I had an epiphany :)

I have finally gained some greater insight to the benefits of text analysis tools. While referring to my first blog post from phase two last week, it was evident that I was struggling with the XML file. I tried again to figure out how Tapor works, but no such luck. So, after devoting hours and developing what feels like carpal tunnel, act 3 is completely hand edited.  Thank God Voyeur can do the rest of my work for me.

Let me say before I begin, that while being in English 205 last semester with professor Ullyot, I read Hamlet for the first time. I gained a surface level understanding. In attempt to analyze the text, In September, we flipped page by page, act by act while attempting to determine if Hamlet really was mad. Talk about old school. It wasn’t until this semester in 203, when I began to deeply analyze Hamlet with the help of Voyeur, that I gained all these great insights into the text. I just think it is amazing how a program is capable of analyzing the text, while bringing words, and other thought provoking ideas to the table. Sorry for the rant, but I am just amazed at my process of learning that these tools have evoked.

Now to be begin..

Act 3 is huge. We have the “to be or not to be” speech, Hamlet and Ophelia explore their relationship, some Guildenstern, Rosencrantz, Claudius, Gertrude, the players and the Mousetrap. In other words a lot of changes are made and a lot of drama begins. My first thought was revenge. Where does revenge appear in act 3? Well apparently not much. A total of 6 different times (revenge, revenged, revengeful). Not all that useful at this point. Today was a day in our meeting, where none of our programs could agree on the amount of times ANY word showed up.  In order to stay consistent, I put my faith in Voyeur.

Moving on, to begin the group focused on analyzing Hamlet and Ophelia’s relationship. There were two reasons for that:

  1. To define their relationship
  2. So we could determine on the same level, what each tool really could add to the analysis

Love was a word that was used 23 times between all of the characters appearing in act three. While concentrating on the scene where Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery, Voyeur also picked up on the words honest and fair. However, Hamlet uses these worlds much differently than we do today.

Oxford Dictionary DefinitionÂ

I took the instances where honest and fair appeared and compared them while looking at their context. Since the box inside Voyeur is so tiny, i moved my information to word.

Copy and pasted honesty and fair side by side to compare

It was not until I looked further into Hamlet’s word choices, that I realized how often Hamlet used honest and fair. I have found recently that Hamlet constantly reiterates words as a way to either get answers from someone or to prove a point. Mad/madness is another instance in 3.4, where he keeps hanging on to this idea in order to prove to both his mother and himself that he is not mad. Hamlet’s unwillingness to stop hanging off ideas seems to be one of the biggest give aways to his ‘madness’.

Prior to analyzing Hamlet with the tools, I believed Hamlet had many reasons to act the way he acted. I never wanted to connect his actions to the assumption that he was mad. Again, with the help of the tools, by simply just analyzing Hamlet’s word choices and crazy tangents, its has become more clear than ever that Hamlet is mad. He is always scheming, and diverting his emotions off on to other characters.

Although Hamlet continues to treat Ophelia in a way less than what one would expect, it is interesting to see that Ophelia maintains her respect for him. After Hamlet makes a scene with the honest and fair ordeal, he starts up again and tells Ophelia “I did love you once”. Through the majority of the scene, Ophelia maintains her cool while using God and “sweet heaven” as external powers to ‘help’ Hamlet. Although she is concerned by his actions and words, she never turns on Hamlet or begins to treat him of a lesser value.

In order to further analyze Ophelia and Hamlet’s relationship, the extractor tool from Tapor would be very useful in separating these relationships from the rest of the play.

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