Arts/Literature

Shakespeare was a Doobie Brother…?

We now have not even close to definitive proof that William Shakespeare smoked marijuana and perhaps used cocaine. Good thing Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe wrote those plays, huh…?

Bill Shakespeare, mellow dude (image courtesy Wikimedia)

Busy with a lot of stuff for school and behind a little on my reading these days, though by the weekend I’ll have an essay on an excellent book on Paul McCartney during the Wings years.

So today we talk about Shakespeare. Actually we talk about Shakespeare on crack. Well, maybe not crack but cocaine – and pot.

Wow. Just wow….

According to that bastion of journalism USA Today, a study published in July suggests that Shakespeare may have smoked marijuana and cocaine. The researchers, from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, after examining shards of clay smoking pipes from Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon property with a new type of spectrometry, report that traces of cannabis and Peruvian cocaine have been found in those pipes. The pipes may/may not have have been used by Shakespeare, but the pipes date from the early 17th century and come from Shakespeare’s property. So possibly…

The lead researcher for this study, Francis Thackeray, notes in an unpublished study that Shakespeare liked pot because of its “mind-stimulating properties.” Given that during the early 17th century Shakespeare gave us in quick succession Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear, whatever The Bard was smoking was some good shit.

There’s much more to be explored on this fascinating new discovery about Shakespeare, of course. Given the distance that both the marijuana and cocaine he (possibly) used traveled to get to Stratford, simply doing the detective work to discover who Shakespeare’s dealer was would make a fascinating research problem. Perhaps along the way a “smoking gun” will be uncovered that gives us some important new biographical information on the most important figure in Western literature – a figure about whom we know very little.

Or maybe we’ll find out that Shakespeare was just a drug addled front and that Bacon or Marlowe really did write all that marvelous work. In that case, here’s Doco doing one for Wild Bill:

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