All texts available in a First Folio or Quarto edition
We included the main Folio and Quarto variants in the first edition of the book, and now add a transcription of the whole text of each play and poem in their original form, using the First Folio and (for the plays that were not included in that Folio, and for the poems) their earliest Quarto.
These are shown in two forms: a parallel presentation, showing the original form of each line in the modern edition; and an independent presentation, in which the text is seen as a whole without any adaptation to the modern edition. For details of the process, see here
All distinctive First Folio or Quarto spellings
We've now included the original text spellings of all words in the Glossary
entries where these differ from the modern spelling.
For example, the Folio text of Coriolanus
includes such forms as meere
(piece), and Inforce
Forms of this kind are now shown in the relevant Glossary entry, as well as alongside the line in the Folio/Quarto text.
If there's no Folio/Quarto spelling noted, the spellings of the word in the original text and in the modern version are identical.
The Circles are now interactive
These diagrams show the Circles
within which people move during a play, so that their relationships to each other, either individually or in groups, can be better understood. They proved to be one of the most popular features of the original book, so we've now made these interactive.
Click on the name of a character who has a speaking part in a play to display all the lines of that character.
All the lines
a character says
We included line counts for each character in the first online edition. We retain this feature in the new edition, but supplement it by displaying all the lines spoken by a character, either in a whole play or in an individual scene. You find these by clicking on a name, either in the play's Circles
or in the list of characters by part size
or by scene
(in Starting Points).
This captures the spirit of the cue-scripts used by Elizabethan actors, and provides a convenient source for anyone wanting to obtain an overview of what a character says throughout a play - or, for actors, an indication of how many lines have to be learned! The lines are shown both in the modern edition and in the Folio or Quarto text.
Choosing a character name from the list presents all the lines that the character says.
Choosing a play title will take you to the first place in the play where that character speaks.
Further links to
Topics and Themes
We've extended the functionality of the Themes
areas: clicking on a reference takes you directly to the part of the play in which the example occurred.
We've also added definitions to any words or phrases where the meaning is not immediately obvious (such as i'fecks
in the Swearing panel).
We've also added all the proper names in the Themes section into the glossary, so that their definitions appear alongside their use in the texts. Most of these names haven't changed their meaning since Shakespeare's day - such as the gods of mythology, astrological terms, and British place names - but this feature will help anyone who is unfamiliar with these domains.
Searching now avoids 'not found' responses
In the first edition, if enquirers typed a word incorrectly, or used a spelling not in the modern edition, they would get a 'not found' search result.
We've now rebuilt the search engine to offer users a 'did you mean?' feature, which removes such dead-ends.
Act and scene lengths in words as well as lines
In the previous version of the site, we showed the number of lines for each act and scene.
Now, in the Starting Points area of the site, we also show the number of words per scene
- especially useful when looking at scenes wherre there are short verse lines or where speeches are in prose.
All lists can now be viewed in ascending or descending order.
Auto-complete glossary and speaker search
We've added an auto-complete function to glossary searches so that you can immediately see related glossary entries. Try typing a word…
It’s also now possible to see an alphabetical list of all the glossary items that occur within a single play.
We've also added auto-complete to the speaker search in Advanced Search
, so that you can find a name quickly. Start typing MA... and up come Malvolio, Maecenas, and others. Clicking the name you want takes you straight to the search.
Finding nearby words
Using our Advanced Search
, it's now easy to see if a particular word is being used nearby a search word - such as happy
near to fair
- within the same line - or up to four adjacent lines.
This feature can also be used to search through the database as a whole, or for your own selection of particular texts or speakers.
Works - by title or year created
You can now order the Works
as you wish to view them, alphabetically or by the best guesstimate year of creation.
Searching selected plays or characters
Using our Advanced Search
, it’s now easy to find all instances of a word used in a particular play - or set of plays - or in a particular poem - or set of poems - or by a particular character - or set of characters.
For example, we can discover whether the word ''love'' is used more in Romeo and Juliet (133 times) or Two Gentlemen of Verona (144 times). Or, within the former, which of the lovers uses the word more often (Juliet 31, Romeo 45).
New print options
In addition to downloading or printing the part of the site you’re working on, it’s now possible to cut and paste the modern or original text, with or without the definitions and key-line numbers.
Mobile / tablet adaptive
The Shakespeare’s Words site is now mobile-adaptive, so you can now explore Shakespeare's works like never before on your mobile device, cell-phone, or tablet. We couldn’t afford an App, but at least SW.com now fits in your pocket.
Thanks to hardware developments over the past decade (not to mention some sophisticated Czech-based programming) the site now runs at least SIX times faster than its previous incarnation.
And depending on your connection speed, as much as TEN times faster than SW.com 2.0...
Want even more new features?
While completing the update and redesign of this 3.0 of ShakespearesWords.com, we were already wondering about what the 4.0 might include.
For this iteration, we've built in all the suggestions for new features that we've been sent over the past ten years.
We now welcome further thoughts about what would make this site even more useful. Videos? Quartos? Original Pronunciation?
Please send any and all (Shakespeare-related) suggestions, requests, and ideas to us via our Contact us
page, & we'll do what we can to accommodate.