Shakespeare via Text


Hamlet, being performed in this photo, is arguably Shakespeare’s most well-known play, and is also his longest.

No doubt we’ve all had some bad experiences with Internet sales.  Maybe it takes something too long to send over, maybe the quality is significantly lower than advertised, and maybe somebody just took the money and ran.  I recently came across an article talking about such a situation.  The UK’s Edd Joseph had ordered a PS3 online for 80 British pounds on the site Gumtree.  Everything seemed to have gone smoothly, but then the PS3 never arrived.  Since Joseph paid for the PS3 by bank transfer (which is against the terms and conditions of Gumtree), he wasn’t able to get his money back.  Enraged with this situation, Joseph discovered that you can copy and paste things from the Internet and send them as text messages.

With this knowledge, Joseph got to thinking of something really long that he could send the man who just conned him out of a gaming console.  So he texted him the entirety of Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”.  What was just one text for Joseph was 792 texts for the receiving party.  With the success of this, Joseph thought, then he should send his seller all of Shakespeare’s works.  Because not all of Shakespeare’s plays are the same length, each one equals a different number of texts.  “Hamlet”, the longest one, amounts to 1,143 texts.  So far, Joseph has already sent 22 different plays.

According to Joseph, he got his first reply from the receiver after an hour, and after that, he’s gotten the occasional “abusive” message telling him to stop.  Although Joseph has no plans to stop.  The way he sees it, he’s sharing a little bit of culture with somebody who probably has never experienced it before.  Chances are the swindler’s phone has been ringing nonstop for hours.