Shakespeare and the Mystery of Three: Loves Labour’s Lost

There’s a mystery afoot, and very much an enigma it is. I’ve searched the internet, and cannot find the answer, or even a mention of what I have questioned. I have searched Google books, with it’s millions of volumes and none allude it. Could it be that no one has ever noticed it before? Or as Sherlock Holmes said in A Scandal in Bohemia “You see, but you do not observe“? I’m sure others have thought about it in passing, but has no one ever stopped to examine my little conundrum?

Here is my question, why is Shakespeare’s “Loves Labour’s Lost” so fixcated on the number “Three”? Three for example is mentioned only 8 times in both Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caeser. Three is mentioned merely 9 time’s in Shakespeare’s longest play Hamlet. Macbeth has an unlucky 13 mentions. And Yet in Loves Labour’s Lost three is mentioned 47 times! Why?

I saw the play performed by the Maryland Shakespeare Festival in Frederick, and mentioned in the talk back afterward that I had noticed three was mentioned quite often. A couple people acknowledge that it does seem to pop up a lot, but they never really thought about it, and couldn’t see any significances. But 47 times? Even if three was considered a magical number back in the days of yore, 47 times is a lot of Mojo.

Here’s a short comparison:
Three is Mentioned 47
God is mentioned only 32 time
Two 13
Four 12
Five 9
Six is not mentioned once, so we will count the single Sixth found as 1
Seven? No seven, but 1 seventh
Eight 0
Nine 5

I’ve searched though the plays text, and can’t find any particular reason for the number three, other then maybe Shakespeare was having a “I think I’ll use the number three a whole lot” kind of day.
The King has 3 companions, who are there to study for 3 years
“You three, Berowne, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years’ term to live with me”

Note: He also has ADRIANO DE ARMADO whom is there to study as a 4th but is never considered one of the “Three” companions

* Princess has 3 Ladies in waiting
* The Nine Worthies were:
3 Pagan: Hector,  Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar
3 Jewish: Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus
3 Christian: King Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon
* “And then, to sleep but three hours in the night”
* “You three, Berowne, Dumain, and Longaville, Have sworn for three years’ term to live with me”
* The world was very guilty of such a ballad some three ages since
* “nor no penance; but a’ must fast three days a week”
* “The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee, Were still at odds, being but three. There’s the moral”.
(Do you really want to keep reading these examples?)
* “three farthings: three farthings remuneration”, “And, among three, to love the worst of all!”
* “he came, one; saw two; overcame, three. Who came? the king”
* “Honey, and milk, and sugar; there is three”
* “By Jove, I always took three threes for nine”
* “Great Hercules is presented by this imp, Whose club kill’d Cerberus, that three-headed canis”
* “With three-fold love I wish you all these three”
* I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the plough for her sweet love three years.”
* ADRIANO DE ARMADO: I am all these three.
MOTH: And three times as much more, and yet nothing at

And there is of course many more references, but nary a significances.

“The Shakespeare Cryptograph™”
Forget the Da Vinci Code, there is a real live mystery to be solved and one that I have yet to find an answer to. A conundrum that I have spent way to much time on (A couple hours at least). Yes, we have our own “Shakespeare Cryptograph™”. Why “Cryptograph? Because all the cool names like Shakespeare Code, Shakespeare Enigma, Shakespeare mystery etc. are all taken, and If I’ve stumbled onto a mystery that could bring down nations, and discredit religions, I want to make sure I can copy-write the name for the eventual movie.

So if you have any idea what all this means, or why I am even spending my time on it, please feel free to let me know.

Loves Labour’s Lost: Complete text

Word count tool that I used to find the number of times a word is used:

2 Responses

  1. Hi jamie,

    saw your question re threes in Loves’ Labour’s Lost and offer a solution.

    I tried to find you on literature networks but alas no such luck, any way, I hope you have the mental agillity for this solution of mine:

    To save time and tyoing, please accept the the abc used in those days had 24 letters, because of no J and no U.

    Please also accept that if A was 1 and B was 2, then AB as a number was1 and 2 wwhich is 3.

    In other words the guys who created L L L used alphabets and the place-values of the letters, and added them together to form numbers in place of words.

    Now, firstly, consider the letter L eleventh, thus L = 11, so the THREE initials in Loves’ Labour’s Lost are 11 + 11 + 11 which sums to 33.

    This is not a lucky strike: Consider Romeo and Iuliet (remember, no J then)

    Now. at ehe very end, their are THREE persons lying dead in the crypt, and they are: Romeo, Iuliet and Paris.

    These THREE names provide us with THREE initials R I P, which is appropriate for such a scene.

    The numbers of the THREE letters are: R (17) I (9) and P(15)

    but the guys who did all that work used THREE alphabets: aLatin one, a Greek one and the 17th century English one.

    In Rome, the letters V and I were 5 and 1 respectively, but in Greece (and England) the same letters had the values of 20 and 9.

    In other words they who did all the work use the Roman value of I for Iuliet’s name (her’s is the feminine of the Roman name, Iulias) with the result that the THREE initials R I P make the sum of 33.

    So why did they use a total of 47 THREES?

    The chances are that you have read some of Shakespeares Sonnets, but the chances are even greater that you haver not been drawn to the verses at the back of the Sonnets, namely ‘A Lover’s Complaint’.

    It seems olden even by the standards of the early 17th century, but it is a most important text -if only scholars grasped the facts.

    Anyway, A Lover;s Compalint has a tiotal of 47 verses.

    Now. 47 is a prime number (check it out if u r not sure) and it was picked for a very special reason, but here is not the place for explanations.

    Please accept there are 47 verses in total.

    Consider verse 1:

    Line 3, word 3 is ‘TO’

    T was 19 and O was 14, their sum being 33.

    Consider verse 3:

    Line 3, word 3, is SILKEN

    letter 3 is L

    L was 11

    3 times 11 is 33.

    SILKEN has 6 letters

    counting from the left: letter 2 is I and is number 1 in the Roman system,
    counting from the right: letter 2 is E and is number 5 in the Greek abc.

    1 plus 5 is of course 6.

    The six letters SILKEN when converted to numbers and added sum to 66.

    66 divided by 2 is 33, so 66 is 33 and 33.

    Now, if we turn a few pages back into the Sonnets, in particular to Sonnet 66, we find:

    Tyr’d with all these for restfull death I cry,
    As to behold desert a begger borne,
    And needie Nothing trimd in iollitie,
    And purest faith vnhappily forsworne,
    And gilded honor shamefully misplast,
    And maiden vertue rudely strumpeted,
    And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,
    And strength by limping sway disabled,
    And arte made tung-tide by authoritie,
    And Folly (Doctor-like) controuling skill,
    And simple-Truth miscalde Simplicitie,
    And captiue-good attending Captaine ill.
    Tyr’d with all these, from these would I be gone,
    Saue that to dye, I leaue my loue alone.

    [Sonnet 66]

    I can’t get into all of the sonnet here, but notice the left side initials: by collecting all fourteen of them and adding their abc values we find the sum is 66.

    In passing, and bearing in mind that number, 47 etc, lines 4 to 7 reflect exactly what is going on in ‘A Lover’s Complaint’, insomuch as the theme is of a very upset female dumped by a cuckold etc etc. Reading it all takes much patience.

    Before I leave the subject, I will show you a little trich they used in the Sonnets, in various places: consider the sonnet as a little flower bed. Each row of text is a row of flowers (words) . Now, go round the edges of the garden, stopping only at the four corners, and pluck a petal (letter) thus collecting these four letters:

    T y e S

    Notice it forms YES T.

    T was 19 in the abc.

    The 19th word in this sonnet is Nothing

    The first THREE letters are NOT and these form TO N.

    We have seen that TO has the number of 33, and N was 13th in the abc.

    This is not a direction, like ‘go to 13’ ,it means something quite profound concerning the letter N, and it’s old abc value, but to grasp it requires an understanding of Homer’s Odessey. and certain weapon, which belongs to the hero of the tale. Without grasping that, it is quite impssible to grasp the other.

    Anyway, you might have some idea of the complexity of the whole thing. It took quite a few characters all working together to create it all, and all the plays and sonnets etc are part of the thing.

    One character in particular was at the head of the crew, his name was Bacon, and the number of his name is 33.

    I could go on, but I have given far too much info, and its easy to go over the threshold of boredom. The subject requires great concentration and patience.

    Well, you got an answer Jamie, I hope it serves you well.

    By the way, my web page is very disorganised – sorry.

    best regards

  2. Hi again Jamie

    I had to apologise for my poor typing and thus spelling, but all’s well where it counts.

    Just thought I might add a little bit extra re the number THREE:-

    Noting that the ‘corners’ of the ‘flower bed’ are TyeS and that is says YES T, it should be noted that it also forms TYE S as in tie a posy of flowers.

    Now, S was 18 in the old abc, so we count down to the 18th word which located in line THREE and is ‘needie’.

    Now we find the abc values of these six letters NEEDIE and noting that I is Roman, thus value of 1, we tie them all together – i.e we add them and take the sum, which is 33, a little posie.

    Tyr’d with all these for restfull death I cry,
    As to behold desert a begger borne,
    And needie Nothing trimd in iollitie,

    The first name of Bacon was Francis, the number in this case is 67, and therefore Francis Bacon sums up to 100.

    Consider this: LIne 3 in the sonnet above:

    And needie Nothing trimd in iollitie,

    see the 3rd word Nothing is followed by the 4th word trimd (trimmed):

    We can ‘trim’ NOTHING in this fashion: Trim off NO because they tell us they are no longer required, we are left with THING.

    Take this THING, and read it as TH in G, and convert to numbers:

    T H in G becomes 19 + 8 in 7, which sums to 27 in (plus) 7 which makes the final number of 34.

    Note it is one greater than the number of Bacon which is 33.

    Now add 33 to 34, and we arrive at the sum of 67, which is the number of Francis.

    But it said TYE S and S was 18, so if we tie 1 and 8 together, we get the sum of 9. which is the value of the Greek (and English) letter I.

    Now, everyone knows the Greeks and Romans got on well together, but at times they had their differences.

    In ancient Rome, I was not 9 but 1, so if S was 18, then according to the Romans, the sum of 1 and 8 is 1.

    What does this mean? Well, we now have two values for the same thing, and if we count along line 1, to word 9, we see that letter 1 in the THREE-letter word cry, is C, which was 3 in the alphabet.

    I must trim this now, but in passing say that it can be proven that by counting contrawise THREE words from the last word in the sonnet,

    Saue that to dye, I leaue my loue alone.

    which is ‘alone’, we land on ‘my’.

    Now, MY according to all that has gone before this, would produce the sum of
    35, but that would be wrong. The actual value, as set by those men in the days of Elizabet I, is really 13. and we return to needing understanding of Homer’s Odessey, and what ‘one’ man alone (just 1 man) was able to do – ‘al-one’.

    See what I mean about complex?

    Again my apologies Jamie, if I could have edited I would have.


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