Act 2 & TAPoR: Round 2

I concluded my last post assuming that my tool (TAPoR) wouldn’t be able to take me much further in analysis of act 2. After some reflection on that, I’ve decided that there really can’t be just one useful tool in TAPoR – that being the List Words tool. So in this post I’m going to bring the tools I’ve previously cast aside to the forefront, in the hopes that they can further push this analysis of act 2.

I have noticed in Phase 2, that having a decided theme to look for before using most of the tools within TAPoR is helpful. In Phase 1, perhaps because of the shorter text to analyze, most of the times this still seemed fruitless. All group members found the themes of surveillance, and spying as a central theme within act 2. In my last post I discussed the frequency in which the word “know” is used, and connected this to the overall theme of surveillance.

Below is a list of all utterances of “know”, and the line surrounding each utterance, generated by the Find Collocates tool:

– Above being scene 1, and below being scene 2

What struck me as interesting about this list is that “I know” is the most common phrase surrounding know. Sure enough, using the Word Pairs tool, “I know” comes up 5 times within act 2:

I’d be willing to bet that Polonius is the one who states most of these “I know”s. In my previous post I’d proposed that he is involved in so much surveillance as a means to stay relevant in the court. Going around and stating you know lots of stuff is certainly a way to stay relevant. Is there any program that has a tool that can quickly find who says what? Perhaps a fellow group member with a tool better adapted to this can respond.

While it may just be two new tools I’ve used alongside the theme of knowledge, these tools did effectively save some time. I’m not sure I would have even noticed the “I” connected to “know” on so many occasions using old fashioned close reading.

I believe it was due to working out this act with others that used different programs that inspired me to try and look passed the difficulties TAPoR can present, and just pull all I could out of tools. Fellow group member Kassidy noted in his last post that Polonius speaks on 68 different occasions in act 2. It was through this insight that I was able to use another tool in a way I hadn’t thought of before.

Below is the always popular list words tool:

‘Plns’ and ‘Hmlt’, are of course Polonius and Hamlet, but when written outside of conversation such as a speaker cue or stage cue. In the past I thought the inclusion of “plns” and “hmlt” was useless, but while the number is slightly off for Polonius’ moments of speaking (65 TaPOR shows), it is still getting the same information that Kassidy got from Voyeur. We discussed the fact that this ’65’ or ‘68’ would include stage directions such as “enter plns”, but nonetheless this allows the conclusion that Polonius is involved in this act a lot. This is information also helps the theory that it is Polonius who utters the most “I knows” within this act, and is therefore most concerned with the pursuit of knowledge through surveillance.

Also, I finally remembered where my knowledge on the theme of surveillance came from: a Dr. Ullyot lecture! Those of you from the 205 class last semester will remember this “Hamlet”  adaptation:

Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2

This clip from act 2 has Claudius and Polonius standing behind a one-way mirror while they spy on Hamlet’s interaction with Ophelia. Hamlet also becomes aware of being watched and asks Ophelia where her father is as he looks up into a surveillance camera. It’s Perfect visualization for the themes going on in this act.

One thought on “Act 2 & TAPoR: Round 2

  1. Great post Matt!
    I think that the Find Collocates tool will be pretty helpful when searching for word usage within Act Two. In regards to your question about finding out the speaker of a line, WordSeer does a good job of showing the word searched and then allowing you to find it within the play. I guess this could work when trying to find the speaker, but one of the other tools might find it more efficently. I was also in Dr. Ullyot’s 205 class and think that this adaptation very clearly demonstrates the theme of surveillance within the scene. We should definitely think about talking about that in our presentation!

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