Phase II: New Group and New Beginning

I am rather excited for Phase II, not only because of the awesome people in my group but also because we now have the ability to examine more text in a more in-depth way. I found in Phase I that while Voyeur is excellent at testing hypotheses, Voyeur is not a hypothesis-generating tool. It is difficult to come up with ideas about the play unless you go through and read it yourself. It is this method that our group is going to use first. By first reading and examining Act 4 without the use of digital tools we can, (at least briefly) divorce ourselves from our computers and focus on the text. I found while examining Act 3 Scene 4 that I often focused very heavily on the trees rather than the forest, losing myself in the details without the ability to focus on the larger context of the corpus. Hopefully by reading and taking notes on Act 4 before hand, myself and my group can find common themes with which to work and remind ourselves of the forest.

One advantage of now having an act to work with rather than merely a scene, is now Voyeur has more words to analyze and work with. I feel that every group will attest to this advantage. While Act 3 Scene 4 was an excellent testing ground for our various tools I think we can all agree that it is time to move onto bigger fish. Using my beloved Word Trends tool I examined Act 4 and was presented with this graph…

Plugging in the words “good”, “death” and “love” I am now able to analyze themes within the Act. As you can see, “good” and “death” seem to mirror each other. This revelation and others will be worth exploring in further detail as Phase II progresses. Simply because the two mirror each other does not necessarily mean that the two ideas are actually related to each other. It is also worth noting that “love” ascends in the latter part of the Act as “death” and “good” showcase a simultaneous descending trend and then suddenly rebounding back upward. What is responsible foe this trend? As I have not re-read the Act yet, I am unable to draw a connection between what is actually happening within the Act to understand why this occurs. Again, this is a trend worth investigating further into Phase II.

I am really excited to collaborate with the other digital tools after watching their presentations. I think that by working together we will achieve a more comprehensive and through view of the corpus then we ever would have been able to do on our own with our own respective tools. At the beginning of this course, I came out of the tutorials with a premature judgement of each of the tools already made up. I had decided which tools I liked and which tools I didn’t like and it wasn’t until each of the presentations that I achieved a grasp of what the digital humanities actually operated. The only way to really gain results in the digital humanities is to collaborate and cooperate. It is certainly possible to gain results using only one tool to examine the text however I would not advise it. My hope is that through Phase II we will each be able to use our tools best qualities as well as being able to rely on the other tools to make up for our own programs disadvantages.


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