Free «Shakespeare» Essay Sample


The Taming of the Shrew was initially published in the First Folio Edition of 1623. This text is considered to be authoritative, and all subsequent editions have been published with minor textual differences. The Pelican edition is one of the altered versions of the play. This paper is meant to analyze several changes with words that nay be noticed in the Pelican edition. It is a well-known fact that modern booklovers may require evolving the skills of understanding unusual words. Four hundred years caused by alterations in language intervene between author’s speaking and people’s hearing. Generally speaking, most of the vast vocabulary is still in use, but few of his terms are not, and some of Shakespeare’s terms now have meanings quite dissimilar from those they had in the 16th and 17th centuries. The two examples of these words are: spleen-mood and stomach-appetite.

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The vocabulary of Shakespeare’s words provides the meanings of the term spleen as mood, violent haste; used of the lightning flash. In the previous centuries the word spleen was linked to many different emotions, characteristics, or behaviors - often spitefulness, bad temper, and melancholy, but also to general liveliness and explosive wit. Shakespeare provided many quotes in the seventeenth century comprising the word spleen or the tag “spleeny Lutheran.” There appears no appropriate ground why “spleen” should have deserved such associations - unlike, for instance, the word “heart” that manifests its connection with love by an augment in beating rate with thrill. The spleen is anatomically and also physiologically unremarkable. It’s actually - unusually in the organism for an unpaired organ — dispensable. People may simply exist without it since its functions may be taken over elsewhere. Maybe the author wished to say that a person could simply live without this mood-spleen.

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Another word taken from “The Taming of the Shrew” is “stomach.” The vocabulary of Shakespeare’s words provides the meanings of the term stomach as courage, stubbornness; appetite, inclination. Eating is the activity, which occurs throughout the play, and appetite is referred to both literally and figuratively. “Come, Kate, sit down, I know you have a stomach.” (Shakespeare, 1964). This sentence may seem very strange to current readers. That is why, it may be concluded that this word was changed. Thus, it is sure that the English language has altered a lot over the last several hundred years, and it is still modifying. Some words in usage during Shakespeare's day either have other meanings or have been nearly forgotten.

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However, there are things that have changed. Today when we say “stomach” we don’t usually mean “appetite.” This is why it may be concluded that this word had to be altered. At the same time in the example mentioned above the word “stomach” could not only mean “appetite” but it could also mean anger or stubbornness. Under the circumstances it is obvious that the word “stomach” starts playing the entire different role.

So, it is clear that the language of Shakespeare’s poems is very compressed and structured. Whilst most usually discussed in terms of the images and the metrical and some other formal structures, the speech of the poems, and the language of the “Taming of the Shrew” in particular, also repays attention to such fundamental linguistic elements as word order, words, and sentence structure. As a result, Shakespeare's complex sentences and games with the etymology lead many people to believe they are actually reading Old or Middle English. But Shakespeare’s works are written in Early Modern English. So, some annotations and translations are required for modern people to realize the inner meanings of the words.

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