The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator
"If you have enough monkeys
banging randomly on typewriters,

they will eventually type the works
of William Shakespeare."

Become part of the largest ever experiment to see if this is true! Every time you display this page, you are automatically participating in the Monkey Shakespeare project. Your computer is put to work to simulate a number of monkeys typing randomly on typewriters, and each page typed is checked against every play Shakespeare ever wrote!
The longer you display this page, the longer the simulator runs, and the better the chance you have of  beating the record!
You can display this page in the background while you do something else (like play a game).

(Pssst! A word from our sponsor: If you are looking for Palm Crossword Puzzles, click here)

The current record is the first 16 letters from "King Richard II" (see here)
If the simulator below shows more letters than this, let us know!

The Simulator

What does 3.46532e+9 mean? See FAQ.  Simulator not displayed properly? Get the latest free Java upgrade

New! See what the monkeys get up to when they're not typing!
Download Bongo Boogie for Windows or MacOS X. (Warning: Addictive!)

Check out Monkey Bestsellers at MonkeyGoods:  01. Pencil Monkey, 02. 9" Inflatable Monkey, 03. got monkey? t-shirt, 04. 23" Inflatable Monkey, 05. Yes! It's a Monkey Hat!, 06. Monkey Boy t-shirt, 07. Giant Inflatable Monkey, 08. Chimpanzee Facemask, 09. Pin The Monkey On the Palm Tree, 10. Prove It! Pen

Why have the monkeys typed so few letters of Shakespeare?
The odds against monkeys typing Shakespeare by chance are astronomical. With about 80 typewriter keys, the chance of getting the first letter right is about 80 to 1. The chance of getting 2 letters right is 1 in 80×80, or 6400 to 1. Each letter increases the odds against by 80 times. The odds of getting 10 letters right is about 11 million million million to1. To make sure that the simulator creates interesting results within our lifetimes, it is designed to run at an accelerated rate of 1 day every second. And, more importantly, the population of monkeys is allowed to increase exponentially! The number of monkeys doubles every few days, which doubles the speed at which they can produce pages - so come back now and again to see how they are getting on and to put your own monkeys to work.

About the simulator
In the simulator, time passes 86,400 times faster than real life. Each monkey is assumed to press 1 typewriter key per second, and each page requires 2000 keystrokes. In between typing, the monkeys find time to procreate and increase their number. The starting point for this project is 1 July 2003, when there were 100 monkeys, and the increase in population (which is independent of whether or not any simulators are running) is continuously updated. There is no limit to the number of monkeys as they have an unlimited supply of bananas. The longer you run the simulator, the better your chances of getting a record result.

What to do if you get a record result
If you get a record result, press the "Submit record" button and email it to us, and tell us your name and where you live. If you are the first with a new record, we'll put your name on this site. If you wish to remain anonymous, that is okay too. If two people get the same number of letters, it is the one we receive first that counts, even if the other one has an earlier date on it. Note that the button doesn't work if you don't have a record. If you do have a record and the button doesn't work, copy and paste the whole of the text in the simulator's results box into an email and send it to Put "Monkey Shakespeare Simulator" in the subject line. It is important that you send us the whole of the results box. (To copy the text, place the mouse at start of text, then while holding down the mouse button, move the mouse to end of text and release. Then press Ctrl C (that is, while holding down the Ctrl key, press C). To paste the text into your email, press Ctrl V.)

The best monkey results so far

1 letter from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Sent in by anonymous from Leicester, England on 25 July 2003.

2 letters from "Antony and Cleopatra" Sent in by anonymous from Leicester, England on 25 July 2003.

3 letters from "The Comedy of Errors" after 33 monkey-years. Sent in by Mark Powell on 26 July 2003.
"MarCmbSD!K 1Xi1&wWVv(C8h&aQBn]49'a..." matched "Marchant. Proceed Solinus to procure my fall,
And by the doome of death end woes and all"

4 letters from "The Winter's Tale" after 195 monkey-years. Sent in by Matt Greer on 26 July 2003.
"Archan:jdTAQ]Mu:.jt "gm3dw.jhVHw.V2..." matched "Arch. If you shall chance (Camillo) to visit Bohemia, on the like occasion whereon my seruices are now on-foot, you shall see (as I haue said) great difference betwixt our Bohemia, and your Sicilia"

5 letters from "Cymbeline" after 3,928 monkey-years. Sent in by Tom Stallard on 30 July 2003.
"1.Gen0HW;MdBenGFU4GXx8)hgwAXuGRM" !Q..." matched "1.Gent. You do not meet a man but Frownes. Our bloods no more obey the Heauens Then our Courtiers: Still seeme, as do's the Kings"

6 letters from "King John" after 86,339 monkey-years. Sent in by Martin from High Wycombe, UK on 30 July 2003.
"King Il[&b1H4m.hyfDY4'LiU0S8NLrK:hhJT..." matched "King Iohn. Now say Chatillion, what would France with vs?
  Chat. Thus (after greeting) speakes the King of France, In my behauiour to the Maiesty, The borrowed Maiesty of England heere"

7 letters from "King John" after 2,737,851 monkey-years. Sent in by David Thurston of Falls Church, VA on 8 August 2003: "King Io8-'D"IZ'i-K[kn5f6?y&a4Y;m!cC&EY..." matched "King Iohn. Now say Chatillion, what would France with vs? Chat. Thus (after greeting) speakes the King of France, In my behauiour to the Maiesty, The borrowed Maiesty of England heere"

8 letters from "Cymbeline" after 598,877 monkey-years. Sent in by Tim Joyce, Toronto, Ontario, Canada on 24 Aug 2003.
"1.Gent. rP0)Pux;t3ZGfjDrjrN)cbu]K1KJB..." matched "1.Gent. You do not meet a man but Frownes. Our bloods no more obey the Heauens Then our Courtiers: Still seeme, as do's the Kings"

9 letters from "All's Well That End's Well" after 315,072,000 monkey-years. Sent in by Robert Stephen Mayer Jr, Portland OR, USA on 18 Sept 2003. "COUNTESS.V1 V"Zcp[NFv!U:(UOI2(kFn;fLAe..." matched "COUNTESS. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband."

10 letters from "Henry 4th, Part 1" after 1,397,990,000 monkey-years. Sent in by acidtest of Paris, France on 17 Oct 2003. "King. So sv :T5nFUh1f]o'!T]SI-Eu?SY(EHRzV..." matched "King. So shaken as we are, so wan with care, Find we a time for frighted peace to pant And breathe short-winded accents of new broils"

11 letters from "Antony and Cleopatra" after 505,920,000 monkey-years. Sent in by Bish on 20 Nov 2003. "PHILO. Nay,ef?eTHW6Hf1ZhfaqE3(zMqZq!kt,Iyz..." matched "PHILO. Nay, but this dotage of our general's O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes, That o'er the files and musters of the war Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,..."

12 letters from "All's Well That Ends Well" after 2,236,400 billion monkey-years. Sent in by David Fennell of St. Andrews, Scotland on 21 Dec 2003. "COUNTESS. Inn]B!5tc4JXrS!w2RB(?gPCz]hJPYqgG..." matched "COUNTESS. In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband. BERTRAM. And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death anew;..."

13 letters from "Measure For  Measure" after 6,146,950 billion monkey-years. Sent in by PY222 of Team Free-DC on 7 Feb 2004. "Duke. Escalus 1YYAY)FTJk!QNF,)AwbtTuDWuGnm?s..." matched "Duke. Escalus.    Esc. My Lord.  Duk. Of Gouernment, the properties to vnfold, Would seeme in me t' affect speech & discourse, Since I am put to know, that your owne Science Exceedes (in that) the lists of all aduice My strength can giue you..."

14 letters from "Coriolanus" after 4,651,360,000 billion monkey-years. Sent in by Bill Herrin from Hannibal, MO, USA on 24 Feb 2004. "1. Citizen. Be&uox:w6LDn;x&:5"vz(Q'5y6zF!0[ A..." matched "1. Citizen. Before we proceed any further, heare me speake   All. Speake, speake   1.Cit. You are all resolu'd rather to dy then to famish?  All. Resolu'd, resolu'd..."

15 letters from "Pericles" after 958,399,000,000 billion monkey-years. Sent in by Ken Phillips from Roseville, California on 12 April 2004. "[Enter GOWER.] ?2IDzPN9sq6V ;e'?nGI3&?3 La""0 ..." matched "[Enter GOWER.] [Before the palace of Antioch.] To sing a song that old was sung, From ashes ancient Gower is come; Assuming man's infirmities, To glad your ear, and please your eyes."

16 letters from "King Richard II" after 24,115 billion billion monkey-years. Sent in by Pierre-François Cohadon of Paris, France on 11 May 2004. "KING RICHARD. OlazZtssi0cwX?QDjqkP9r]xfaBmlVU]e..." matched "KING RICHARD. Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster, Hast thou, according to thy oath and band, Brought hither Henry Hereford, thy bold son, Here to make good the boist'rous late appeal"

NOTE: BEFORE SUBMITTING A RECORD: Your web browser may be showing you an out-of-date copy of this web page which doesn't show you the latest records! If you are using Internet Explorer, you can force it to show the latest page by doing the following:
1) In the menu, choose: "Tools>Internet Options"
2) Under "General" press "Delete Files..." and choose "Delete all offline content".
3) You must then close all copies of Internet Explorer and restart it.
Many thanks for all the emails! Unfortunately we just get too many to reply to all of them, but we'll try to answer most questions in the "Freqently Asked Questions" section below. And thanks for all the page visits - now well past the 100,000 mark!

(Note: If you match an existing record in fewer monkey-years, it does NOT count as a new record, so don't send it in)

Tips to increase the chances of your monkey simulation writing Antony and Cleopatra and achieving fame and (maybe) fortune:

* you can leave this page displayed in the background while you do something else
* you don't need to be connected to the internet once the simulator has started
* you can add this page to your Favourite pages or make it your Home Page

  Play Aard 3D Puzzles Online Now!
(Starts in a new window)

Shakespeare's plays








FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What does 4.5692e+53 mean?
It is called Scientific Notation and it is a shorthand way of writing very large numbers.
"e+53" means "move the decimal point 53 places to the right".
So 4.5692e+53 is equal to 456,920,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

(P.S. In mathematical language, "e" is short for "exponent", and "e+53" is short for "times 10 raised to the exponent +53".)

Why haven't you put my new record on your site?
The record may already be broken by somebody else! Your web browser may be showing you an out-of-date copy of this web page that it has saved to your hard disk instead of downloading the latest page for you to see. If you are using Internet Explorer, you can force it to show the latest page by doing the following:
1) In the menu, choose: "Tools>Internet Options".
2) Under "General", press "Delete Files" and choose "Delete all offline content".
3) You must then close all copies of Internet Explorer and restart it.

[New!] The web page says that the record is Y letters, but in the simulator box it says the record is only X letters
Your browser has an out-of-date copy of the file "letters.gif" that it has saved to your hard disk instead of downloading the latest version. If you are using Internet Explorer, you can fix this by doing the following:
1) In the menu, choose: "Tools>Internet Options".
2) Under "General", press "Delete Files" and choose "Delete all offline content".
3) You must then close all copies of Internet Explorer and restart it.

Shouldn't the number of monkeys I have under my control grow more quickly?
Yes, if they multiplied at the maximum possible rate. But they are having too much fun typing!

I got the same number of letters in fewer monkey years than anybody else. Do I get a mention?
No. Only the first one counts.

Why is it only the first few letters that count?
The rules could be different so that matches anywhere on a page count. In fact there are many possible variations of the rules, and there are bound to be disagreements on which rule is chosen. In any case, if a whole page is going to match, then the first few letters will have to match too.

What does the graph show?
Each bar in the graph represents one day and its height shows the longest match found that day.

Does everyone see the same results?
No. The simulator on your computer produces unique results that only you can see.

I happened to leave the page - is my simulation back to square one again?
No, don't worry (unless you already had a record result and you didn't send it in, then it will be lost). But you are just as likely to get a record in the next 10 minutes whether you have just reloaded the page or whether you have had it displayed undisturbed for a week!

I was up to XXXXXXe+15 monkey years elapsed, closed the browser inadvertently, reopened it and was down to XXXXXXe+13 monkey years. Yet you say it doesn't make any difference if the browser is closed down ?
The monkey years elapsed are in the past, and do not affect the future. Only the current monkey population affects your chances, and the monkey population will be the same whether you just started or have been going for days!

I have an old, slow computer. Is it worth me trying?
Absolutely. The simulator is adjusted to run at the same speed on all computers, so having a slow computer is no handicap.

I don't see any simulator - just a grey box. What is wrong?
You don't have Java installed in your browser. Download the latest Java free here.

The simulator is sometimes not drawn properly.
You may have an old version of Java. Get the latest version free here.

I downloaded the latest Java, but it still doesn't work properly.
To find out what the problem is, go to the Java download page and click on "Help"

I get to a certain number of letters and no further. Is it stuck?
The chance of getting each extra letter is about an eightieth of getting the previous letter. So after a certain number of letters, it is largely a question of chance and patience. But on the other hand the population of monkeys is constantly increasing, so the odds get better all the time!

How are the pages matched?
To make this experiment more interesting, each play is assumed to start at the beginning of the play dialogue. Before the dialogue, each play usually has the play title, the list of characters, the heading "Act 1, Scene 1" and a description of the scene.

What about the shift key, and isn't the space bar bigger than other keys?
For the sake of the simulation, it is assumed that the monkeys have special typewriters where there are separate keys for upper case letters and lower-case letters, where the space bar is the same size as the other keys, and where all the keys that are not used in Shakespeare's plays are removed. It is also assumed that they know how and when to put in paper and take it out, and how to change the typewriter ribbon when it runs out!

Some plays are difficult to read and have strange spelling
Copyright-free texts have been used. Some of these texts are very old and have not been updated to reflect modern spelling. For the sake of this experiment is does not really matter which version is used, as it does not affect the probabilities. In Shakespeare's day, some letters where often used interchangeably, such as "i" and "j" ("King Iohn" instead of "King John"), or "u" and "v" ("behauiour" instead of "behaviour", or "vs" instead of "us").

[New!] With the strange spellings, isn't the chance of getting a record smaller?
No, because the monkeys can't spell either ;o)

The number of letters does not seem to be correct.
Spaces and carriage returns are counted as "letters" too.

Is this a 'real' simulation or just a cheat?
The simulation is based on a random number generator to generate random keystrokes. The simulator does not simulate every level of detail because today's computers are just far too slow, but the probabilities are designed to accurately match those of real life and with the correct element of chance. Just like real life, the results of this simulator cannot be predicted even though the probabilities can.

What is the lifespan of a monkey, or does the computer consider them to be immortal?
About 50 years.

The simulator runs at 1 day every second, yet the number of monkey years elapsed goes up millions of years every second. Why is this?
The number of monkey-years is equal to the number of monkeys times the number of years.
e.g. 2,000,000 monkeys typing for 3 years = 6,000,000 monkey-years. Hence the fast increase in monkey-years.

Will the monkeys ever succeed?
Due to the accelerated time and an unlimited supply of bananas, the monkey population in every simulator doubles every few days! So bookmark this page and come back now and again to check how other people's monkeys are doing and to put your own monkeys to work.

website of the day
30 July 2003
Steve Wright Show - BBC Radio 2

If you have a Palm handheld PDA, why not check out Palm Crosswords in the form of the Palm Crossword Puzzle program "AardPuzzle Codecracker Crosswords".  Solve codecracker-style crossword puzzles, all produced by the built-in random puzzle generator. Never run out of puzzles again! Beginner to Expert levels. AardPuzzle is an addictive "code-cracker"-style crossword puzzle. It has been described as a crossword without clues, but that tells only half the story. The grid contains all the answers, but they're in code - each letter of the alphabet is represented by a different number. Use your knowledge of English and your powers of deduction to reveal the solution. The codecracker-style puzzle has increased in popularity in the UK and is today almost as popular as the traditional crossword puzzle, with many specialist magazines devoted to it. With its own built-in random puzzle generator, AardPuzzle automatically creates new puzzles in just a few minutes from a list of over 20,000 words. There are literally millions of possible permutations, which means that in practice you'll never run out of new puzzles! AardPuzzle puzzles come with several levels of difficulty, so beginners and experts alike will be challenged. See the link at the top of this page.

Other monkey sites:

- Check out the Million Monkeys Internet Search Engine(TM),
which randomly generates internet site names!

- Also, celebrate Monkey Day on

page visits since 1 July 2003