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
Six is not mentioned once, so we will count the single Sixth found as 1
Seven? No seven, but 1 seventh
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.
Word count tool that I used to find the number of times a word is used:
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