I chose to use Voyant to analyze Leontes’s speech that begins in Act 2, Scene 1 at line 108 (page 158 in the Arden book). This speech displays the first signs of jealousy we see from Leontes and it also foreshadows his skepticism about Hermione’s child, indicated by the question he poses to Mamillius about being his true son. While typing the speech in to get my results, I chose to omit extraneous syntax, such as certain determiners like “this” and “a.” I did however keep determiners that directly indicated towards a person, such as “my” and “thou.” Other things, like quantifiers and the word “to” were also removed to provide more relevant results. What I found was that out of 54 words used, 43 were unique, and “my” was most commonly used (4 times). By having him use that particular word so much, Shakespeare emphasizes Leontes’s expressed priority of his own feelings and thoughts over others. As he is speaking about the apparent affair that has erupted between Polixenes and Hermione, he constantly redirects the reader to how this is making him feel and what he thinks of the situation. This selfish attitude fits with his character, as for the majority of the play Leontes displays complete disregard and even villainy towards his friends and family while he believes his reputation and legacy is at stake. Other common words like “entertainment,” “bosom,” and “hot” can fall into the loosely corralled category of sexual language as they all reflect the major tension present at this point in the play.
Full link to results:
Sinclair, Stéfan and Geoffrey Rockwell. “Summary.” Voyant. 21 Mar. 2015. http://voyant-tools.org/tool/CorpusSummary/. Web