TECH
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

William Shakespeare: Computer Program Proves The Bard Didn't Work Alone

Scholars have long argued over whether William Shakespeare worked alone, collaborated, or even authored some of the works attributed to him.

Thanks to a computer program designed to detect plagiarism, researchers at the University of London claim they can put an end to the debate and prove that the Bard wrote at least one play, The Reign of King Edward III, in collaboration with playwright Thomas Kyd.

Sir Brian Vickers, the professor who led the research, used a software called Pl@giarism that was developed to catch cheating students. Using the program, Vickers compared the writing in Edward III with other plays from the same period.

Vickers found that the majority of the play fits Kyd's style, rather than Shakespeare's, the Times explains:

The Shakespeare matches came from four scenes, about 40 per cent of the play. The remaining scenes had about 200 matches with works by Kyd, best known for The Spanish Tragedy, a play known to have influenced Shakespeare, indicating that he wrote the other 60 per cent of the play.

As Switched observes, the finding is likely to ruffle feathers in academia as it gives scholars reason to rethink Shakespeare as a "lonely, independent author."

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