In the first stages of phase 2 of our group projects, I find I am more intrigued by MONK that I had been initially in phase 1, to say in earnest (but not unfounded) honesty. As promoted by the blog posts of the MONK group and throughout our presentation, MONK, as a text mining tool that focuses on statistical analysis and word frequencies, appears to be more cooperative in answering questions about a broader range of data. Though Act V is not as broad as MONK seems to wish it could be, I have found that I am indeed learning new information about Hamlet, Act V than I had known before.
My initial purpose in embarking on my analyzing journey was to discover what was unique about Act V, that I could not deduce from reading, but could learn from using the analytics of MONK.
In my blog posts from phase 1, I was left pondering the question of, “why does MONK, in comparison to all other tragedies, continuously notify me that it is only half confident that Hamlet is a tragedy?” With this question in mind, I endeavoured to determine if perhaps Act V participated in this strange inconsistency.
To begin, I defined my workset to contain As You Like it,Â The Rape of Lucrece,Â Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing,Â and Act V.
Then, selecting my classification toolset and the newly created workset, I began to rate the the training and test sets. As can be seen in the image below, I rated As you Like it, and Much Ado About NothingÂ as the comedy training sets, and The Rape of LucreceÂ andÂ Julius CaesarÂ as the tragedy training sets. I left Hamlet and Act V with blank ratings, thus making them my test sets.
This is what I was returned with:
From this image it is easy to have the attention redirected to the fact that according to these queries, Julius CaesarÂ is not a tragedy.
However, MONK’s lack of confidence in Julius CaesarÂ being classified as a tragedy notwithstanding, where the attention must be drawn (as it took me a while to do so), is toward the fact that in a statistical analysis of the plays that are present, MONK has classified both HamletÂ and Act V as comedies.
Feeling uneasy about my results, I went back to the user ratings, and removed those anomalies that MONK was picking up, and forced MONK to recognize Hamlet as a tragedy by rating it so.
These were the results I was returned with:
Both analyses were conducted on the basis of nouns.
In classifying Hamlet as a tragedy, and leaving Act V as the test set, MONK returned me with it’s classification that, with a 0% probability of error and 100% confidence, Hamlet is not a tragedy.
However, MONK does believe, that Act V is a tragedy.
The words I was mostÂ interested by in the data it used in determining its confidence in the ratings, however, was words like ‘blood.’
The first number displayed, 26.1241, represents the average frequency that the word appeared every 10000 features in the test set, Act V. The second number is the average frequency that the word occurred every 10000 features in the training sets.
From words such as ‘blood,’ MONK has determined that, based on average frequency, act V can be classified as a tragedy.
It was interesting for meÂ to find that based on word frequencies and statistical analysis of noun features, in comparison to other works of Shakespeare, Act V can be classified as a tragedy and Hamlet cannot. Though it would be a worthwhile endeavour to attempt to figure out why MONK refuses to agree that Hamlet is definitely a tragedy, I find (it being my responsibility as a member of the Act V group for phase 2), I am led to research the cause of Act V being classified as more of a tragedy than Hamlet itself.
Because, to me, the subject matter and the words Shakespeare uses in telling the tale of Hamlet’s tragic story, it is difficult for me to understand its classification as anything but a tragedy. Therefore, Â I have reached another understanding of MONK that I did not previously have in attempting to analyze 3.4. I wanted, so desperately, for MONK to see and understand Hamlet 3.4 the way I read it. I wanted to force it to read the words on the page in the order that they are in, and take the sentence for what it means.
However, it is this reading that we do as sensible, and feeling people, that leads to an analysis that is incomplete without tools such as MONK, and it is that reading that completes the pure numerical data, which is literally meaningless to any symbolic possibilities that exist in literature.
MONK being a tool that uses pure data (and not emotion) in providing a classification, has yet to reveal to me the statistical reasoning for Act V being more tragic than Hamlet as a whole. Although my point here is not that MONK is unable to show me, it is that I have yet to fully understand the reasons it has provided me.
Reading the subject matter, it is rather simple for me to determine why Act V is tragic. The entire cast being wiped out is indeed, quite tragic. However, from reading that same subject matter in Hamlet, I cannot comprehend the reason why the play ISN’T tragic. From the interpretation of Hamlet losing his father, to have his mother marry his uncle, to find out that his uncle-father murdered his mother, and much more, is devastatingly tragic! My point here then, is that my reading and comprehension is not, and cannot always be correct. I would assume, as a university student living in Canada where all people have equal rights, that Othello is a tragedy. However, the audience that Shakespeare wrote for, not knowing a thing about racial equality would consider Othello a comedy.
The evidence of these are in the words, and in the probabilities that MONK discovers. It will classify Othello as a comedy on the basis of words, and in that same way it will classify Hamlet as a ‘half-tragedy.’
It is my hope that we, as the group analyzing Act V, can determine (undeterred by emotional bias) the true natureÂ of Act V in relation to Hamlet by collaborating the various data we get from our digital tools.
I will from here, endeavour to determine why MONK tells me that Act V is so significantly more tragic than the entire text of Hamlet.