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.
Examples:
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
all.

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:
http://rainbow.arch.scriptmania.com/tools/word_counter.html

FREE: Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture 2010: Jonathan Bate at the Folgers April 26th – “The Good Life in Shakespeare”

Jonathan Bate

Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture in Washington DC
Jonathan Bate on “The Good Life in Shakespeare”.
Professor Bate will discuss the Epicurean tradition through As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale, and Measure for Measure.

Everyone knows I love the word FREE! Well here is a free lecture by the author of several books on Shakespeare who also does features for BBC’s Radio 4. I really wish I could make this, but I have to travel on business that week and will be out of town. But will definitely make it if plans change.

From the Folgers web site: “Jonathan Bate, professor of English at Warwick, will speak on “The Good Life in Shakespeare” and about the Epicurean tradition, with an emphasis on the plays As You Like It, The WInter’s Tale, and Measure for Measure. He is the author of The Genius of Shakespeare and a Governor and Board member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.”

http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=2329

Monday, Apr 26 at 8pm

Tickets: Free

April 24th and 25th: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Maryland Shakespeare Festival “Bare Bard”!

The Maryland Shakespeare Festival is celebrating their last “Bare Bard” of the season with Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m overjoyed they’ve chosen to do Midsummer, but saddened by the fact that the another season has come to an end. I’ve been following the MSF’s for two years now and have seen them do ten plays, eight of them as Bare Bard’s. I really should thank them for fostering much of my love of Shakespeare. For Showing me that Shakespeare is not just some stiff old white guy bleating some uncomprehendable, un-understandable, and totally nonsensical dialogue.  Instead they helped to show me that in reality Shakespeare can be fast, loose and funny at times. And weighty, dark, and deep at other times.

Yes I have seen Shakespeare performed by various other companies, and enjoy seeing the different takes, views, and ideas that they all bring to the same material. But the Maryland Shakespeare Festival has always seemed more like a down to earth, community based Shakespeare Company. Not to mention, the actors in the Bare Bards come from around the country to perform with the MSF on a voluntary, and unpaid basis. Simply for the learning experience, training, and the chance to do something they obviously love. They are always friendly and chose to hang around after Sundays show for an open discussion, and to answer any audience questions.

I really didn’t intend to write all this, but when I saw this was going to be the last Bare Bard of the season, it kinda took me back those last two years and all great plays I’ve seen. And in reality if I didn’t write about it here, then who would I tell? Considering all my friend’s are watching American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars (Yech), while I’m re-reading A Midsummer Night’s dream in anticipation of the next Bare Bard.

Link: Maryland Shakespeare Festivals – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

April 24th at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 25th at 2 p.m. Sunday’s performance will be followed by a celebratory cake-cutting ceremony with Shelly Aloi, representing the mayor of Frederick, and a post-show discussion.

FREE April 12-18: WILLPOWER 2010 – At The Montgomery College Rockville Campus

WillPower 2010

Well’ I almost missed this one, many Kudos go out to the WebMistress of the blog “Or What You Will” for passing this along! I can’t believe in all my web wanderings I didn’t catch this one.

WillPower 2010 at the Montgomery College Rockville Campus, a week long event of free lectures and classes focusing on Shakespeare Study’s. There are workshops  like “‘The Structure of Shakespeare’s Verse.” (Ms. Becky Kemper, Maryland Shakespeare Festival), and “‘Body Language: Translating Shakespeare’s Language into Movement.” (Ms. Katherine Long, Former Company Member of Synetic Theatre).

There will also be several performances of A Midsummers Night’s Dream performed by MC Students. The performance is $10, $8 for students. All other events are FREE.

I went to several of the events last year and found them very informative, and quite fun. So’ for the low, low price of FREE, if your looking for something to do next week, I would suggest popping down to Rockville for WillPower  2010.

April 12th to the 18th

Link: http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/willpower/ – Ignore the fact the page says 2009. The PDF Flyer and other doc’s say 2010

link: http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/willpower/WILLPOWER%202010.pdf

Shows Ending in DC: STC’s Acclaimed Henry V and Richard II

Michael Hayden as Henry V

This is the Final weekend to catch what has become a highly acclaimed set of Shakespearean plays this season,  Henry V and Richard II. There has been an almost uncountable number of write ups about these productions, most of the attention being placed on Michael Hayden, who plays the lead rolls in both these plays. I’ve seen Henry V a few time now and this was definitely one of the best.

Link: Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington DC

Here’s a link to a recent Washington Post article about the plays and Michael Hayed

Link to my first visit to the Sydney Harman Hall to see Henry V

FREE April 20: 10 years and going strong – Shakespeare’s Birthday at the Library of Congress

Hey – Shakespeare’s birthday is this month, and if this year is like last year, there will be lots of interesting things going on… And I’ll hear about them the day after they happen. Or maybe not. Just got an email for the Library of Congress event to add to the calendar.

On Tuesday, April 20, the popular celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday will take place at noon in the Whittall Pavilion in the Jefferson Building. Professional actors from the Academy of Classical Acting associated with the Shakespeare Theatre Company will recite monologues, act out scenes and engage in stage fighting. This is the 10th year “Shakespeare’s Birthday Reading” will be held.

Link: http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-011.html

April Calendar of Plays – All’s Well and R&J, Hamlet and Midsummer. Happy BDay Willy S.

Well It’s already April and the Spring Season is kicking in.  The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and some of my favorite plays are about to kick off.  So what have we got new for this month?

The top pick for the Month will be:

A Midsummer Nights Dream & Shakespeare Birthday Celebration!!!: Maryland Shakespeare Festival - A “BARE BARD” for one weekend only – April 24 &25th. The Bare Bards are always a lot of fun, and rumor has it,  they have some very special plans lined up For Shakespeare’s Birthday.

Also This Month:

Hamlet: Baltimore Shakespeare Festival – Apr 12 thru 27

Romeo and Juliet: American Shakespeare Center / Blackfriers - April 8 thru June 19

All’s Well that Ends Well: American Shakespeare Center / Blackfriers – April 9 thru June 19

A Midsummer Nights Dream: Montgomery County Players: April 16th thru May 2nd

Hamlet: (DC) Folger Elizabethan Theatre – Apr 21 thru Jun 6.

I’ve yet to see a play at the Folgers, so I’m excited to get a chance to catch Hamlet there. But’  what’s more thrilling then seeing Hamlet? Seeing TWO Hamlets! Considering I haven’t had a chance to see the “Baltimore Shakespeare Festival” either, I may just convince myself that there’s no such thing as to much Hamlet.

If you hear of anything else going on in our area let me know, I’ll get it on the calendar.

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