Out of all the acts in Hamlet, Act 5 is my favorite.Â There is a great philosophical/humorous conversation with some gravediggers to start off the act.Â Then, after Hamlet has his famous nostalgic conversation with a skull, there is a dramatic fight between Hamlet and Laertes in the grave of Hamletâ€™s supposed lover.Â But the excitement doesnâ€™t stop there! After an epic sword fight and a bit of poison, the entirety of the royal family ends up dead!!Â I think my new button sums up the whole Act nicely.
Yet, as it always is with research, the most difficult part in analyzing this Act is figuring out where to start. Â The group and I decided to begin by analyzing the Act individually with our respective tools.Â The hope is that we will each discover some areas of interest worth collaborating on.
As the TAPoR expert in this group, I know one of the advantages I have is the ability to isolate certain speakers and areas of the play.Â Keeping this advantage in mind, I began my analysis by using the List Words tool, as it always offers a good starting point.
The results of Act 5 did not offer much that I didnâ€™t already know. Â Obviously death is a major theme throughout this Act and the King, Hamlet, Laertes and Horatio all major characters associated with it.Â The frequency of the word â€œknowâ€ was a bit surprising for me, but further examination with the Concordance tool informed me that it is used within the conversation of Osric, Hamlet and Horatio.Â In this case, Hamlet and Horatio are repeating Osericâ€™s questions as a means to make fun of him.Â However, I did notice that this List Words results were a lot different from my results in Act 3.4, where the focus is specifically on Hamlet, Gertrude, and her past relationships. This thought led me to inquire after Hamletâ€™s change in character throughout the play.Â Wanting to explore this inquiry further, I decided to isolate just Hamletâ€™s lines and again use the List Words tool.Â I also did the same with Hamletâ€™s lines in Act 1 to give myself a comparison point.
In these results, I was surprised particularly by the comparative frequencies of the word â€œfather.â€Â In Act 1 it is mentioned 9 times by Hamlet, but in Act 5 in is only mentioned by him once. Â I thought this result was interesting because Hamletâ€™s main motive throughout this act is to avenge his father, but he hardly mentions him in the moments leading up to, and immediately following Claudiusâ€™ death.Â It seems as though Hamlet Sr. is no longer the main focus of Hamletâ€™s attentions towards the end of this play.Â I do not think his desire for revenge has abated, but when I thought about Hamletâ€™s motives deeper, I realized that Hamlet kills his Uncle only after the death of Ophelia and his mother.Â Perhaps it is this grief combined with Laertesâ€™ confession that finally gives Hamlet the motive to kill Claudius.Â This conclusion would then certainly indicate a change in Hamletâ€™s motive from the beginning to the end of the play.
As I work further with my group, Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing how we can expand on each otherâ€™s findings.Â I believe the most difficult task will be narrowing all our findings into one conclusion, as there is a lot of information at our disposal and a large variety of tools.Â It shall be an interesting process.