Frustration and An Abundance of Claudius

Well we have reached the end. It feels strange to think that this is the last blog post. It feels like only yesterday when we were starting out in this course and already we are nearly finished it. Can you believe that I had never even heard of the digital humanities before January? Okay, musing over.

Let us jump into the project.

Looking past the ‘code names’ here, are the most frequently used words within Act 3 Scene 4 (which has approximately 1,789 words taking into account the ‘code names’):

We can see in this scene that Hamlet wants his mother to see what Claudius truly is as emphasized by the frequency of the words of ‘eyes’ ‘sense’, ‘look’, ‘come’ and ‘mother’. Now Kira, (the wonderful TaPOR member of my group) and I have been collaborating on examining the words of specific characters speeches throughout Act 4. Using the ‘Extract Text’ Tool in TaPOR she has been able to isolate several characters speeches throughout the Act including Claudius, Hamlet, Gertrude, Laertes and Ophelia. Now Claudius speaks the most in this Act by far, speaking just over 2,000 words total with Hamlet coming in second with 716 words and Gertrude speaking the least speaking time of all of the main characters, coming in at a mere 332 words. Now if I take all of Claudius’ words in the Act and stick them into Voyeur this is the result that comes out…

Claudius is very concerned about every other character in this scene. The fact that he is concerned about Hamlet is made obvious by the scene where Claudius is interrogating Hamlet over where he hid Polonius’ body and he both comforts Gertrude after her encounter with Hamlet and successfully talks Laertes down from the rage he felt by the fact that his Father had not been given a proper burial. In fact Claudius appears in every single scene in this Act minus the scene where Hamlet meets up with Fortinbras’ army. In first reading this Act my first impressions were of Hamlet’s wit when asked what he done with Polonius’ body (“At supper”) or of Ophelia’s descent into madness and her subsequent death. I had never before realized just how much Claudius appears in this Act until examining it with my digital tool.

Speaking of digital tool. Guess what I got today…

My first digital bug! Yeah! That sign kept showing up for ten minutes while I was trying to write this blog post. Just as I was about to start panicking the site came up again, however I was reminded of my group meeting this morning. In the meeting there were complaints about their tools not opening or giving error messages. Now Voyeur has been very picky about what kind of browser that I use with it and I do get error messages sometimes but they were easily dealt with. This, however made me get a glimpse of some of the frustration that my other group members have gone through in trying to access their tools. This for me exposes a major downside of the digital humanities. What is the point of having a tool to analyze text with, if the tool that you wish to use can not even be accessed easily and when you need to use it rather then when the server decides you need it.

Fingers crossed for the presentation everyone!


2 thoughts on “Frustration and An Abundance of Claudius

  1. Hi Katie!

    I totally agree with you about it being so crazy the course is practically over. How did time go so fast? And seriously, HOW I ever thought I could study Shakespeare without Digital Humanities is now beyond me. I even find myself using WordHoard for our other Shakespeare class. It’s seriously such an effective way to get new findings, as the rest of your blog post shows! I thought it was super interesting how you and Kira were able to collaborate so effectively with the different speakers and isolating them out. It really seems like you were able to obtain some good results this way, and it just goes to show how important team work is in this phase. Has anyone else in your team been collaborating with their tools? And how did you go about realizing how TapOr and Voyeur could be used together! Our group was having troubles finding ways to incorporate TapOr but it looks like it worked well for you guys! Good job!


  2. Heeeey!

    It interesting that Danya’s group is having troubles finding ways to incorporate Tapor with other tools. I found Tapor to be one of the easiest tools to combine, especially with Voyeur. Perhaps this could be because I am most familiar with Tapor along side Voyeur. Personally, Ive struggled more with finding ways for the other tools to be used in combination with Voyeur. Anyways, Ive been interesting in getting the opinions from former group mates on our tool, Voyeur, after time has been spent learning and collaborating with other tools. I personally still love its simplicity, but id trade it any day for another tool. What are you thoughts?

    Also, Ive been following the class blog and i believe another group is working on character development. Since your post is focused on the “Abundance of Claudius”, is that your mission based on characters as well?

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