London, Oct 12 (ANI): A computer program designed to detect plagiarism has proved that Shakespeare was not the sole playwright of The Reign of King Edward III.
Sir Brian Vickers, an expert on the works of Shakespeare at the Institute of English Studies at the University of London, used software called Pl@giarism to compare the 1596 published play with other works of the period.
Pl@giarism selects phrases of three or more words in a writer's known work and looks for them in works that have not been attributed to authors.
The Times quoted Sir Brian as saying: "There might be ten to 20 common phrases between two plays by different authors. The computer is picking out three-word sequences that could just be chunks of grammar. But when you get metaphors or unusual parts of speech, it is different."
Four scenes in the play matched with the language in Shakespeare's earlier works but the remaining had nearly 200 matches with works of Thomas Kyd, best known for The Spanish Tragedy.
According to Sir Brian, this strongly suggests that Kyd wrote nearly 60 percent of the play.
"When you have 200 [matches] you can be pretty sure. Everyone can see that certain scenes are very Shakespearean, but no one could see why there were verses that are definitely not his. There is a real difference in quality between the two authors," he said.
However, some experts are still sceptical about the new finding.
Stanley Wells, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: "I am sceptical, frankly, that we have yet reached a stage where these computer-assisted investigations can prove authorship. It is difficult to judge the results without doing the research oneself. [But] it is part of the willingness to see Shakespeare not as an eminence, not as a person topping everyone lse, but to see Shakespeare as a working dramatist collaborating with everyone else. He is one among many, rather than a god-like figure on his own." (ANI)