Putting it all together

To begin working with an entirely new group of people and knowing that you are the expert on one tool is slightly daunting.  The responsibilities regarding WordSeer are now entirely on me alone. Scary stuff! Anyways, now that the stress of presenting is over (for now), it is time for me to get back to the text in question: Hamlet, and more specifically Act Two. When I first think back to Act Two, what comes to mind is Scene Two, one of the longest (if not THE longest) scenes within the play. If Act Two had a theme—separate from that of the entire play—it would be apprehension and suspicion. Characters do not just confront each other directly but instead go between other characters, further misinforming all parties involved. Why does no one just ask Hamlet why he is acting strange? Act Two is really the beginning of the rising action of the play: setting up the characters and plotline for the climax of the story. It introduces the players, begins to answer why Hamlet is acting so strange, and creates a conflict between Polonius and his son.

Anyone else remember this from high school english?

Our first group meeting went pretty well, and it allowed me to look more closely—and make connections between—our different tools. The one that I found most intriguing was Voyeur. To have the visuals, word frequency graph, and the play all on one page is very handy. The only part of Voyeur that is somewhat inconvenient is that you have to download the text onto the website. In this example, I used Hamlet’s soliloquy at the end of 2.2. Somehow I managed to add the stop words to the Word Cloud—shocking, I know—and was surprised to find that Hamlet uses Hecuba THREE times in one speech!

Another interesting observation—and one that Prof. Ullyot previously pointed out in a comment—is the similarities between WordSeer and WordHoard. Both focus more on the word frequency and analyzing aspect of a text, rather than the tone and themes of a play. I think this will be a huge advantage for both tools, and will allow us to share information between programs.

Of course it isn’t a normal day in English 203 unless something decides to not work. Today it was GoogleChrome. Now normally this would not be a huge problem for me except that WordSeer works best on GoogleChrome. Sadly, there will be no WordSeer screenshots from me today. Once again, thanks technology!

(I would be extremely grateful to anyone who knows how to make GoogleChrome a permitted program in my firewall settings!)

In regards to Act Two specifically, I think our group has a lot to get through. Hamlet has multiple soliloquies throughout this act, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern make an appearance, and everyone is trying to figure out what is wrong with Hamlet. Analyzing this act calls for multiple read-throughs and discussions, as well as collaborations between tools and what each does to answer our questions.

One thought on “Putting it all together

  1. Hey there Madelyn,
    I hope that this phase isn’t too daunting, despite being the beginning of a new group, and being the expert in your group. Remember, if there’s anything, anything at all, that you need help with in regards to Wordseer, you can still email me or the rest of the Phase 1 group.
    Another thing I’d like to address is the idea that Act 2 is the beginning of the rising action. That makes a lot of sense, because the Ghost’s talk with Hamlet is definitely the inciting incident.
    And one last thing: how did you come up with the themes apprehension and suspicion?

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