Now I am alone:a corpus stylistic approach to Shakespearian soliloquies

Murphy, Sean Edward (2007) Now I am alone:a corpus stylistic approach to Shakespearian soliloquies. In: Papers from LAEL PG 2006. UNSPECIFIED, pp. 66-85.

Full text not available from this repository.


A popular interest in Shakespeare has been matched in recent years by an increasing number of computer-assisted analyses of the plays. Although not without their critics, corpus stylistic studies have offered scope and reliability in the study of literary texts, particularly through key word analyses. In this paper, I show how Wmatrix, a web-based corpus processing environment (Rayson, 2003, 2007), in conjunction with other corpus tools, can systematically extend such key analyses from words, to parts of speech and semantic fields. By so doing, a greater understanding of linguistic aspects of an author’s literary output may be achieved. This study is based on a key word, grammatical category and semantic field analysis of soliloquies and asides in 12 Shakespeare plays. An investigation of the linguistic characteristics of soliloquies/asides as opposed to dialogic speech reveals the overuse of the interjection O and words related to the body. Comparisons of soliloquies across genres tend to match intuitive assumptions. Finally, soliloquies written in the later period (1596-1606) tend to have a far greater proportion of ‘the (noun) of (noun phrase)’ structures. The paper ends by suggesting that more empirical work of this nature is needed to underpin qualitative literary judgements.

Item Type:
Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
09 Aug 2016 08:36
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 02:10