Itâ€™s hard to believe we are already at our last blog post for Phase 2! The fact that weâ€™ve all had access to 5 different tools for the digital analysis of Hamlet makes me feel like weâ€™ve only just scratched the surface.Â There are so many intricacies to these tools we are using (more than any of us can really understand with the limited amount of time weâ€™ve been able to work with them) and itâ€™s difficult to try and reach real in-depth results when we are simply familiar with the tools, not full-out experts.
It has been extremely helpful, however, to have 4 other teammates who can quickly answer the random questions that I throw up in the air just hoping someone will have a solution to.Â Because each of us has extra practice with our own tool, we have found that we can help fill in each otherâ€™s tools where they seem to be lacking.Â For example, Kate will ask, â€œcan anyone search all the lemmas of this word?â€ and I can eagerly tell her that yes, indeed, WordHoard IS useful for something and that YES, it can search up lemmas!
It has been pretty cool to see where some of our tools align, and where some of them overlap.Â We used a GoogleDoc to write down all of the things our individual tools are able to do, so that when we come across a specific need in our research we can check out the GoogleDoc and find out if any of the other tools can help us with our problem.Â We have found this to be a pretty helpful way of going about things because without these lists of functions, I would have no idea what to even ask or who to ask about anything, and then weâ€™d be getting nowhere.
So the subject I have been using the tools to study over the past week was how the aspects of the Ghostâ€™s character may have changed from Act 1 to the rest of the play.Â Because the Ghost only speaks in 2 scenes total (I figured that out nice and quick thanks to WordHoard) I realized I would need to branch out into the other tools to get some kind of information from these few appearances.Â Turns out that Richelleâ€™s tool, WordSeer, and Rubyâ€™s tool, Voyeur, seemed to be of most use to me in addition to my own tool, WordHoard.
To start off, I used WordHoard to see how many times Hamlet talked about/talked to the Ghost.Â I got six matches total.
From there, I decided to get help using WordSeer to get some visuals going for myself.Â Richelle helped me create a Heat Map for the word â€œghostâ€ to see how many times the word even came up in Hamlet.Â I got the following result:
As you can see, not only does the Ghost not appear in the last third of the play, but it is not even mentioned.Â I got a sense of this from my WordHoard findings, but this visual helped me grasp the effect it had on the rest of the play.Â I think the Ghostâ€™s heavy involvement in the first Act really shows what kind of role it played in the story.Â The Ghost comes in initially to give Hamlet a mission, lots of conversation is had about the Ghost between Hamlet and his friends, and the Ghost pops back in to check up on Hamlet, reminding him what it was he was supposed to be doing.Â After that, the Ghost basically disappears.Â Hamlet becomes consumed with what he needs to do, not for the Ghost, but for himself.Â The Ghost almost seems to be irrelevant to his thoughts or topic of conversation after that.
Voyeur also gave me a similar result as the Heat Map, further enforcing my inference.Â The Word trends function shows that all conversation had about the Ghost completely subside near the end of the play.
As you can see, words such as â€œlifeâ€ and â€œdeathâ€ occur most often out of any.Â â€œDeadâ€ and â€œbloodâ€ also seem to appear often.Â By using this function that WordSeer possesses, it allows readers to find trends through the subjects that would be near impossible to discover without the tool!
Examples such as this have really helped me see what a fresh and important spin digital humanities has on the world of literature.Â Tools such as WordHoard, WordSeer, Voyeur, TapOr, and Monk really do open so many doors in terms of research possibilities., things that close reading couldnâ€™t ever really do. I realize this is a fairly new and ever-evolving concept, but Iâ€™m excited to see what else can be discovered in years to come in the digital humanities world.