Winged words from Shakespeare´s tragedy Hamlet in the world of Google texts

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Författare: Marianne Wabnik; [2015-10-16]

Nyckelord: Expression; phrase; quotation; Shakespeare;

Sammanfattning: This essay explores a selection of famous quotes in Shakespeare´s Hamlet. Almost everyone knows some of them, even people lacking formal literary education. These quotes, which have become winged words or idioms, are discussed. Many phrases and expressions in Hamlet are still used in everyday language, sometimes unconsciously. In this essay the number has been limited to eighteen.This paper is an effort to investigate whether the selected phrases continue to live in the English language as well as other languages such as Swedish and German. Well-known, commonly used phrases are subject of this essay. These phrases occur in today´s social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and blogs and are frequent in newspaper headlines and in book- and film titles, not to mention lyrics and music albums. Furthermore they seem to bridge the generation gap; they are used by older as well as younger people. They often occur in modern music- and video titles.Some phrases are related to health, medicine and sports and others to economy, consumer affairs and distribution. We find the expressions in advertisements for a variety of services and products. Other expressions may be associated with crime; they occur in detective stories and crime magazines. This essay also explores expressions related to classical literature and opera librettos. In scientific contexts one can encounter Shakespeare´s winged words.The expressions occur in remarkably large numbers in different contexts, with or without reference to Shakespeare, often in mutilated form. Despite the centuries that have elapsed since Shakespeare´s winged words were coined, they still enrich the language.

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