Knowledge and Knowing

Knowledge, in both its past and its present tense is a big topic in act two of Hamlet. Polonius is obsessed with the acquisition of knowledge about others, particularly Hamlet; on the other hand, Hamlet throughout a large portion of the play is seeking knowledge as to his uncle’s guilt relating to the death of his father, in fact his last soliloquy in act two ends with a plan that is intended towards the finding out of that same guilt. On this whole idea of knowledge and the gaining of it, the King and Queen also want to know something, what they want to know, is what exactly ails the young Hamlet.  The presence of surveillance and observation in Act II has been discussed a lot in my group and what after all is surveillance, but the gathering of information or knowledge.  Using voyeur’s Bubble Line tool I compared the words: Know, Known, and Knowledge; in doing this, I found out that the word know appears a lot more often than the other two do, it also appears in conjunction with itself in two points and in conjunction with knowledge in one point, whereas it is never in conjunction with known.  This leads me to believe that what is already known is not of the same importance as the desire to know things in Act II of Hamlet.

Above is the comparison of Know, Known and Knowledge using the Bubble Lines.

I also compared the same three words with the addition of the word, Unknown, using the word frequency chart, which in conjunction with the concordances tool on Voyeur is by far my favorite aspect of the program.  When I compared these four words I found that Known and Knowledge actually appear very close together near the beginning of the act.  I also found out the part of the act where the word Unknown is mentioned, none of the other three words that I searched for were mentioned.

Above is the Word frequency chart featuring the words: Know, Known, Unknown, and Knowledge.

From both the Bubble Line and the Word Frequency Chart, I have been able to glean that the word Know is used throughout the whole corpus of act II, showing that is definitely an important theme throughout the act and by its connection to the idea of surveillance and observation, I am fairly sure that it connects to my groups ideas regarding act II as well.

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