The Collected Works of Shakespeare

Please note: the correct URL to use for this page is http://www.it.usyd.edu.au/~matty/Shakespeare/test.html as older URLs (those involving psrg, gh or cs) may be decommissioned at any time. Please update your bookmarks

Enter your query:

A description of the search query format follows the query box. Please read it at least once. If you want to search for a phrase such as out damned spot enclose it in quotes: i.e. "out damned spot". Try to avoid common words like the and of--they slow down the query.

If you are looking for a specific play then use the list of plays. The engine supports searches on the text of the plays and the poetry. Stage directions are not included in the search. Please complete the feedback survey if you feel the search results were incorrect. Check first against any other versions you may have to hand. Be aware that source texts vary. Thankyou for taking the time to use the search engine.

Read the above paragraphs again: The engine searches the text of the plays and poetry not for a play or poem or critical essay. It's pointless, therefore, to type in searches such as Merchant of Venice (to try and find the play itself), "hamlet review", "synopsis of Othello" or (my personal favourite) What did Hamlet smell?, as if magically the search software will provide answers for everyone's homework essays. If this isn't noticed I will be forced to use a BLINK tag.

The search engine searches (in a case insensitive manner) only the text of the plays and poems. It will not find matches in stage directions or dramatorum personae.

Searches are constructed of expressions containing the keywords and (&), or (|), not (- or !), before (<), after (>), and near (~). Do not include any punctuation in queries: e.g.

quality near mercy
quality ~ mercy
nobler and mind
nobler & mind
noble before king

Before, near and after may be optionally followed by a number in square brackets to specify the degree of proximity (the default is 5 words):

summer near discontent
provokes near[10] performance
provokes ~[10] performance
noble <[3] king

Please note that's square brackets [] not () which are called parentheses, or {} which are called braces.

In addition sequences of words can be found by using a query of the form "phrase", where phrase is a sequence of words: e.g.

"out damned spot"
"black ram" near "white ewe"

Outside of phrases a word may be replaced by a complete subexpression enclosed in parenthesis (subexpr): e.g.

silver and (gold or pewter)

Search words may be weighted by preceeding them with a + character and optionally an integer weight: [n]+word. Results are sorted with those with the highest score appearing first: e.g.

+spot or (silver and 2+gold)

Finally, searches may be constrained to a particular play (play: "name"), character (char: "name"), act (act: integer), or scene (scene: integer). If name is a single word then the " characters may be omitted: e.g.

nobler and mind and char:hamlet
romeo near father and act:3

Roman numerals are also allowed for act: and scene: constraints! ;-)


Matty Farrow (matty@it.usyd.edu.au)