Alliteration and character focus in the York Plays

The Digital Medievalist Journal has published a new article, “Alliteration and character focus in the York Plays” by Richard Khoury and Douglas W. Hayes.

Here is the abstract:

This paper presents the first complete statistical study of alliteration in the York Cycle of Mystery Plays. To this end, an algorithm is designed to render the phonetic reading of the words of the play and to measure alliteration in the speeches of individual characters. Next, the alliteration statistics of the characters are studied in the entire Cycle, and in each individual play, in order to gain new insight on the possible significance of that linguistic feature in the Plays. Our results indicate that alliteration may have been used as a tool to focus the attention of the audience on one or two major characters in each individual play. Taken in the context of the entire Cycle, there is also a hint of repeating patterns in the manner that alliteration is used within the play.

Access the full article here.


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