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Shakespeare and Saturn

Accounting for Appearances


Peter D. Usher

In the mid-sixteenth century, Copernicus asserted that the Earth was not the center of the universe as was generally believed, but that the sun lay there instead. The relegation of the Earth to the rank of an orbiting planet meant that humankind lost its privileged position as well, thus prompting re-evaluation of all facets of human existence. This transformation in worldview gathered momentum throughout Shakespeare’s writing career, yet his canon appears to lack reference to it. Peter D. Usher has studied Hamlet and other Shakespearean plays and has uncovered a consistent pattern of reference to phenomena that prove the correctness of the new worldview, including reference to the infinite universe of stars. These data could not have been known without telescopic aid, which indicates that systematic telescopic study of celestial objects began before the generally accepted date of 1610. In Shakespeare and Saturn, Usher summarizes earlier results and shows that in All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare takes account of the last supernova eruption of 1604 known to have occurred in the Milky Way galaxy. He shows further that in Much Ado About Nothing and The Comedy of Errors Shakespeare makes observations concerning Saturn’s spectacular ring system that are remarkably accurate.
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Chapter 3. Much Ado About Nothing




There’s no great banquet, but some fare ill. OLD ENGLISH PROVERB

The word “nothing” in the title of Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare (herein Much Ado or MA) is a euphemism for missing genitals, which we posit is a property of the characters’ genderless, spiritual, subtextual doppelgangers of the sort encountered in other plays of the celestial genre. “Nothing” is also a homophone for “noting,” which can mean noticing or knowing, and can refer to eavesdropping, musical notation, or observation (Bate and Rasmussen MA p.x, 3n; McEachern MA 2; Mares 33; Miola MA 1, 1.1.55n). Concerning these three, “eavesdropping” plays a crucial role in the play’s misunderstandings and clarifications; “notation” refers to the metaphorical Music of the Spheres to which ancient Pythagorean ears were attuned; and “observation” is a key ingredient of the theory of scientific interpretation, which leads to scientia—knowledge. This chapter interprets the light and the dark sides of Much Ado and the different paths to marriage of the play’s two pairs of lovers, which is about knowing properties of the planet Saturn and its double-ringed system, and posits that this knowledge leads to a prediction of the Earth’s ring-plane transit time of remarkable accuracy. Unattributed references in this chapter are to Mares. ← 125 | 126 →

3.1. Messina

Much Ado opens in Messina, a port in northeast Sicily separated from the Italian mainland by a narrow strait. Present are: the Governor of...

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