So begins a new adventure in phase 2, trying to uncover a deeper meaning to Hamlet. Iâ€™m very interested to see how well the blending of tools will aid the understanding of the play and in specific if my tool will actually become useful.
To begin the process my group decided to each do our own general search of Act 5 so we have starting off points for an analysis. Playing around with WordHoard is always funâ€¦.ha! Not quite sure what to start looking for I played around with lemmas and decided that death and love are more than appropriate for this act as there is a funeral and well, everyone dies thanks to Shakespeareâ€™s classic tragedies. Surprisingly â€˜deathâ€™ is only seen eight times in both scenes and â€˜loveâ€™ is seen ten times. One thing that was annoying when searching for the â€˜loveâ€™ lemma was that I had to do two individual searches; once for it as a noun, and once for it as a verb. Nothing surprising came up when I searched these lemmas though, so that was a dead end for deeper exploration from my aspect
So I turned my searches towards looking at negatives and adjectives. I already knew the anger, sadness, and death that occurred so the fact that there were fifty-nine instances of the word not (or the negative) in the act was not surprising. What it did cause me to notice was that this program calls the gravediggers, clowns. Weird I know, they are given the description of clowns in the character list in our hardcopies but their role is of gravediggers. It would be interesting to see what play source this program pulled the text from because Iâ€™ve never read an edition with clowns in it. Anyways, Hamlet leads the way with his use of the negative by saying it 35 times, which just reiterates my analysis of him from act 3.4.
Adjectives on the other hand surprised me. Knowing that the act was a darker one I figured it would be hard to find good or positive adjectives but it was the contrary. The beginning was filled with positive adjectives and it was hard to find negative ones. In the middle there was a constant wave of positive and negative adjectives used amongst the characters. Finally at the end my initial thoughts were confirmed and the negative adjectives poured out during the final battle.
The last thing I looked into was the amount the speakers spoke in the act. Hamlet spoke 44% of the words, while the gravediggers (or clowns according to WordHoard) spoke an astounding 17% of the act. The other nine players spoke the remaining 39% of the act but none of them spoke more than 8% of those remaining words. I hope that makes sense and isnâ€™t overly confusingâ€¦.
Anyways, I still had the same annoying problems with WordHoard, having endless windows open, having to tediously build my searches because Iâ€™m not special enough to have an account. Hopefully my group members can help me find a use for my tool because my initial findings arenâ€™t very helpful or deep.