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Shakespeare 'didn't work alone on an unattributed play'
For more than 400 years, mystery shrouded over whether William Shakespeare was the author of an unattributed play about King Edward III.

Now, the four century-old mystery has finally been solved by a computer programme, designed to detect plagiarism, with British researchers concluding that Shakespeare didn't work alone on the play.

A team, led by Sir Brian Vickers of the University of London, has claimed that a comparison of phrases used in'The Reign of King Edward III' with Shakespeare's early works shows that the Bard wrote the play in collaboration with popular playwright Thomas Kyd,'The Times' reported.

The researchers used software called'Pl@giarism', developed by the University of Maastricht, to detect cheating students, to compare language used in Edward III - published anonymously in 1596, when Shakespeare was 32 - with other plays of the period. The team discovered that playwrights often use the same patterns of speech, meaning that they have a linguistic fingerprint.

In tests where authors are known to be different, there are up to 20 matches because some phrases are in common usage. When Edward III was tested against Shakespeare's works published before 1596, there were 200 matches.

" 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," Sir Brian was quoted as saying.

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.

Sir Brian said:" 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."
Source: PTI

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