WAIT! We still have so much more to learn!

I started making some process, which was oddly enough not prompted by my tool. I became frustrated yet again with Voyeur because as I have been experiencing and learning about my team mate’s tools, I feel like Voyeur doesn’t really have anything new or special to add to the table (or at least that is how I see it through my eyes).  I was amazed by Jesse’s tool, WordSeer, and its ability to search for a person “described as”.  This prompted me to use Voyeur in a different way than I ever had. Instead of randomly searching words in Voyeur and or looking in the cloud for words appearing often, I decided to start reading the text in the corpus from Act three, scene 1 to the end of scene 3. I began to analyze and suddenly picked up on important words on my own.

As a starting point, we came up with a general theme.  Madness in Hamlet is portrayed in his actions or thoughts, conversation with Ophelia, the famous to be or not to be speech, and the play the mousetrap.  While reading the text I started to recognize certain words reoccurring under the idea of deceit, and the power of words (which i am saving for later 😀 ). 

Believe, hear and know don’t sound like special words at first, but the use of them are important. While reading the context of these words, I was immediately reminded of Shakespeare’s Othello and Iago’s lines, “I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear” (II.iii.330). The concept of pouring these deadly lies in Othello’s ear is directly reflected in Hamlet, both literally and metaphorically.  Claudius poisons Hamlet’s father in the ear, and uses words metaphorically to manipulate people and fill their ears full of lies (poison).

In our scene 1-3, know appears a total of 10 times, hear 8, heard 4, hearing once and believe 5 times.

While referring to the context of these words, believe was often used in terms of lies and deception by believing. For example Hamlet says: “you should not have believed me” and “believe none of us” at two different times.  In order to believe or know, one must HEAR or learn of it in some way. We all know that quote “seeing is believing”, well in Hamlet seeing and hearing apparently allows one to believe as well. Sadly, what they believe to be the truth is nothing but poison (more often than not at least anyways). Some of you may or may not find this interesting, but I thought these specific words were very important because characters relied so heavily on convincing characters of things, or fooling them with words.  Believe, hear and know are all closely related enough for me to make a connection individually, together, and in comparison to Othello.  Put aside Hamlet and Othello for a moment, it is interesting to think about how heavily we allow words, true or not (by hearing) to suddenly become something we quickly know or believe.

With this being said, I thought it might be interesting to take some of the words gathered from Hamlet and also submit a file in Voyeur of Othello to compare them.

Full Othello vs. Act 3 Hamlet

While inserting Othello into Voyeur, i learned more about my own tool. Apparently if you submit/ upload an entire play into the program, the results are a million more times interesting. Unfortunately, I kept getting error messages with Hamlet, but I thought some of you may be interested in what more Voyeur could offer.

Full Othello

Look at the pretty colors in the corpus reader! It also splits the play into scenes, shows the longest documents, lists distinctive words and shows the highest vocabulary density (ex, scene 2).

Back to work… although the characters within in the act of Hamlet rely on hearing or seeing to prove things, Othello the play relies heavily on characters not seeing things. This lead me to concentrate on the power of Hamlet’s words and language choice which help to drive his thoughts. While piecing together hear/know/believe with the power of words, I was also interested in looking into the connection between actions and words.

I guess presentations begin on Friday, and I can honestly say that Voyeur and our tools have so much more to offer than what we have already explored! I cant wait to share our findings with the rest of the class.


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