The Death of Usury (1594): Origin of The Merchant of Venice?

The Death of Usury, frts., 1594Fig. 1        Folger Library

Folger Library, Death, Usury, 1594, plaintextFig. 2     Folger Library  

The Death of Usury, 1594, Ed VERE, I'm verumFig. 3

Death of Usury, 1594, ITALY, I, E.O.Fig. 4

   The most noteworthy feature of Array 102 is the letter-string ITALY.  Although the cluster itself is simply that, with no other hidden material save the date of 1594 and the “E.O.” (Edward Oxford/Earl Oxford), the observable fact of Italy appearing in a frontispiece, an anonymous one at that, connected as well to usury (in fact sharing a Y, thus making the two words fused, therefore a likely meaningful pairing) —  and considering The Merchant of Venice was written in the same time frame as the publication of the frontispiece (1594) of the pamphlet, The Death of Usury, makes the letter-string an unlikely coincidence.  I say this, as the same algorithm I use to calculate all raw probabilities for the letter-strings I show in the arrays I produce, give the raw probability that ITALY was a chance occurrence, a random set of letters in the plaintext is:  one chance in 3, 986, 274.  In short, 3.9 million to one.  Stated another way, this figure as a converted percentage calculation says that when ITALY is found as an equidistant letter sequence, it is 99.9999% possible it occurred by chance.  Although these calculations (as I have stated many times in my work) must be taken with a grain of salt ,they are, however, a strong suggestion that coincidence is not in play, but rather intelligent design (deliberate placement) is the reason the letter-string is where it is.

Death of Usury, ERLE ROMEFig. 5

   This just may be what coincidence looks like.  The Merchant of Venice, Italy, usury, Rome, Erle.  Amazing. But that is what serendipity, coincidence, fluke, chance, randomness, and so forth, is.

I. XV. MMXIV      


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