"... o somos o no somos"
It was haunting me since I had recently re-read it, to the point that has forced me to write a new post in this blog:
"... porque o somos o no somos"
Does it sound familiar? Probably not if you don't speak Spanish or any other Latin-based language. The translation is
"to be or not to be"
And guess who, of all Spanish writers, could have written such an original sentence, that is universally attributed to Shakespeare?

Some time ago I wrote a post on the same subject, "Cervantes y Shakespeare eran la misma persona", where I exposed some of the similarities between the two authors, that inexplicably seemed to have gone largely unnoticed.
Salvador de Madariaga, the Spanish historian and writer pointed out that:
"Hamlet and Don Quixote provide one of the most fascinating parallels in literature: possibly because the two poets who created them were contemporaries and unknown to each other spoke the same idiom." Carlos Fuentes explores also the possibility of both authors being the same man,
"Cervantes leaves open the pages of a book where the reader knows himself to be written and it is said that he dies on the same date, though not on the same day, as William Shakespeare. It is further stated that perhaps both were the same man."
And Francis Carr abounds extensively on this theory, on his book "Who Wrote Don Quixote?"
But all of them actually attribute Cervante's works to the hand of Shakespeare or even Francis Bacon.
Any Spanish native speaker will tell you that Don Quixote could have never be written by anyone who was not born and grown up in Spain. That's why I am convinced that it was the other way around. It was Cervantes who wrote all of Shakespeare's plays, because it is also evident that the mother tongue of whoever wrote Shakespeare's plays was not English.
That's the reason why he was making words up all the time, because his actual command of English language was not that good. Some examples:
* Creation of new meanings for words:
Wherever in your sightless substances ... (sightless meaning invisible.)
* Substitution of adjectives for nouns:
In the dark backward and abyss of time ... (instead of In the dark and backward ...)
* Grammatical mistakes:
Yes, you may have seen Cassio and she together ... (instead of Cassio and her),
or Who does me this (instead of Who does this to me), or And his more braver daughter could control thee (instead of And his braver or And his more brave)
All those mistakes are very common among Spanish native speakers trying to express themselves in English.
Shakespeare would also grab whatever word from Spanish that was handy and use it if it suited him, similarly to what we do when we speak Spanglish.
There are at least 1,500 different words and phrases that don't appear anywhere in the English language prior to Shakespeare, many of them literal translations or adaptations from Spanish or from ancient languages such as Latin, of which Cervantes had a pretty good knowledge.
Shakespeare usually made the verb or the subject the last word of the sentence, rather than following the normal word order of English: O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I (subject at end) or
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall (verb at end) English does not lend itself to these kind of constructions as much as Spanish or Latin.
Most English verbs are one syllable words: be, see, run, take... While correr (Spanish), vedere (Latin), essere (Italian), are easier to use for rhyming.
So Shakespeare would use or invent words taken right off these languages.
Shakespeare's recorded life is full of empty "gaps", that scholars usually refer to as the "Lost Years".
The First Lost Years
Although no attendance records for the period survive, it is agreed that Shakespeare was educated at Stratford.
Neither there are documented facts about the life of William Shakespeare between supposedly leaving school in 1578 and marrying Anne Hathaway in 1582
What was Cervantes doing during that period?
By 1570, Cervantes had enlisted as a soldier in a Castilian infantry regiment stationed in Naples, and continued his military life until 1575, when his ship was allegedly attacked by Algerian corsairs who took him and the surviving passengers to Algiers, where according to his own testimony, spent five years as a slave.
After his release, the following years saw him working for the Spanish Crown as a secret agent on foreign lands.
Sounds like the plot of a novel to me ...
The Second Lost Years
Between 1582 and 1592 there are only four documented facts about William Shakespeare:
1- Entries for the Baptism of his children in 1583 and 1585. 2- In 1589 a court documents name William Shakespeare and his parents in a land dispute.
3- In 1592 he is referred to in a very famous pamphlet called the "Groatsworth of Wit".
What was Cervantes doing during that period?
In Toledo, on December 12, 1584, he married the much younger Catalina de Salazar.
During the next 20 years he led a nomadic and unaccountable for existence, working on occasions as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada.
There's no doubt that the plays of William Shakespeare required a significant knowledge of Astronomy, Law, Seamanship and Military matters, not to mention of Italy where many of his plays are based. Because of this irrefutable fact scholars have debated that experience of these matters must have been obtained during the Lost Years. Cervantes was an expert in all of those subjects and in addition he knew Spanish, Italian, French, Latin, Greek, Arab, etc. Not to mention law, philosophy, classical literature, ancient and modern history, mathematics, astronomy, art, music, medicine, etiquette and manners of the nobility and English, French and Italian court life.

Now, I go one step further and ask myself and the world: If the "official" Shakespeare couldn't possibly be the author of those plays, what writer of that period was capable of achieving the literary genius found in Shakespeare's plays, had a significant knowledge of Astronomy and the Law, Seamanship and Military matters, Etiquette and Manners of the nobility and had lived in Italy long enough to be familiar with its culture?
No one, but Cervantes.
When I made this affirmation in humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare, some of the regular posters there even doubted that Cervantes had any knowledge of English customs and traditions, leave alone English court life, but how do you account for then that Cervantes could have written something like "THE SPANISH-ENGLISH LADY" without having been to England, more specifically at the Royal Court?
Judge for yourself just by reading these two excerpts from the "Novelas Exemplares", first published in 1613, three years before the death of Cervantes:"The preparations for the wedding were all made, the relations and friends of the family were invited, and nothing remained but to make known the intended match to the Queen, no marriage between persons of noble blood being lawful without her knowledge and consent; but making no doubt of obtaining the royal licence, they put off applying for it to the last. Things being in this state, their joy was disturbed one evening by the appearance of one of the Queen's servants with an order to Clotald from her Majesty, requiring his appearance before her next morning with his Spanish prisoner.

He replied that he would cheerfully obey her Majesty's command. The messenger retired, and left the family in great perturbation; "Alas," said dame Catherine, "what if the Queen knows that I have brought up this girl as a Catholic, and thence infers that we are all of us Christians in this house! For, if her Majesty asks her what she has learned during the eight years she has been with us, what answer can she give with all her discretion, poor timid girl, that will not condemn us?""Richard having at length quitted Isabella, went and told his parents that on no account would he marry the Scotch lady until he had first been to Rome for the satisfaction of his conscience; and he represented the matter in such a light to them and to the relations of Clesterna (that was the name of the Scotch lady), that as they were all Catholics, they easily assented, and Clesterna was content to remain in her father-in-law's house until the return of Richard, who proposed to be away a year.

This being settled, Clotald told his son of his intention to send Isabella and her parents to Spain, if the queen gave them leave; perhaps her native air would confirm and expedite her incipient recovery. Richard, to avoid betraying his secret intentions, desired his father, with seeming indifference, to do as he thought best; only he begged him not to take away from Isabella any of the presents which the queen had given her. Clotald promised this, and the same day he went and asked the queen's leave both to marry his son to Clesterna, and to send Isabella and her parents to Spain.

The queen granted both requests, and without having recourse to lawyers or judges, she forthwith passed sentence on the lady keeper, condemning her to lose her office, and to pay down ten thousand crowns for Isabella. As for Count Ernest, she banished him from England for six years."
Not too bad as an insight by a person barely competent in English into the customs and traditions of England at that time, I must say ...

It needs to be taken into account that Cervantes was not in any way interested in letting the English public know about his authorship for obvious reasons.
Spain and England had been recently at war and the Spanish Armada had made a failed attempt at invading England.
If Shakespeare's plays had bore the name of an Spanish author, they would immediately have aroused hostility among critics and the general public. If in addition, that Spanish author happened to be a soldier, who had served as a spy on foreign lands for the Spanish Crown and as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada, the chances of keeping his head attached to his body would have been close to nil. But on the other hand, Cervantes could have never dream of publishing many of Shakespeare's plays under Spain's ultra religious regime at that moment, without being diligently roasted.
There are plenty more facts that add weight to the hypothesis that Shakespeare was in fact a disguised Cervantes, such as "The Distrest Lovers", which is clearly based on the "Cardenio" episode in Don Quixote.
Truth is, the only writings proven to be from the hand of the poor man from an illiterate household in the remote agricultural town of Stratford-upon-Avon are six shaky, inconsistent signatures on legal documents, including three found on his will.
And they reveal that Mr. Shakspere (his real name) experienced difficulty even signing his own name.
Judge for yourself again and compare those signatures to those of Cervantes, and guess which one of the two could have possibly written some of the best plays and novels ever.
The greatest, most famous play about Scotland is Macbeth. The greatest plays about Italy are Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice and Othello, the Moor of Venice.
The greatest play about ancient Rome is Julius Caesar. The greatest play about ancient Egypt is Antony and Cleopatra. The greatest play about Denmark is Hamlet.
These seven plays were written by the same man but one the most important European nation at that time is conspicuous by its absence in this catalogue of masterpieces. There is no world-famous play about Spain, which is on the same level of genius as the plays just mentioned; but there is one great novel about Spain which is just as famous throughout the world, Don Quixote.
On April 23, 1616, both Cervantes and Shakespeare died. The two dates are the same, in the records, but because England was using the Julian Calendar, the actual date differed by ten days, enough for a dying Cervantes (whose grave, oddly no one bothered to mark) to travel to England and die as Shakespeare.
As a final thought, don't forget that Shakespeare, sorry Cervantes, was also an actor, which by definition is someone who fools people into believing he is another character.
And no one could deny that the man was very good at making up all kinds of fictional stories, such as reinventing his own past life, perhaps?

"In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd". - Miguel de Cervantes
"Time's glory is to calm contending kings,
To unmask falsehood and bring truth to light."
=97 William Shakespeare
http://rafaminu.blogspot.com/2008/10/o-somos-o-no-somos.html
1 2
Much ado about nothing.
"... o somos o no somos" It was haunting me since I had recently re-read it, to the point that ... not if you don't speak Spanish or any other Latin-based language. The translation is "to be or not to be"

No it isn't which proves your Spanish is even worse than mine, Jim and about all I know is "La via del tren subterraneo es peligrosa." But cheer up! At least, given the 50/50 choice between "estar" and "ser", you picked the right verb.
It's a patently absurd argument, anyway. Neither Shakespeare nor any other figure of the Renaissance invented ὄν καὶ μή ὄν.

John W. Kennedy
"Sweet, was Christ crucified to create this chat?" Charles Williams. "Judgement at Chelmsford"
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
"... o somos o no somos" It was haunting me ... language. The translation is "to be or not to be"

No it isn't which proves your Spanish is even worse than mine, Jim and about all I know ... It's a patently absurd argument, anyway. Neither Shakespeare nor any other figure of the Renaissance invented ?? ??? ?? ??.

Careful, you'll set C. Lanciai off:
Bid ?? ??? ?? ?? farewell, Galen come!
Peter G.
"... o somos o no somos" It was haunting me ... language. The translation is "to be or not to be"

No it isn't which proves your Spanish is even worse than mine, Jim and about all I know ... It's a patently absurd argument, anyway. Neither Shakespeare nor any other figure of the Renaissance invented ὄν καὶ μή ὄν.

Hi John,
Nice riposte.
I have had trouble implementing polytonic Greek on the keyboard, Any assistance you can give me, since you clearly succeeded, would be welcome.

Francis A. Miniter
ως ουκ αν αιων' εκμαθοις βροτων, πριν αν θανη τις, ουτε ει χρηστος ουτ’ ει τω κακος.
At 16:16:55 on Thu, 2 Oct 2008, Sancho (Email Removed) wrote in (Email Removed):
"In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd". - Miguel de Cervantes

I'm glad to see that you are attempting to practice what he preached.
Molly Mockford
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety - Benjamin Franklin (My Reply-To address *is* valid, though may not remain so for ever.)
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
No it isn't which proves your Spanish is even ... other figure of the Renaissance invented ὄν καὶ μή ὄν.

Hi John, Nice riposte. I have had trouble implementing polytonic Greek on the keyboard, Any assistance you can give me, since you clearly succeeded, would be welcome.

If you have a Mac, first you have to set it up.
System Preferences->
International->
Input Menu->
Check "Greek Polytonic"
Make sure "Show input menu in menu bar" is checked

Then just click on the little flag (a US flag if you use a US keyboard, etc.) and switch to Greek Polytonic whenever you need it. Use Show Keyboard Viewer for a guide. When you're done, click on the little Greek flag and choose your normal keyboard. All the diacritics are implemented as dead keys, so to get ὄ, you first type ῎ and then type ο, which will automatically go under it.
It /may/ be that you have to install it from the MacOS DVD first. If Greek Polytonic isn't in the Input Menu list, try that.

I don't recall offhand how it works in Windows. I think you have to start by installing it, which may involve putting in the Windows CD, depending on whether your manufacturer has put a copy of it on your hard disk. But I believe the process starts with the Keyboard item in System Settings, whether you have to install Greek Polytonic or not.

John W. Kennedy
"But now is a new thing which is very old
that the rich make themselves richer and not poorer, which is the true Gospel, for the poor's sake."
Charles Williams. "Judgement at Chelmsford"
At 00:58:54 on Sat, 4 Oct 2008, John Briggs (Email Removed) wrote in :
I'm waiting for someone to claim Aristophanes was written by an enchanted frog. Betcha Sancho could prove that one.

Brekeke-kex, koax-koax, koax-koax, Koax-koax, koax-koax, koax-koax! Oh we are the musical frogs! We live in the marshes and bogs! Sweet, ... the sound of our song, ROLLS HOME through the marshes and bogs, Brekekex! Rolls home through the marshes and bogs!

Shouldn't that go:
Brekeke-kex, koax-koax, koax-koax,
Aristophanes was a hoax.
For we are the authoring frogs!
More talent than people - or dogs!
We can write a great play
(It took only one day)
And when they want more, us
lot write "The Frog Chorus"
And sing it so hearty!
('Twas pinched by McCartney)...

Molly Mockford
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety - Benjamin Franklin (My Reply-To address *is* valid, though may not remain so for ever.)
Very interesting post. I think (after translating all of his sonnets into Bengali) that Shakespeare would have wanted to be Cervantes rather than anyone else, if he really had to be anyone different from himself!
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