So I wanted to try something new for this project, despite my new-found love for Wordle, and so I checked out the Google Ngram Viewer. Being able to see the mentions of words or phrases over such a large span of time is absolutely amazing.

So I started with looking at “William Shakespeare” and “Much Ado About Nothing” just to get a feel for how the app worked, and to see if there was any correlation between the author popularity and title popularity. While there wasn’t an obvious correlation, I found it interesting just how many books mentioned the Bard’s name, and then how high it peaked about 13 years ago.
Here’s the link to that graph:

So next I thought I’d look at the names of the 4 main characters: Beatrice, Benedick, Hero and Claudio. Beatrice without a doubt has the most mentions over the past 200 years or so, peaking around the 1840’s. If only they let us know why or how many books it was mentioned in (because now I’m sooo curious). But what’s almost more interesting was that Claudio was rather popular in the early 1800’s, and then just dived right off, while Hero and Benedick stay fairy even throughout. Honestly, I thought Hero would have the most mentions because it has multiple meanings.
Here’s the link to that graph as well:

I think what I learned the most from this little experiment was the impact that Shakespeare has had in literature and the written word in general, even 200 years after he was gone. Not only his own name, but the names of his characters remain prevalent today, almost 400 years after his death. I guess to me it just seems astounding that one author, and just looking at 4 characters from one play, has been able to have this much of an impact on our consciousness. He seems to have infiltrated every day life, whether we know it or not. And children who have names like Beatrice, or Katherine, or Sebastian, or maybe even Henry, have these amazing Shakespearean characters to look at and know that part of their name comes from this amazing author.


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