Using TAPoR with Laertes and Ophelia

After discussing our Plan of Action further this morning, my team of Act one decided that we would each look at individual characters, and use our tools to separately analyze our people, and then collaborate our findings on Friday. As you can see from this link to our google doc, I was chosen to take a look at Ophelia and Laertes. The first thing I decided that I needed to do, was to isolate the lines of both Ophelia and Laertes, because if there is one thing that I know about TAPoR, it is that it does not like to tell you what character is saying the words that it finds. After I found a website with act one of Hamlet, I copied it onto a word document and began to tinker with it. I started with changing all of the speakers to abbreviations of their names, so that I would be able to tell when a person is speaking, and when somebody is saying their name. I saved it to my texts in my TAPoR account, and then decided to separate Ophelia and Laertes’ lines. Though Laertes has a few lines in Scene one, I only used the lines he speaks in Scene three, because my study is based more upon Laertes and Ophelia’s relationship rather than the one Laertes has with the Royal Court. The first thing I noticed immediately after separating their lines, is that it looked like Laertes was saying a lot more words and had longer lines than Ophelia did. So, using the find words tool, I investigated this hunch and sure enough, I was right. This tool showed me that even though Ophelia is in the scene for nearly twice as long and has more speeches than Laertes, he says nearly three times as many words. With the List Words tool, I also noticed that the most frequent word that Ophelia uses is the word “Lord”. She uses this title six times, once referring to Hamlet, and the other five times she uses the phrase, she is talking to her father and is referring to him as “my lord”. The over-use of this one word in a mere one hundred fifty two words shows us how obedient and how much respect Ophelia has for the men around her. Even with almost three times as many words, Laertes does not utter the word “Lord” nearly as often as Ophelia does. The only time Laertes does say the word “lord” is when, like Ophelia, he is talking to his father and calling him “my Lord”. It is interesting when you compare how these siblings refer to their parent, in such a formal, respectful way, to the way Hamlet so informally refers to his mother as simply his mother. You can see just how much they respect their father’s authority, whereas Hamlet has seemed to lose all the respect he had for his mother. This is honestly something that I never really noticed or thought of, and (I did not think that I would ever say this, but) I am really happy that TAPoR was able to enlighten me.

One thought on “Using TAPoR with Laertes and Ophelia

  1. Those are awesome results if you wanted to look at Hamlet from a feminist perspective. Is Ophelia actually “respectful,” or is it just the way she needs to act? Searching through all her lines in the play to find some ‘cracks’ in her obedience to show how she actually feels.

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