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January 12, 2005

Another sketchy Shakespeare theory

Writing in Clinical and Infectious Diseases, Dr. John Ross argues that Shakespeare’s Writings Indicate He May Have Had Syphilis.

The evidence:

1. A lot of people had syphilis in those days.
2. "Shakespeare alluded to sexually transmitted disease (STD) symptoms--and treatments--in several of his plays and poems, including Troilus and Cressida, As You Like It, and Sonnets....Mentions of the “pox,” the “malady of France,” the “infinite malady,” and the “hoar leprosy” in his writings seem to indicate that the Bard knew--perhaps from personal experience--how torturous venereal disease could be. “Shakespeare’s knowledge of syphilis is clinically precise,” said John Ross, MD, author of the study. A line in Sonnet 154, “Love’s fire heats water,” apparently refers to an STD causing burning urination."
3. "In Shakespeare’s time, one of the treatments for syphilis, inhalation of mercury vapor, was worse than the disease. Dr. Ross suggests that Shakespeare’s tremulous signature on his will, his social withdrawal in later years, and even his baldness might all be due to a mild degree of mercury vapor poisoning."

QED, folks. Likewise, Shakespeare was probably a great military commander. There were a lot of wars in those days, he talks a lot about battle in his plays, and he seems to know the horror of war first hand. Influential parallel arguments have been made to the effect that Shakespeare was heterosexual.

[Via Boing Boing.]


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There also seems to be evidence that he was a woman:
1. There were a lot of women in those days.
2. He seems to write a lot a bout women.
3. He had long hair, but was balding in the middle (just like Queen Elizabeth I)
QED: Queen Elizabeth was Shakespeare.

I think he was the king of England, or possibly Denmark

Is it just me, or do tremors in one's hands, social withdrawal, and balding sound like, you know, aging?

Perhaps Shakespeare wasn't suffering from mercury poisoning, but was instead suffering from, and I admit this may be somewhat controversial a statement, human mortality!

Any reference to syphilis in the works of William Shakespeare can be traced to Christopher Marlowe.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to explain it all now so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Passages from The Merchant of Venice and Othello also prove he was an African Jew.

The baldness thing has me worried though; I was putting it down to age and poor shampooing technique in my ponytailed days...

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