "it
was not her Majesty's pleasure that any one employed as he had been in matters
touching the benefit of his Country should be defamed by those that are ignorant
in the affairs
he went about."
continues until Horatio says,
your admiration for a while With an attent ear, till I may deliver, Upon
the witness of these gentlemen, This marvel
Horatio is speaking,
on the superficial level, about his sighting of the ghost of Hamlet's father.
But the word "marvel"
here (and elsewhere) has another, now more obvious meaning.
Speaking of ghosts,
there is a ghost like character, other than Hamlet's father, that plays an
enduring role in Hamlet and whose real identity has been frequently
speculated about, one "poor Yoric,"
to be precise. I've never seen it mentioned but the name bears an obvious
relationship to Osric:
Only one of the
letters is different. And they, thus, easily Caesar shift or farm by six
to morph into their analog. (I am again indebted to Rafe for
noticing these two names, one of which isn't in the character list, in the same
I'd say in light of
what we've discovered, they were intended as clues in one of the world's
longest standing word games.
Most important of all,
is Hamlet's earlier reply to Horatio, which reads, "Sir my good friend; I'll
that name with you."
What is Hamlet
speaking about here? Surely this too is a clue from the Author about the
Caesar shift between their hidden names.
For those who don't
follow these matters too closely. The Marlowes were using the name in that
spelling in Canterbury, i.e., as "Marlowe," according to Urry and the extant
records. So we need not trouble ourselves in marveling if Marley knew the name
"Marlowe" was his. He did. And certainly by the time of
the present Hamlet, "Marlowe" had appeared in print many times, so the general
reading public knew it as well.
Now for the more
complex morph, the answer of which was sent to me by Szynowski. Laertes is
the brother of Ophelia and is given a very curious introduction. One part
of which is the phrase "you
shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see."
is a geographical term.
It therefore calls to
mind that a "wooden see" is an geographical term meaning a province
overseen by an "archiepiscopal see." This see means what can be
seen from the alter of an archbishop, hence "a wooden see."
example, is in the see of Emilia.
So the clues are
= "wooden see" = alter se
He is telling us to
take the name Laertes a part and see in it a wooden see, or an "alter
se." This cuts down the large number of possible anagrams to
For a man with "differences"
we might be encouraged to toss out one of these
differences, "t", we then have the remainder of "aler se".
these six letters are farmed we'll discover they they yield "Marley"
by a Caesar shift of six (which is twice three).
Only the "s"
and "e" in aler se" have to be shifted. They in fact both
Caesar shift backwards by six to yield "m" and "y",
So we are left with
the crop of:
which yields Marley.
So Laertes morphs into Marley. That's three ciphers in the names that
yield Marlowe's name, via Caesar shifts: Hamlet, Horatio and Laertes. Way too many for coincidence. Obviously
these ciphers were the intentional work of the Author. All three call to
mind Christopher Marlowe.
As I mentioned above, I am on this
morph, again, deeply indebted to Rafe Szynowski. I have added only my
observation that Laertes' introduction sets us up for the "wood se" or
the first switch. And I have laid it out in my terms. I reproduce below
Rafe's e-mail of last night (30 September 2003) which preserves his thinking
process on this one. It is brilliant to say the least.
|Hello again John.
It's your friend the British scientist here. By the way,
I should make clear that I don't work as a scientist
(I'm a civil servant) I just trained as a scientist
- but it's in the blood! I'll respond to your analysis of the clues
for HAMLET to MARLEY later, but will say now that when you talk on your
web page about the "necessary clue to ferret ..." this out, you
ought to add "or, alternatively, the
confirmer" since the value of the clues depends
on at which end of the puzzle we start, if you see what I mean!
First, do you remember that last Friday I said I was
working on another puzzle and would let you know if
anything unexpected turned up? Well it has.
I'd be interested, as usual, to know what you think of
this one. Can I leave it to you to post it, if you
think fit, on the newsgroup with any comments of
your own, however critical?
Laertes always struck me as an interesting name it hits
you at once as something 'anagramy'. In addition
there are words which sound like number and language
operating clues in the part of the play where he's introduced to
Hamlet (see the quote below). Here are the stages in my thinking
1) We must 'mirror' him. LAERTES = SETREAL.
2) We must 'divide' or split him 'inventorially' so as
to devise something new = SET REAL.
3) We must look for something 'of great article'. REAL
is an old gold or silver Spanish coin.
4) SET REAL tells us to set the words correctly but,
alas, has a large number of anagrams. However, we
are told to 'make true diction' or a pertinent choice
of words that is, relating to the puzzle and not to the play. The obvious
(i.e., it suits my purpose!) candidate is ALTER SE.
5) We are told by Osric that Laertes has 'differences',
and 'differences' includes in its meaning remainders
after subtractions. This suggests that one or more
of the letters have to be discarded.
6) We can play around with which to discard, but an
obvious candidate, since we already 'know' that the
play's alternative name is MARLEY, is T. That leaves
us with ALER SE.
7) SE 'alter' [back-shift 6] to M and Y respectively.
(Six is not a 'mystical' number
except being twice three, which is weak but I suspect this is to do
with the 'dozy .. arithmetic of memory' Any thoughts?)
8) If we rearrange ALERMY we get MARLEY.
I know that this too can be coincidence, but it's as
noteworthy as the other one I think.
ps Lunch sounds a great idea.
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