Patterns Blog

Patterns in Shakespeare

Oct 11, 2018 | 2 minutes read
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Tag: patterns

Let’s find the repeated phrases in the works of William Shakespeare.

The text is available here: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare What’s convenient for us is that all the works are combined into a single text file.

First, let’s look at the longest repeats, it is repeated once.

[Reads] 'When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown, 
without seeking find, and be embrac'd by a piece of tender air; 
and when from a stately cedar shall be lopp'd branches which, 
being dead many years, shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock, 
and freshly grow ; then shall Posthumus end his miseries, 
Britain be fortunate and flourish in peace and plenty. '

This speaks to the people of Britain. I imagine nationalism was stronger then than nowadays.

Each of the next two passages is repeated three times. They each have a rhyme.

The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee, 
Were still at odds, being but three.
ALL. Double, double, toil and trouble; 
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Today, we have pop songs that give us the rhyme for the day.

This next is repeated 5 times. It must have been fun to hear it in a play with stormy weather:

With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,

There are 11 patterns that have the phrases “my lord” and “good lord”.

I am going to finish with one more pattern. Oscar Wilde is the heir to William Shakespeare.

All of Oscar’s works are not combined into a single text file. So, in here, let’s look at one of his popular works: The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People

Repeated once:

Of course not! 
What could have put such an idea into your pretty little head?

It has a stern no, and a disarming question with a little compliment. He can smile while slapping you. Charming.

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