Was William Shakespeare A Pothead?

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Did Shakespeare get the inspiration for his plays and sonnets from smoking weed? A South African anthropologist named Francis Thackeray is seeking permission from the Church of England to exhume Shakespeare's body and analyze it, determining whether the Bard liked to chill with a fat joint every now and then. Science serves an important purpose in our society by answering these urgent questions.

Shakespeare is buried under a church in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was born. His tombstone clearly says "Blessed be the man that spares these stones/ And cursed be he that moves my bones," which really couldn't be any clearer with regard to Shakespeare's wishes re: his bones being dug up. Thackeray told Fox that his team has "incredible techniques" and that they "don't intend to move the remains at all." Instead, they'll use advanced technology to scan Shakespeare's remains and...so was he a stoner, or what?

In 2001, Thackeray and his team discovered old clay pipes with evidence of cannabis and cocaine buried in Shakespeare's garden. Now they want definitive proof as to the Bard's possible drug habits, which seem to have included freebasing. Apart from the pipes, Shakespeare alluded to a "noted weed" in Sonnet 76:

Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods, and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O! know sweet love I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.

Based on my deep analysis of the sonnet, conducted just now, Shakespeare seems to be saying that he needs "A hit, a very palpable hit" on occasion to get the creative juices flowing. Who can blame him; life's but a walking shadow, so we live it up while we can. Strange that the evil men do lives after them, while the good is oft interred with their bones! (Sorry).

[Mother Jones, Fox News]

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]



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4 comments
4:20pm
4:20pm

Most creative geniuses used some form of so called 'drug'.  It's funny how in this day and age a lot of people pretend that this isn't the case.  Oh, most religions were also started by so called drug users.  But seriously, who really cares.

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Who cares...Shakespeare was a genius; if he smoked dope it probably relaxed him... Let him rest in peace

Andrew
Andrew

"Weed" in Sonnet 76 here has nothing to do with cannabis--it's simply a synonym for clothing or dress. Notice, how In typical Shakespearean fashion he sustains the metaphor in line 11: "dressing old words new." To check what words meant in Shakespeare's day anyone can consult the OED:  "weed n. an article of apparel; a garment." Also, "weed" doesn't make sense in the sonnet if he means marijuana.  

Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.
Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

While they're at it, maybe they can see if there's any evidence Shakespeare ever held a quill-- since his parents and daughters were illiterate, and literacy was an admissions requirement at the Stratford Grammar School, supporters of the legendary authorship theory desperately need some solid evidence that he knew how to write. His name on the title page is worth a lot less as evidence now that scholars are acknowledging the ubiquity of anonymous and pseudonymous authorship in the Elizabethan era.

Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.www.oxfreudian.com 

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