Shakespeare scholars and fans alike have pondered over the Bard’s writing for years and years. Because of the excessive amount of time that has passed since William Shakespeare’s death in 1616, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who and what the man’s influences were. Whenever new information comes to light concerning his history, it creates a massive stir within the literary community, and it seems this has happened again.
In New Hampshire, a self-taught Shakespeare scholar named Dennis McCarthy believes that he has cracked another code using special plagiarism software called WCopyfind. It seems as though a lot of the language that Shakespeare uses in plays such as Macbeth, Richard III, and King Lear mirror the language used in a 16th century book called A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels written by a Swedish man named George North. A specific example that McCarthy cites is the fact that, in the preface to his book, North urges people to go against the deficiencies nature might have bestowed upon them using a string of words to tie his point together. This string of words is almost exactly the same as the words that Richard III utters in his opening monologue to reach an opposite conclusion: that these natural deficiencies will color his world evil.
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McCarthy and another Shakespeare scholar named June Schlueter are releasing a book to be published by the British Library and D.S. Brewer, an academic-based company. The two don’t suggest that William Shakespeare specifically plagiarized North’s work, but rather he was inspired by the Swede. An interesting suggestion of this inspiration is a piece of dialogue spoken by the character of the Fool in King Lear. The Fool discusses a prophecy spoken by Merlin, but for years this has puzzled academics who have found no evidence of said prophecy until now. Apparently, this prophecy was actually written by North to showcase a dystopian world that they believe might have even shaped Shakespeare’s creation of this iconic character.
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Surely, these new findings will affect the literary world in many different ways. I can just picture one of my favorite college professors, also a Shakespeare scholar, exploding with excitement to his students upon hearing this news.
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