TROYLUS and CRESSIDA (CRESSEID) (Quartos A and B, 1609, 1623): INTRODUCTION

 [Please read “Pen Names and Shaddowes” first.]

                                                  Quarto A, 1609

Troilus, frontispiece, 1609, Quarto A

Fig. 1

Troilus, frontispiece, 1609, Quarto A, VEREFig 2

                                                   Quarto B, 1609

Troilus frontispiece, 1609, Quarto B

                                                                             Fig. 3

Greek Warrior and Shield, JPEG

                            Fig. 4 (Ferris © 2010):     Achilles at the Siege of  Troy      

Troilus, Frontispiece, 1609, Quarto B

  

                                                                                   Fig. 5

   Troilus and Cressida has been largely classified (or considered, accepted) as one of anywhere from three (Troilus and Cressida, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Measure for Measure) to six plays (some critics extend the play-count to include The Winter’s Tale, Timon of Athens, and The Merchant of Venice) that carry the epithet, “problem plays”, a term coined by the literary critic of modern plays, F.S. Boas (1862 – 1957) in his work, Shakespeare and his Predecessors (1896).  Like any successful epithet, the name stuck; sort of like the epithets of Homer that follow their subject or character around like cue cards for the reader or play-going audience.  For example, references to Achilles (“the fleet-footed Achilles”), Zeus (“the cloud-gatherer”), and a host of others as well.  To some, Troilus and Cressida is labile, in the sense that in a single tragedy the mood changes from the grimness of classical tragedy to sophomoric and often hysterical comedy, similar to the Elizabethan equivalent of Saturday Night Live.  

   The ‘problem plays’ are now presumed to have been written in the late 1590s to about 1602.  Troilus and Cressida is given a production date of 1602.  Note this particular date as the center-most year of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton’s imprisonment in the Tower as a result of his considered treasonous participation in the Essex Rebellion.  As we shall see at a later time, what appears in Troilus and Cressida is rage and thwarted justice, when letter-strings (codes) are found in various plaintexts in the play (rightful heirs, betrayal, ambition, and distorted values, to name a few.

   In some respects, Troilus and Cressida (Cresseid) is riddled  with enigmas and contradictions.  First of all, the exact date of its writing is unknown.  Scholars have gleaned from various reports and mentions of the play as most likely having been written as early as 1602.  We do know that two editions were published in quarto  in 1609.  Both editions have different title pages/frontispieces, and appear to contradict each other when considered along side a “Preface” to one edition, but absent in the other.  The Preface (substituting “v”s for “u”s for greater visual understanding, as well as the “u”s in question are intended to be “v”s)  begins:

Troilus, Preface, A never writer

  How can a play be “new” and never performed on stage, and at the same time, according to the title page of Quarto B, previously acted by the Kings Maiesties servants”  

   The two 1609 quarto editions are often referred to as Quarto A and Quarto B.  Both title pages report the date of printing as 1609.  Both title pages state each respective printed version can be purchased at the “spred Eagle” (presumably a shop) in the churchyard of Saint Pauls, at a location there “over against the great North doore.”  Both editions cite William Shakespeare as the author.  The name of the printer (G. Eld) and presumably the two persons (R. Bonian and H. Walley) authorizing both publications are also listed on both frontispieces, and in the same manner.

  The title page of Quarto A reads:  The Historie of Troylus and Cressida, whereas Quarto B reads:  The Famous Historie of Troylus and Cresseid.  Quarto A  states the play had been performed at least once by the the Kings Majesties servants, and that this performace took place at the Globe theater.  Quarto B does not mention either a previous performance or the name of a theater.

   As mentioned above, speculation places the writing of Troilus and Cressida (Cresseid)  at 1602 at the earliest.  However, neither title page has an internal clue as to the 1602 date, but Quarto A does say the play “ . . .was acted by the Kings Maiesties . . . ” servants.  Not the “Queene’s Maiesties” servants.  Elizabeth I died in 1603.  King James I took office in 1604.  The most likely date of a performace acted before him would have been no earlier than 1604.  If there was an earlier performance date, it seems probable this would have been mentioned on one or both frontispieces.  Since King James I was still king in 1609, it stands to reason he or one of his representatives would have contradicted the previous performance having taken place.  It is, then, more likely Troylus and Cressida (Cresseid)  was indeed performed, rather than not.

   If this is so, then the Preface to one of the quarto editions is factually true.  This means Quarto A is in error; or the Preface is in error and Quarto A is accurate, with Quarto B remaining silent on the issue of prior performance.  At the least, we do not have certainty, but it is certain we have contradiction.

[ Before continuing, go to the sub-section beneath the Troylus and Cressida (Cresseid) category heading    to read more about the PREFACE , by clicking HERE]  

   Is this contradiction an oversight by the writer(s) of the two frontispieces, or is it by intelligent design; i.e., by omitting words (and therefore letters) so as to enable codes (letter-strings) to be planted in both frontispieces of Quartos A and B, and later retrieved by those in the know, through equidistant letter sequencing?

   The ambiguity of lacking a precise date of the writing of Troylus and Cressida (Cresseid) suggest to me this question:  Is it possible the play was written after the alleged death of Edward de Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford in 1604?  If this is so, then did Oxford fake his own death and go on to write plays strongly considered by mainstream scholarship to have been written up to 1616 by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon?  If Edward de Vere is indeed Shakespeare, then he was alive after 1604.  The section, The King James Bible (click here) supports de Vere as both being alive and writing as late as 1609.

   At present, the arrays below are in a broad category I call ‘pen-names and shadows’.  When I discuss each play as a single chapter, I’ll  go into greater detail, hopefully resulting in a more thematic, cohesive and unified way, rather than just what, for the time being, are oddities I present as I go along.

Troilus, Voyce of VERE, E.C.O., JPEG                                                                                Fig. 6
   Again, we have a ‘signature’:  1. Both letter-strings and clusters carry the same message ; 2. the additional biographical identification (E.C.O. = Edwardus Comes Oxoniensis) of either/or — the encoder, or the subject —  is given the attribution that 3. “E. Vere” (Edward Vere) is to be given credit, as the “voyce” is “E. Vere’s” voice; 4. depending on one’s ‘degree of belief’, the letter-strings and clusters are unlikely to occur randomly; 5.  and therefore represent the presence of encryptions in the Shakespeare canon; 6. that they were put there deliberately, and 7. are merely two of hundreds of encryptions so far found; and lastly, 8. the “voyce” is not that of any other contender for the authorship of the Shakespeare canon, namely:  William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon; Sir Francis Bacon; Christopher Marlowe, et.al.).   (Jan. 18, 2013)
Troilus, PEN NON, VAILE hand, JPEG

                                                                              Fig. 7

   Both arrays state essentially the same thing, almost as if de Vere wanted to be ‘in your face’.  Oxford spoke Latin and Greek fluently.  Although the word “pen name” was ‘noticed’ for the first time much later, as I have mentioned previously, for arguably the greatest writer in the English world, coining ‘pen nom’ or any other descriptor would have been easy to create, especially when it is a matter of record, several thousand neologisms are credited to ‘Shakespeare’ (de Vere), hundreds of which are in common use in our language today.  The spelling of “veil” as “vaile” (not “vail”) occurs nine times in the First Folio, according to the Shakespeare concordance of the University of Chicago on-line library.

  The two clusters can be read in a number of ways, but the message is that what is being talked about is codes, encryptions placed deliberately and by design in the plaintexts.  “TEST” is a clear challenge, or instruction, for the discoverer of the letter-strings and clusters to check out Earl de Vere’s use of a ‘pen nom’, placed in the plaintext with his “hidden, veiled hand-skill” for validation as to demonstrated authenticity of his ability to create such messages.  The obvious implication is that there are more to be found in the canon.  “Shaddowes and shaddowes of shaddowes.”

Troilus, SEVEN:TEN, JPEG

                                                                            Fig. 8

   Oxford used many pen names as forms of epithetical identification, not just in encryptions as a means of identifying himself, but in publications meant for public perusal (Thomas Nashe, Robert Greene, and so forth), one of which is frequently encountered (in letter-strings) in many of his writings.  “TEN SEVEN” or ‘TEEN SEVEN” (and their mirror images:  “SEVEN TEN” and ‘SEVEN TEEN”) are two such identifiers, along with one of the most recognizable:  “E.C.O.”  The use of “17” is a powerful presence in an array, especially if it correlates or corresponds to the public and private life of Edward de Vere within any given plaintext.

   By 1602, Oxford has already endured the possible life imprisonment of his son (Henry Wriothesley) by Elizabeth I, as well as being in the end stages of  physical and neurological devastation caused by  progressive syphilitic infection (The Pox, in Elizabethan nomenclature).  This is speculative, but there are behaviors in the life of Oxford that clearly show, in his writing as Shakespeare (and others, under differing pen names), not only that he contracted the disease as a young man, but that end-stage syphillis is behaviorally present in his later plays, notably in the madness of King Lear.

   The disappointment of not being declared the legimate heir to the throne of England by Elizabeth, and therefore of his son’s (Southampton) denial of legitimacy, and potential (or right) to eventually become King Henry 9th, is beginning to eat at him, especially as he knows Queen Elizabeth to be of declining physical and mental health.  In effect, his hopes of ever being able to declare himself openly rather than anonymously is fading.  The message, then, is that both he and Henry (both referred to metaphorically as the “sunne”) are becoming increasing erased from history in every way (“vaile”d and “dark”ened; and that his life “. . . is done.”

#3 Troilus, 1609:1623, HELEN, Harri's will, JPEG

                                                                        Fig. 9

   Stronger support for Prince Tudor theory may be seen in the two arrays above.  By 1602, Oxford has withdrawn more and more from Court life, and states he is unable to make appearances due to “my infirmity”.  By this, I believe he is referring to his physical deformities due to the pox, as well as having serious difficulties with basic motility.  Doubtless, his chronic lameness exacerbates the great problem of travelling, by horse or carriage, over long distances to partake in Court affairs.

   It is a matter of record Elizabeth is often referred to (in Oxfordian literature) as Helen of Troy, and de Vere as Paris.  In the context of the encryptions, however, this reference is personal.  De Vere is saying he is “kin” to Elizabeth, as well as to what may be a shadowed reference to her father (“Harri”) and possibly, therefore, to Harri being de Vere’s grandfather as well).  The “will” may be pointing out the correct line of succession as it previously applied to Elizabeth and her offspring, and therefore to de Vere and Elizabeth’s and de Vere’s son, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton.

Troilus, HOMER, JPEG

                                                                            Fig. 10 
   Although the use of footnotes was not in use in Elizabethan times, nor were there copyright laws protecting intellectual property, we have seen (Fig. 5) how skilfull is de Vere’s (or that of  another’s) encryption ability.  From my perspective, it is more the rule than the exception any scrutinized plaintext has more than a single letter-string.  In fact, each plaintext letter-string, even though present in different arrays, correlate with the public and personal life of de Vere, that not to give the benefit of the doubt in favor of deliberate design, is difficult to understand.
   The story of Troilus and Cressida is purely fictional.  There are no historical personages named Troilus and Cressida, not with regard to each given name, but with regard to the tragic story-line.  It is, however, based on Homer’s Iliad, and pertains to the death of Hector, Troy’s greatest warrior who is slain by the Myrmidon, Achilles.
   And so, in Fig. 8 above, the letter-string “HOMER” touches and is connected to subject matter related to fictional, rather than historic, drama pertaining to the siege of Troy, and nothing else.     (January 19, 2013)

Historical documentation bears witness to Oxford’s gift for languages.  In fact, much of what is written in the canon comes from works not yet translated into English.  From the perspective of plaintext encryption, what would, in present-day, require source footnoting, I believe Oxford does exactly what we do now, although his motivation is to further identify what he writes as being of his own creation.  The fortunate result for us is in finding encryptions in hundreds and hundreds of cases, using the same methodology as was used to make the original encryptions, and further expands our appreciation of Edward de Vere’s creative genius.

In Troilus and Cressida, what is apparent is the continual themes of honour, loyalty, and the questioning of what defines the moral behavior of individuals in a society, as well as with respect to relations with other cultures.

#1 Troilus, PLATO, JPEG

                                                                            Fig. 11

An embellished Array 28 (Fig. 9):

#2 Troilus, PLATO, Embellished, JPEG

                                                                            Fig. 12
Troilus, PLATO, Calc., JPEG
                                                                            Fig. 13           (January 20, 2013)

I.XXIII.MMXIII      

 

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