Half of Shakespeare’s “Henry VIII” was written by a different playwright, algorithm reveals

by Jordyn Pair · Nov 23rd, 2019 7:32 pm

A new algorithm has provided further proof that William Shakespeare's "Henry VIII" was co-authored by his contemporary John Fletcher.

The 19th-century British scholar James Spedding was the first to theorize that Fletcher, one of Shakespeare's peers in the King's Men drama troupe, wrote several scenes throughout "Henry VIII."

Others suggested that another peer of Fletcher's, Philip Messinger, may have also contributed to the work.

A definitive answer was found when Petr Plecháč of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague trained an algorithm to identify patterns in language and rhythm in all three playwrights' works. Using the algorithm, Plecháč discovered that Fletcher and Shakespeare each wrote roughly half the play. Messinger does not appear to have been involved.

The algorithm also revealed that a third, unknown author may have also been involved.


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