William Shakespeare is perhaps the greatest ever writer in the English language and his plays have been performed countless times and been made into dozens of movies, but what could be his connection with Oak Island?
At the end of last week’s episode of The Curse of Oak Island, a sneak peek for this week revealed an item found on the island turns out to be a piece of book binding — which prompts team member Craig Tester to question whether it could be part of Shakespeare’s lost manuscripts.
Fans of the show will know that not everybody thinks Shakespeare actually wrote all of his works, with several theories suggesting that Sir Francis Bacon could have been the literary talent behind both the works of Shakespeare and Christopher Marlow.
The argument goes that Shakespeare’s humble origins meant that he would not have the education, insider knowledge of how the royal court operated or the understanding of etiquettes and other matters to have written the plays that he did.
On a side note, it is worth pointing out that most Shakespeare scholars do believe he authored the works attributed to him, and that it wasn’t someone else. They point out that a lack of physical records regarding his life is not unusual for an author working during the era he did.
They also highlight the fact that nobody questioned his authorship at the time, nor for hundreds of years after his death.
However, some people do believe someone else may have been behind his works — and Sir Francis Bacon is usually first on the list of possible authors.
Bacon started from fairly humble origins and rose through the political ranks of England to become a Member of Parliament and later also became Lord Chancellor of the country.
His talents were not limited to the political sphere and many see him as the father of modern scientific reasoning, thanks to his method of studying things through observation and then evaluating the results.
He also studied and wrote a great deal about both religion and the law, the two other topics close to his heart. What many wonder is whether he added being a playwright to his many other talents.
Bacon was instrumental in the settlement of England’s North American colonies. Even more interesting is the fact that he was heavily involved in setting up Virginia, the Carolinas and Newfoundland. The latter takes us all the way to Oak Island, with theories suggesting that he may for some reason have had some of his most precious works or treasure hidden on the island.
Bacon also invented a cipher that was a form of steganography, where a secret message could be hidden in the way letters were presented rather just ciphered into the content. Some have previously looked through the works of Shakespeare to try and find evidence of Bacon’s cypher in the text.
If Bacon did hide a manuscript or some long lost works on Oak Island, then these could be almost priceless. In particular, if there was any concrete evidence that he’d authored some of the works attributed to Shakespeare then the discovery would shock the literary world to its core and rewrite a large part of the history of the English language. It would also mean The Curse of Oak Island would go down in history itself.
The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on History.