A Shifting of Linguistic Gears

As I begin the first read-through Love’s Labor’s Lost, I’m noticing that we’re heading into some interesting territory, linguistically speaking.  Within two dozen lines, we begin to see rhyme, and a lot of it.  Nearly half of the lines of the opening scene rhyme (130 of 294), and not just in the standard AA BB CC … variety, either.  Before we hit line 50, we’re seeing ABAB schemes, and by the end of the scene, those ABAB schemes are split between two characters.  Much more complex than what we’ve seen up to now.

Also, we’re getting quite a bit more prose as well… 124 lines of that opening scene is prose, well over one-third.

so, when you think about it… the percentage of rhyme here is actually much higher… 130 out of the remaining 170… that’s over three-quarters…

hmmmm, both comedies, as this one is… are we seeing a trend?

Don’t know if these ratios will continue throughout the play. If we look at the plays we’ve read so far, however, the numbers are striking: the highest percentage of prose is in The Taming of the Shrew (but that was just only 20%), and the highest percentage of rhyme is in The Comedy of Errors (20% of all lines, 23% of poetic lines).

Needless to say, we’re in a whole new linguistic area… I can feel my safe little rhythm of reading the last four histories (you say rhythm, I say rut), being shattered — ok, if not shattered, then in need of major revisions.

Tomorrow, we’ll start with a little plot…

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