5. shakespeare's language

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  • 1. Features of Shakespeare’s language Shakespeare’s language The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. National Portrait Gallery, London. Slide
  • 2. Features of Shakespeare’s language William Shakespeare used language to:  create a sense of place  seize the audience’s interest and attention  explore the widest range of human experience “ Slide He was a genius for dramatic language Only Connect ... New Directions ”
  • 3. Features of Shakespeare’s language 1. Blank verse unrhymed lines with an arrangement of unstressed and stressed syllables known as iambic pentameter “ In sooth / I know / not why / I am / so sad / ” (from The Merchant of Venice) Slide Only Connect ... New Directions
  • 4. Features of Shakespeare’s language 2. Variations on metre to make his verse less monotonous, Shakespeare:  altered the pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables “that this too too sullied flesh would melt” (from Hamlet)  altered the expected number of syllables “There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple” (from The Tempest)  divided a single line between two or more speakers Emilia: Why, would not you? Desdemona: No, by this heavenly light! (from Othello) Slide Only Connect ... New Directions A shot from Hamlet (.by Franco Zeffirelli (1990
  • 5. Features of Shakespeare’s language 3. Use of verse and prose VERSE PROSE generally used generally used   by lower-class characters  in serious or dramatic scenes  in comic scenes  Slide by aristocratic characters in informal conversations Only Connect ... New Directions
  • 6. Features of Shakespeare’s language 4. Imagery a. clusters of repeated images build up a sense of the themes of the play, like light and darkness in Romeo and Juliet A shot from Romeo+Juliet by Baz Luhrmann (1996). b. imagery from nature c. imagery from Elizabethan daily life, like: sports and hunting; shipping and the law; jewels; medicine Slide Only Connect ... New Directions
  • 7. Features of Shakespeare’s language 4. Imagery d. use of metaphors and similes “There’s daggers in men’s smiles” (from Macbeth) “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath ” (from The Merchant of Venice, IV.i.179–181) e. use of personification “Come, civil Night; Thou sober-suited matron all in black.” (from Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene II) Slide Only Connect ... New Directions A shot from The Merchant of Venice by Michael Radford (2004).
  • 8. Features of Shakespeare’s language 5. Antithesis The contrast of direct opposites. “Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate, O any thing, of nothing first created: O heavy lightness, serious vanity” (from Romeo and Juliet) Slide Only Connect ... New Directions Frank Dicksee Romeo and Juliet (1884).
  • 9. Features of Shakespeare’s language 6. Repetition Repeated words or phrases add to:  the emotional intensity of a scene “Oh horrible, oh horrible, most horrible!” (The Ghost in Hamlet)  its comic effect “O night, O night, alack, alack, alack, I fear my Thisbe’s promise is forgot! And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall.” (Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) Slide Only Connect ... New Directions
  • 10. Features of Shakespeare’s language 7. Hyperbole Extravagant and obvious exaggeration “Blow me about in winds! Roast me in sulphur! Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!” (from Othello) ( Slide Othello is haunted by the knowledge that he has wrongly killed Desdemona Only Connect ... New Directions )
  • 11. Features of Shakespeare’s language 8. Irony Verbal irony The audience knows something that a character on stage does not Dramatic irony Saying one thing but meaning another contrasts sharply with another In Julius Caesar, Mark Antony calls Brutus “an honourable man” but means the opposite Slide It is structural: one line or scene In Macbeth Duncan’s line “He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust” is followed by the stage direction “Enter Macbeth” Only Connect ... New Directions
  • 12. Features of Shakespeare’s language 9. Pronouns: you and thee Send clear social signals YOU THEE  Implies either closeness or contempt  More formal and distant form  Friendship towards an equal  Suggests respect for a superior Superiority over someone considered a social inferior  Courtesy to a social equal    Slide Used to address someone of higher social rank Can be aggressive or insulting Only Connect ... New Directions