Those then are the major facts related to the possibility that Christopher Marlowe survived his supposed death at Deptford and continued to write poems and plays as a ghost writer for 'William Shakespeare'. Anyone familiar with the concept of probability will recognize that the odds against the sheer number of interlinked coincidences revealed in this paper happening by chance would make the National Lottery jackpot seem a relatively safe bet.

In particular, we have seen that:

In addition to what is discussed here, I have discovered that the words of the monument in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon, are in the form of a riddle, the answer to which shows that it is in fact a monument not only to William Shakespeare, but also to Christopher Marlowe! This is fully explained in my paper The Stratford Monument: A Riddle and its Solution (at http://www2.prestel.co.uk/rey/epitaph.htm).

The only combination of circumstances to provide a logical explanation for these facts is that Shakespeare's 'predecessor', the poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe, survived May 1593, went into hiding, and for the rest of his life gave his work to the world via the man from Stratford-upon-Avon.

All that is really required for this whole theory to make sense is for it to be accepted that a faked death is possible. Shakespeare himself hoped that we would accept it of course, since several of his plays, including one of his earliest, Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), and one of his latest, The Winter's Tale (Hermione), have a faked death as a central feature of the plot. Measure for Measure even has a plan to use the remains of an executed prisoner to save the hero's life and, speaking of a 'hero', it is interesting that Shakespeare himself changed the name of the character who 'died to live' in Much Ado About Nothing to a name so closely associated with Marlowe. It is perhaps also worth noting that exile or banishment figure in over a quarter of Shakespeare's plays, and an assumed identity in more than half of them.

The very last words of Shakespeare's very last solo effort, The Tempest, are spoken by Prospero directly to the audience. They seem to show the poet recognizing that death is now not far off and that soon it will be too late for him to receive the pardon he craves.

Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant;
And my ending is despair
Unless I be relieved by prayer
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself, and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
They don't really seem to have a lot to do either with Prospero or with William Shakespeare from Stratford, do they? Touchstone ('That which serves to test or try the genuineness or value of anything.' O.E.D.) puts it better than I could.
When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.
(As You Like It, III.3.9-12)

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