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    Keywords that characterise Shakespeare’s (anti)heroes and villains

    Archer, Dawn ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4547-6518 and Findlay, Alison (2020) Keywords that characterise Shakespeare’s (anti)heroes and villains. In: Voices of the Past and Present - Studies of Involved, Speech-related and Spoken. John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 31-46. ISBN 9789027207654

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    This paper undertakes a keyword analysis of seven Shakespearean characters: Titus, Tamora, Aaron, Lear, Edmund, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The paper discusses how, once contextualised, these keywords provide useful insights into their feelings/thoughts towards others, events, motivations to act, etc. In terms of findings, only Aaron denotes his “villainy” directly. Tamora, in contrast, draws upon a keyword that is denotatively positive; in context, though, “sweet” reveals her womanly wiles. “Weep”, for Lear, and “legitimate” and “base”, for Edmund, problematize their status as (one-dimensional) villains. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth draw upon grammatical keywords, “if” and “would” in ways that signal something about their (deteriorating) emotional and social positions as much as their villainous intentions.

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