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Robert Greene

Robert Greene (1558 - 1592) was an English playwright, poet, pamphleteer, and prose writer. He was born in Norwich, England, and received a bachelor's degree from Cambridge University in 1575, and later a Master of Arts from Oxford University.

Greene was an older contemporary of William Shakespeare, and some scholars speculate that Shakespeare got his start as a playwright rewriting some of Greene's plays. Other scholars have speculated that he was a cousin of Shakespeare, based on the record that on March 6, 1590, one "Thomas Greene, alias Shakespere" was buried in the Stratford-on-Avon churchyard, and relatives of this Thomas Greene had business dealings with Shakespeare.

Greene's plays include James IV and Friar Bacon and Friar bungay (both c.1591), as well as Orlando Furioso, based on the epic poem of Ludovico Ariosto.

He is most familiar to Shakespeare scholars for his work Groats-Worth of Wit, which contains the earliest mention of Shakespeare as a member of the London dramatical community in the form of an accusation that he not only was an untrustworthy actor, but apparently that he committed plagiarism. This passage quotes a line from Shakespeare's play Henry VI, part 3, but scholars are not agreed on what Greene's cryptic allusion exactly means.

Greene was notorious for living a dissolute life, and his contemporary Gabriel Harvey[?] claimed he died after a dinner wherein he overindulged in pickled herring and too much wine.

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