Shakespeare Had Help Scripting Henry VIII?

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William Shakespeare (left) and John Fletcher (right) both contributed to Henry VIII, a new study suggests. (Public domain)

Health Editor’s Note:  You got to love AI, right?…..Carol

Artificial Intelligence Reveals Second Playwright’s Contributions to Shakespeare’s ‘Henry VIII’

by Theresa Machemer/Smithsonian.com

In the summer of 1613, an early performance of William Shakespeare’s Henry VIII—then titled All is True—found the Globe Theater packed with spectators. Cannon fire sounded as the play’s eponymous monarch walked onstage toward the end of the first act, captivating audience members to such an extent that they failed to notice a fiery prop landing on the theater’s thatched roof. Within an hour, the Globe had been reduced to ash.

New research suggests Shakespeare didn’t pen the history play-turned-tragedy by himself. Since literary analyst James Spedding first raised the possibility in 1850, scholars have speculated that Henry VIII was actually a collaboration between the Bard and John Fletcher, who succeeded Shakespeare as house playwright of the King’s Men acting company. Now, an algorithm created by Petr Plecháč of Prague’s Czech Academy of Sciences has revealed that the inflammatory cannon scene—and roughly half of the play—were likely written by Fletcher. Plecháč’s findings are published in the pre-print server arXiv.

” The scenes that are written by Fletcher are creaky,” Grace Ioppolo, a Shakespearean scholar at the University of Reading, told BBC News’ Tim Masters in 2015, when the rebuilt Globe Theater was preparing to host the play once again.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. BY ME OR NOT BY ME

    When will the world come to realize that Shakespeare didn’t write any of the plays attributed to him. Nor for that matter did the Earl of Oxford write them or Francis Bacon or Henry Neville. Shakespeare was nothing more than an adept stage manager who bought plays and had a gifted editor knock them into shape. Nothing less, nothing more. I can buy the idea that any of the others mentioned did write a play or two for the stage that Skakespeare adopted and produced. But certainly no writer wrote all of them. Absolutely, somebody wrote them! We can be sure researchers of a different age to ours in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries came across letters or articles by Shakespeare in his hand BUT instead of retaining them for posterity burned the lot owing to the fact they betrayed the Bard as nothing more than a non-schooled, quasi literate, half-wit on the take who liked to accumulate money on the side through interest on loans to all and sundry.