The Tempest

The Tempest and its’ spurious link to “The Voyage of the Sea Venture” is the most quoted by academic Stratfordians to refute the Oxfordian assertions that the Earl of Oxford, who died in 1604 wrote Shakespeare’s poetry and plays. This supposed or blatantly flawed academic theory was confirmed by E. K. Chambers who theorised that the play was inspired and written describing the wreck of the Sea Venture, captained by Sir George Somers on its’ way to Virginia on 25th July 1609. It was based on a manuscript report (printed in 1625) written by William Strachey to the London Council of Virginia in 1610. Charlton Ogburn suggests that the jobbing actor, William Shagspere was not even in London at that time and could not have had access to the letter let alone used it as a source for his play. Had William Shakespeare required some actual narrative report for the Tempest he might easily have turned to Henry May’s report of a shipwreck in the Bermudas in 1593 in the Edward Bonaventure owned by Edward de Vere. However, the real problem or crux of this narrative dilemma is the play is actually set just off the coast of Tunisia not in the West Indies, indeed the name of the character of Calypso is derived from an island among the Balearics off the coast of Spain. The Tempest is quite likely the last play the Earl of Oxford would have written and could have even been uncompleted on his death. In this newly discovered ancient Eden we can sow the seeds of a New Kingdom of Virginia. The idea of establishing an “English Utopia” in a land already populated by supposedly “ignorant natives” obsessed the free thinkers of England since the time of John (Giovanni) Cabot who travelled to North America on his second voyage in 1497 and lived in Henry VIIIth’s reign. As many people know the scholar, essayist and lawyer, Sir Thomas More (1477-1535) was beheaded for treason when he refused to acknowledge the King’s Act of Succession which would deny any illegitimate child of the presiding monarch accession to the English throne after their death. This act did not prevent Elizabeth Tudor from accession much to the chagrin of her stepdaughter Mary Stuart, later Queen of Scots. Sir Thomas More wrote his own Utopia in 1516 and a History of King Richard III which were no doubt sources for other Shakespeare history plays. Incidentally, the play Sir Thomas More (a version of which Christopher Marlowe wrote in collaboration with William Shakespeare) was first produced in 1529 and performed by Cardinal Wolsley’s Men. Furthermore, in 1902 Edward Everett Hale theorised that the dramatic location described by Shakespeare bears no resemblance whatsoever to a “Tropical or Mediterranean Island”, since there are no palm trees or hint of tropical vegetation in the scenes or locations of The Tempest.

Instead, and a quite contradictory assertion by Hale states that the play was probably inspired by the landing of Bartholomew Gosnold on the shores of Cuttyhunk, (Elizabeth Islands) south of Falmouth, Virginia (USA) in 1602. His expedition was financed and commissioned by Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton (Oxford’s illegitimate son) so it maybe more likely that the Earl of Oxford not Will Shakspere who had met and conversed with these marine adventurers on their return.

The Sonnets Code deciphered in an 18 by 9 grid

Furthermore, it seems quite likely that the dedication in the Sonnets was actually addressed to “The Well-wishing Adventurer in setting forth” could be referring to that particular voyage even though the Sonnets were not published until 1609, five years after the death of Edward de Vere. Numerous parallels suggest that Shakespeare’s description “How lush and lusty the grass looks, how green”, while Gosnold writes “meadows very large and full of green grass” and “Stearnes, geese, and divers other birds which did breed upon the cliffs” which is similar in thread to Caliban’s description: “I’ll get thee young sea-mews [scamels] from the rock”. Other parallels include Gosnold’s report of “herbs and roots and ground nuts…mussel shells” while Ferdinand talks of: “Thy food shall be fresh brook mussels,-roots and herbs” and Caliban also suggests “Dig thee pig nuts, with my long nails”. Of the trees mentioned there are oak, pine and cedar, nothing remotely tropical. William Shagspere of Stratford-upon-Avon on the other hand had never even been near a coastline let alone set forth in a ship or boat to anywhere. However, the question remains who else might have completed the remainder of the play in the Earl’s absence. Several theories have been presented for example either Ben Jonson , Sir Francis Bacon or the Earl of Derby might have been responsible since the adventurer William Strachey, who wrote the letter, was a good friend of both men who wrote plays and worked in the theatre. Given this set of circumstances references to the wreck of the Sea Venture must have been deliberate attempts by “anonymous agents” to erase any connection with Shakespeare’s plays to the Earl of Oxford. Karl Elze states that “all external arguments and indications are in favour of the year 1604” because Ben Jonson paraphrases and satirises the play in Volpone in 1605. Furthermore, there are similarities to another play (Die Schöne Sidea) by Jacob Ayrer of Nuremburg who died in 1605. Even so despite his own foreknowledge of this fact, E. K. Chambers fails to admit any connection to that work as it would undermine the Stratfordian’s false hypothesis to a much later date. To sow doubt with some carefully chosen anomaly, ambiguity or omission is the sublime art of the propagandist. A. S. Cairncross, along with Charlton Ogburn appears to support the modern view that conventional academics have for too long overestimated by some ten years the dating of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry.

The links to my publications “Shakespeare’s Qaballah”, a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry, “Pathenogenesis” are as follows:


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