Why am I using this word now?
What Shakespeare meant specifically by his word choices.
(Editors Note: As explained by Americans who haven't got a clue :) )
Shakespeare lived over 400 years ago, and we don't have direct access to his specific thoughts or intentions behind every word choice he made in his plays and sonnets.
However, we can analyze Shakespeare's word choices based on the context of his works, the language of his time, and the themes he explored. Shakespeare was a master of language, and his word choices served multiple purposes:
- Poetic Language: Shakespeare's plays are renowned for their poetic language, rich in metaphors, similes, and vivid imagery. His word choices added beauty, depth, and emotional resonance to the text.
- Characterization: The words given to each character were carefully chosen to reveal their personalities, motivations, and emotions. Different characters spoke in distinct ways, reflecting their social status, education, and temperament.
- Double Meanings and Wordplay: Shakespeare was a master of wordplay, puns, and double entendres. He often used these linguistic devices to add humor, create ambiguity, or convey deeper layers of meaning.
- Emotional Impact: Shakespeare's word choices helped evoke strong emotions in the audience. He could create empathy, fear, love, anger, and other emotions through his carefully crafted language.
- Rhythmic Patterns: Many of Shakespeare's plays were written in iambic pentameter, a poetic meter with ten syllables per line. His word choices contributed to the rhythmic flow of the text, enhancing the performance's theatricality.
- Themes and Symbolism: Words and phrases were used symbolically to explore themes such as love, power, fate, betrayal, and ambition. These thematic choices added layers of meaning to the overall narrative.
It is worth noting that Shakespeare's language was influenced by the linguistic conventions of his time, including Elizabethan English, which was different from modern English. Some words had different meanings or connotations back then compared to their usage today.
While scholars and theater practitioners have extensively studied Shakespeare's works and attempted to discern his intentions, definitive explanations of every word choice remain elusive. Ultimately, the beauty of Shakespeare's language lies in its openness to interpretation, allowing each generation and performer to discover new insights and meaning in his timeless works.