How Shakespeare Used Unique Language and Coined New Phrases to Enhance Macbeth – British Library

CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

http://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/macbeth-and-shakespeares-linguistic-innovation

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

Tell us what you’re looking for in the Study Hall and get responses from us, and you’re fellow students. Get help with exactly what you need so you can get this assignment out of the way and move on to better things (or the next assignment).

Learn More

Sample:

“When Shakespeare began writing Macbeth (probably in 1605), there seem not to have been enough words in the English language to deal with his protagonist’s state of mind and the events relating to it. We find a surprisingly large number of ‘Williamisms’ (first recorded usages in the Oxford English Dictionary) – 62 of them – most of which feel like genuine coinages on Shakespeare’s part, for they clearly relate to the themes and actions of the play.

For a start, there’s the word needed for the central event:

If the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence (1.7.2)

Assassin and assassinate were already in use, and other attempts had been or were being made to find a noun for the ‘act of assassinating’, such as assassinment, assassinacy, and assassinay. But Shakespeare either hadn’t come across these or didn’t like them. And it is his usage which remained in the language.

Other murder-related words had to be coined. Macbeth says of Banquo and Fleance:

They are assailable (3.2.29, ‘open to assault’)

And we find two new verbs capturing the redness of blood:

The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red. (2.2.62, ‘dye with incarnadine’)

Go prick thy face and over-red thy fear (5.3.14, ‘cover with red’)

Incarnadine (‘flesh-coloured, carnation’) had already been used as an adjective and a noun, but this was the first time it had been used as a verb.”

Description:

Author(s):

  • David Crystal

Title:

  • Macbeth and Shakespeare’s linguistic innovation

Publisher:

  • British Library

Date:

  • No date.

Citations:

Need the full citations? Request them in the Study Hall and we will respond with them as quickly as possible. You can also request more research, or get help with other parts of your paper.

Need More Help?

Chegg's tutors will help you get a better grade. Get your first 30 mins FREE.

MLA 8

The 8th edition of MLA has resulted in changes to the citation format. Correcting the citations on our website will take some time. Until then, please reference the guidelines below to correct the citation format. You will still be using the information provided here, but you may need to adjust the format for MLA 8.

Most MLA citations on our site should follow this format:

Author, A. Title of Source. Publisher, Date, URL. Accessed, 1 Jan 2050.
"Web." removed
  • Medium of publication does not need to be stated if obvious.
  • Listing the "name of the site" is not necessary if it is the same as the name of the publisher.
No brackets around URLs
  • URLs should be placed after the publication date, separated by a comma, and before the date accessed, with a period at the end.

For citing an article in a scholarly journal you will use the journal title instead of publisher, and retain any volume, issue, and page numbers. Use a DOI in place of URL if one is available.

Leave a Reply