Exploring the Traditional

During this semester friends and family frequently asked what I was studying in English.  I knew that the response “digital humanities” would mean nothing to them, much as it had meant nothing to me until a few months ago.  I could explain that the field of digital humanities is an innovative method for textual analysis, which utilizes computer based tools to research pieces of literature, but that explanation is a bit wordy.  In the end I just responded with “Hamlet,” at least that they can understand.

Specifically, my English 203 class used the five digital tools, Monk, Wordhoard, TAPoR, Voyant, and WordSeer to study William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  These tools perform a variety of functions, from compiling word frequency lists, to identifying specific words, nouns and adjectives, to using complex algorithms to classify a text.  This method of research is both fast and easy.  With a click of the button, I can find all instances of the word “death” in Hamlet.  With two more clicks, I can look at that word in the context of all of Shakespeare’s plays.

During the course of my studies, I began to wonder as to the future of the Humanities.  Will high school students read Romeo and Juliette through a series of charts and graphs, as opposed to worn paper copies? As a book lover, the thought of losing the art of reading is scary, but this new method of digital scholarship is not without its advantages.  Digital analysis broadens the area of research by compressing information, while also allowing humanists to observe qualities of a text that cannot be found through traditional reading and analysis.

On the other hand, the computer is imperfect and lacks the understanding of a human reader.  For instance, it is difficult for programs like WordSeer to recognize the different lemma’s of a word.  Likewise, the computer cannot make qualitative assumptions about a text, such as the tone or mood.  Thus, the results of digital analysis have the potential to skew one’s interpretation of literature.  Without a thorough understanding of elements like plot, characters and setting, graphs and charts have little meaning for the casual observer.  In this method of digital analysis, it is still important to read a text to comprehend the themes and context of the literature.  Only then can one create questions for further analysis.  Thus, the digital humanities is a method of study to be used in conjunction with traditional analyses to expand the field of research and test established hypotheses.   


The Pros and Cons of Exploratory Analysis

Aditi Muralidharan is the developer of the text analysis program WordSeer.  Aditi’s program integrates the works of Shakespeare for analysis using a variety of visualization tools, such as heat maps, concordance diagrams, and frequency graphs.  These tools aid the user in what Aditi calls “exploratory analysis.”  In her blog post, “Men and Women in Shakespeare,” Aditi addresses the question, “How does the portrayal of men and women in Shakespeare’s plays change under different circumstances?” Using this question as her guide, Aditi exercises “exploratory analysis.”  This term essentially means establishing a hypothesis based on investigation with the digital tool.  In other words, Aditi is using WordSeer as a hypothesis-generating tool.

Taken from Aditi's blog

"Possessed by his" on the left; "possessed by her" on the right.

Aditi begins by searching words that are “possessed by” both “his” and “her.”  In general, she found the language referencing women to be more “physical,” because of its association with male family members and body parts, including “hand” and “heart.”  A comparison to “his” showed a similar occurrence with the addition of “sentimental” abstractions, like “life” and “favor.”  Closer examination with heat maps led Aditi to the conclusion that body parts are more prevalent in histories than tragedies, but family relations is unchanged across the two categories.  Therefore she created a hypothesis that body parts have a greater role in plays where love is a prevalent theme, as they are often a symbol of a character’s affections.

Though this hypothesis has merit, it is a very general observation of all plays.  When applying the exact same search to a specific text like Hamlet, the results stray slightly from Aditi’s hypothesis.

"Possessed by his" in the Full text of Hamlet.

"Possessed by her" in the full text of Hamlet.

One immediately notices that family members are still common possessed objects in both genders.  However, in the “possessed by her” results, body parts are not as common as they were in Aditi’s search.  They are still present, but mentioned only a few times.  Furthermore, these body parts differ from the initial “eyes,” “lips,” “cheeks”, and “face” that Aditi searched, as they include “bosom,” “neck” and “waist.”  As such, these new words were excluded in her heat map search, causing Hamlet to fall under the “not-love” category of plays.  However, as one who has already read the play extensively, I am aware that love is, in fact, a major theme within Hamlet.

As a reader, I can then find a broader range of data than Aditi found with her general approach.  For instance, there are only two females in Hamlet, Gertrude and Ophelia.  As such, these women are referred to as “her” very little, because they are present in the majority of the scenes.  An example of this is when Hamlet and Gertrude are alone in the closet scene of act 3.4.  In this scene, the possessive pronoun “your” is often used by Hamlet, but not to complement Gertrude’s beauty or proclaim his love.  As I talk about in my second blog post, this informal address by Hamlet is actually a method of insulting Gertrude, and therefore body parts are not used in association with Hamlet’s love and affection for his mother.

"Possessed by your" search of only act 3.4.

A “possessed by your” search of act 3.4 immediately shows a larger variety of words than the “possessed by her” search.  In this instance, we see the presence of words like “hand” and “heart,” but the context of these words does not insinuate love.  For example, after killing Polonius, Hamlet says to his mother, “Leave wringing of your hands.  Peace, sit you down/And let me wring your heart” (3.4.32-33).  In this instance, “hands” and “heart” are not indicative of love, but of Gertrude’s conscious.  Consequently, Hamlet’s motive is to change the subject away from Polonius’ death, and accuse her of contributing to King Hamlet’s death.  These body parts in context have little correlation with love and therefore do not fit with Aditi’s hypothesis.

This example is not to say the Aditi’s method of exploratory analysis is ineffective, for it does have a place in digital humanities.  I am simply suggesting using traditional methods of comprehension and annotation to guide digital searches, rather than progressing from computer generated results to text annotation and hypothesis.


Expanding on the Traditional (From Close reading to Digital Analysis)

Traditional analysis through close reading is a focused and unbiased way for an individual to begin working with a text.  As seen in the picture above, I will write questions and observations in the margins while I am reading.  I will also make note of rhetorical devices, unusual word choices or significant lines.  This annotation is my way of getting to know Hamlet, and gaining a comprehensive understanding of plot, characters and themes within the story.  Through close reading, I create questions and observations which I then use as a guide when working with the digital tools, thus expanding my research in an effective manner.

My team members and I used this approach in phase two while analyzing act five of Hamlet.  With our annotated copies of the text and our understanding of the play, we noticed a number of comedic aspects to Hamlet that conflicted with the tragic genre of the play.  Particularly in act five, the characters of Osric and the gravedigger are very comedic in nature.  Hamlet says of the gravedigger, “We must/speak by the card or equivocation will undo us” (5.1.129-130), because the gravedigger makes many puns during his banter with Hamlet.   Likewise, Osric uses an absurd pattern of speech by excessively addressing Hamlet as “lord” and “lordship” (5.2.76, 80, 83, 86).  As a reader, I recognize these men as clown-like figures.  Knowing that that the final act is often where tragedy culminates, I then find it their presence in act five very unusual.

To further investigate these comedic attributes, I divided the final act into four parts. On each part, I then used the “List Words” tool in TAPoR to determine word frequencies (See my Blog Post).  Using my background knowledge of Hamlet, I objectively analyzed the results.  I determined that the comedic relief is concentrated in the middle of the act, as there are a higher number of comedic words used in the dialogue of part two and three.  Through a knowledge gained by reading Hamlet, I identified comedic characters and created an effective research method to further my investigation and test my assumptions.

During phase two our group also came to the realization that the digital tools are sometimes inaccurate. For instance April, as our resident MONK expert, used the classification toolset of MONK to classify the genre of Hamlet in comparison to other Shakespearean plays (April’s blog post).  However, the results she received were inconsistent with our knowledge of the play. Paige further investigated (Paige’s blog post) using Wordhoard and determined that many of the words that MONK used to classify genres were not present in Hamlet at all.  Thus our group was able to rule out the inaccurate results that could taint our analysis of the act.


Combining Exploratory and Traditional Analysis

Though our work in phase two was largely text based, we did use Aditi’s method of exploratory analysis to compare Hamlet to other Shakespearean tragedies.  Dane used a very similar search to Aditi’s while investigating the tragic genre during our presentation (Slide 9 ).  In his search, Dane used the heat map function of WordSeer to visualize the words “villain,” “kill,” “hate” and “death” in the fifth act of Hamlet and three other tragedies, including Othello, Macbeth and Titus Andronicus.

Order of plays from left to right: Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and Titus Adronicus.

Though these words are very general, Dane chose them because he thought they were particularly representative of the tragic genre, as based on Aristotle’s definition.  Interestingly enough, the combination of these four words occur less often in the fifth act of Hamlet than they do across the other fifth acts of different plays.

Dane’s search was a great way to begin our analysis of the fifth act because it reinforced our hypothesis that the fifth act does not completely fit the definition of a tragedy.  Dane’s exploratory analysis tested what we already assumed about the act from reading.  From that point on, we could look at the specific reasons as to why Hamlet does not resemble other Shakespearean Tragedies, so our research remained focused.

Dane’s search is just one example of how an individual’s results would influence the rest of the group.  Often another team’s blog posts would inspire new questions, or ideas for further investigation.  This ability to collaborate is a strength of the digital humanities.  One does not have to travel far to discover what a colleague is working on and contribute to their research.



Before this class I had already read Hamlet twice, and I was not looking forward to studying it again.  However, analyzing Hamlet through a computer offered an entire new perspective on the traditional story.  By using digital tools I identified nuances of diction that I previously overlooked.  By breaking down the complex tale of revenge, love and deceit in Hamlet, I realized the importance of the words themselves.  The words chosen by Shakespeare and the frequency of select words took on an entire new level of importance.  They defined compliment and insult, as well as comedy and tragedy.  Without these tools I would have been unable to make such discoveries, but my skills as a reader were also invaluable.  Like any good scientist, my group members and I read Hamlet, and had a thorough understanding of elements in the text before we conducted searches with our digital tools.  Therefore it was easier to test our hypotheses because we had a focused approach, and the ability to identify significant factors in our results, while excluding the inaccurate.  Sometimes our findings contradicted, but often the results of a team member would spur new question and new searches.  Thus, with our knowledge of the text, we expanded into new avenues of understanding while reinforcing what we knew.


Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Robert S. Miola. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2011. Print.

Tragedy, Comedy, Comedy, Tragedy

For my final blog post in phase two, I have broken down Act 5 into four parts.  In keeping with my exploration of the tragic and comedic factors in this act (see my last blog post), I hypothesised that each of these parts is either more tragic or more comedic, and I wanted to figure out if the word frequencies supported my hypothesis.

Part 1 Word Frequencies

The first part I looked at included Hamlet and Horatio’s conversation with the gravediggers from the beginning of scene 1 up to the point where the King enters.  Though there are many puns and jokes exchanged between the characters, I believe that the overall thematic elements concerning this scene are indicative of a tragedy.  My results support this opinion.  Tapor cannot identify the comedic play on language that Shakespeare uses, but based on the word frequency one will assume that the overall tone of the dialogue is very morbid.  The central theme is death and even though the word itself is not said very often, there are many allusions to it (highlighted in black boxes) through the use of words such as “drown,” “skull” and “spade.”  The many occurrences of these words sum up to 46 references to death in this one section alone! I think it is safe to say the the word usage in this part is consistent with a tragedy.

Part 2 Word Frequencies

Part 2, spanning from the point that the nobles enter until the end of scene 1, is very different when compared to part 1.  Though the theme of death is still present, it is no longer as frequently alluded to because it is now accompanied by “love.”  My interpretation of this part is that particularly comedic like.  Even though it can be considered a tense moment in the play, it largely consists of Hamlet and Laertes arguing as to who loved Ophelia more, an situation that is also seen in comedies such as A Midsummer Nights Dream.  Due to the difference in word frequencies between part 1 and 2, TAPoR’s results also support this conclusion.  Both the presence of love as a topic, and the plethora of verbs such as “make” and “come,” indicate a lighter tone when compared to the proceeding events.

Part 3 Word Frequencies

Part 3 includes the beginning of scene 2 up to the point where the King enters.  This part is one that I also consider comedic due to Osric’s ridiculous speech patterns and the use of repetition by Hamlet to mock him.  As a result, the word frequencies for part three are not that interesting, but they do suggest the lighter tone that is similarly prevailant through part 2.  For instance, there are many positive adjectives like “good” and “great” used to describe the characters.  However, as if in reminder of events to come, there are also 3 mentions of both nature and faith, which link to the fate of Hamlet and his realitives.

Part 4 Word Frequencies

The fourth and final part contrasts to part 2 and 3, but resemble the first part in that it frequently uses lemmas of “death” and alludes to the phrase through the words such as “drink,” “poison,” “hit” and “shot.”  I also found it interesting that the words “speak” and “tell” are mentioned five times each, making me think as to the theme of regret.  Tragedies usually contain one character who, in the end, regrets his/her decisions and wishes to “speak” in order to explain themselves or apologize.  Though in the case of Hamlet, the usage of these two words is concentrated near the end of the scene where Hamlet wishes Horatio to stay alive and recount his tale, perhaps to avoid this mayhem in future circumstances.

Overall this exploration had been interesting.  It seems that Act 5 begins and ends with diction that suggests tragic elements, while comedic word usage prevails throughout the middle to break the tension.

Hamlet: A Misunderstood Tragedy?

In the past few days, our group has talked a lot about the lack of traditional tragic elements in Hamlet.  Though there is a lot of death in this final scene, there are also elements of comedy in conversations with the gravediggers and Oseric, as well as an unexpected resolution between Laertes and Hamlet.  Additionally, Hamlet lacks the fundamental fatal mistake that many tragic heroes have.  (See here for further information about elements of tragedies.)  However, all of these are qualitative assumptions.  The major question is, how can the tools at our disposal help us to better understand the classification of Hamlet? Monk was the obvious choice to aid in this question, but as April suggests, Monk is equally confused about the “tragediness” of Hamlet, and none of us are 100% certain why this is.

I’m not sure exactly how to clarify the question, but I attempted to take a stab at it using my tool.  I started by choosing words from my previous List Word result that I thought were particularly indicative of a tragedy.  In this process, I came up with a list of 12 words: know, dead, grave, death, die, life, purpose, nature, cause, soul, blame and fault.  I then ran these words through the Concordance Tool to see what limited context TAPoR could supply.

Result of chosen words in the Concordance Tool for Hamlet.

I also ran these words with the fifth Act from Macbeth.  Everybody in the group agreed that this play displayed the most definite signs of a tragedy, so I used it as a control with which to compare my results with.

Result of chosen words in Concordance Tool for Macbeth.

The goal was to identify how these words are used differently or similarly in Hamlet and Macbeth (I apologize that the screenshots cannot show the entirety of my results),  though I am not sure that they are good representations.  I immediately concluded that that this job is perhaps best suited for Wordseer or Wordhoard, because then the context and speaker are identified with more ease.  However, there were a few surprising results.  For instance, I did not expect the words “cause” and “blame” to be common in both of these final acts.  Moreover, they seem to both be used in reference to the King (though it has been a long time since I read Macbeth so I can’t exactly be sure).  It made me think of the similarities between Macbeth and Claudius.  Even though Claudius is not the protagonist of the play, he resembles a tragic hero like Macbeth more than Hamlet does.  Both are spurred by ambition and die because of it.  So the question is, do elements of a tragedy need to belong solely to the protagonist?

Overall, my results at this point are not very conclusive.  I think in the coming days I will dabble a bit in the other tools while consulting with my peers,  Hopefully this will yield further evidence regarding the lack or abundance of tragedy in Hamlet.  I am particularly interested to discover how Hamlet’s word usage indicates him as the tragic hero and not just a victim of circumstance.  I’m not sure how to best approach this problem yet, but hopefully my peers will have some ideas.

A Start on Act 5

Out of all the acts in Hamlet, Act 5 is my favorite.  There is a great philosophical/humorous conversation with some gravediggers to start off the act.  Then, after Hamlet has his famous nostalgic conversation with a skull, there is a dramatic fight between Hamlet and Laertes in the grave of Hamlet’s supposed lover.  But the excitement doesn’t stop there! After an epic sword fight and a bit of poison, the entirety of the royal family ends up dead!!  I think my new button sums up the whole Act nicely.

"Fortinbras should arrive at any moment to turn this mayhem around."

Yet, as it always is with research, the most difficult part in analyzing this Act is figuring out where to start.  The group and I decided to begin by analyzing the Act individually with our respective tools.  The hope is that we will each discover some areas of interest worth collaborating on.

As the TAPoR expert in this group, I know one of the advantages I have is the ability to isolate certain speakers and areas of the play.  Keeping this advantage in mind, I began my analysis by using the List Words tool, as it always offers a good starting point.

List Words results for Act 5

The results of Act 5 did not offer much that I didn’t already know.  Obviously death is a major theme throughout this Act and the King, Hamlet, Laertes and Horatio all major characters associated with it.  The frequency of the word “know” was a bit surprising for me, but further examination with the Concordance tool informed me that it is used within the conversation of Osric, Hamlet and Horatio.  In this case, Hamlet and Horatio are repeating Oseric’s questions as a means to make fun of him.  However, I did notice that this List Words results were a lot different from my results in Act 3.4, where the focus is specifically on Hamlet, Gertrude, and her past relationships. This thought led me to inquire after Hamlet’s change in character throughout the play.  Wanting to explore this inquiry further, I decided to isolate just Hamlet’s lines and again use the List Words tool.  I also did the same with Hamlet’s lines in Act 1 to give myself a comparison point.

Results on Hamlet's lines in Act 5 (right) and his lines in Act 1 (left).

In these results, I was surprised particularly by the comparative frequencies of the word “father.”  In Act 1 it is mentioned 9 times by Hamlet, but in Act 5 in is only mentioned by him once.  I thought this result was interesting because Hamlet’s main motive throughout this act is to avenge his father, but he hardly mentions him in the moments leading up to, and immediately following Claudius’ death.  It seems as though Hamlet Sr. is no longer the main focus of Hamlet’s attentions towards the end of this play.  I do not think his desire for revenge has abated, but when I thought about Hamlet’s motives deeper, I realized that Hamlet kills his Uncle only after the death of Ophelia and his mother.  Perhaps it is this grief combined with Laertes’ confession that finally gives Hamlet the motive to kill Claudius.  This conclusion would then certainly indicate a change in Hamlet’s motive from the beginning to the end of the play.

As I work further with my group, I’m looking forward to seeing how we can expand on each other’s findings.  I believe the most difficult task will be narrowing all our findings into one conclusion, as there is a lot of information at our disposal and a large variety of tools.  It shall be an interesting process.


Using the List Words Tool to Begin Anlyzing Act 3.4

TAPoR has a wide variety of tools that perform various functions, though not all of them are helpful in analyzing Act 3.4.  As a result, our group decided to each pick one tool in TAPoR that we found particularly interesting or useful, and use it to examine Act 3.4.  The tool that I choose is List Words.  It does exactly as the name implies, it takes all the words in a document and lists them according to frequency.  I thought that this would be a useful way to examine the speeches of Gertrude and Hamlet separately before comparing them.

In Jennifer\’s blog post last week, she made note that WordHoard is a hypothesis-testing machine due to the specific way in which it functions.  For opposite reasons, the List Words tool in TAPoR is a hypothesis-generating tool. It is a good place to begin on an examination of the act because it takes into account the entirety of the document and displays results in a linear, easy to read format.  However, you are not able to identify the context of the words.  To do that you would have to then input specific words in to the “Collocates tool.”

One of the strengths of the list words tool is that it easily eliminates words like “it,” “as,” “a,” which are referred to as “Glasgow” stop words, making the results a lot more manageable to look at.

Tool Broker Window for List Words

A weakness is that it does not eliminate speaker indications and stage directions.  To ensure that those words did not turn up in my results I had to manually create a special document that included only the lines of speech.  I did this my simply copy and pasting results of the XML extractor in a word document, manually deleting the parts I didn’t want, and then saving the document in a plain text format. This process worked successfully and gave me the following results when used with the tool:\

Gertrude's lines on the left, Hamlet's lines on the right.

From these results I started to make conclusions in regards to the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude.  The first thing I noticed was that Gertrude references Hamlet by using “thou,” “thy” and “Hamlet” a total of 17 times, as opposed to “you” which is used only 8 times.  (I got the results for “you” by changing the search parameters on the “Words limited to” space to “All words” because “you” is one of the Glasgow stop words omitted by my first search).  On the other hand, Hamlet addresses his mother using “you” a total of 37 times and “mother” 7 times.  These results suggest that Gertrude is a lot more formal towards her son, while Hamlet is a lot more familiar.  As such, Hamlets continuous addresses of “good mother” and “you” are used as a sign of disrespect, displaying his shame at her recent marriage to Claudius.

Another thing I noticed was the use of verbs by the two characters.  For instance, the verbs that Gertrude uses multiple times include “speak” and “come,” while Hamlet uses verbs like “make” and “look” the most.  I believe that this quantitative examination of word usage is indicative of the characters motives in the scene.  While Gertrude’s motive is to convince Hamlet to disclose the reason for his strange behavior, Hamlet’s intention is to make Gertrude feel guilty by forcing her to reflect on her actions over the past few months.

Overall, List Words is a fairly useful tool.  It has shown me the difference of tone and motive in the two characters, but to gain further understanding of the scene I would have to use List Words in conjunction with the other tools that TAPoR offers.

Gertrude’s Lines from Act 3.4

I’ll warrant you, fear me not. Withdraw, I hear him coming. Polonius hides behind the arras Enter HAMLET.

Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.

Why, how now, Hamlet!

Have you forgot me?

Nay, then, I’ll set those to you that can speak.

What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me? Help, ho!

O me, what hast thou done?

O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

As kill a king!

What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongue In noise so rude against me?

Ay me, what act, That roars so loud, and thunders in the index?

O Hamlet, speak no more: Thou turn’st my eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct.

O, speak to me no more; These words, like daggers, enter in my ears; No more, sweet Hamlet!
No more!

Alas, he’s mad!

Alas, how is’t with you, That you do bend your eye on vacancy And with the incorporal air do hold discourse? Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep; And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm, Your bedded hair, like life in excrements, Start up, and stand an end. O gentle son, Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?

To whom do you speak this?

Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.

No, nothing but ourselves.

This is the very coinage of your brain: This bodiless creation ecstasy Is very cunning in.

O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

What shall I do?

Be thou assured, if words be made of breath, And breath of life, I have no life to breathe What thou hast said to me.

Alack, I had forgot: ’tis so concluded on.

Hamlet’s Lines from Act 3.4



Now, mother, what’s the matter?

Mother, you have my father much offended.

Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.

What’s the matter now?

No, by the rood, not so: You are the queen, your husband’s brother’s wife; And — would it were not so! — you are my mother.

Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge; You go not till I set you up a glass Where you may see the inmost part of you.

Drawing How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead! Makes a pass through the arras.

Nay, I know not: Is it the king?
A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

Ay, lady, it was my word. Lifts up the arras and discovers Polonius. Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell! I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune; Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger. Leave wringing of your hands: peace! sit you down, And let me wring your heart; for so I shall, If it be made of penetrable stuff, If damned custom have not brassed it so That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

Such an act That blurs the grace and blush of modesty, Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows As false as dicers’ oaths: O, such a deed As from the body of contraction plucks The very soul, and sweet religion makes A rhapsody of words: heaven’s face does glow o’er this solidity and compound mass, With heated visage, as against the doom, Is thought-sick at the act.

Look here, upon this picture, and on this, The counterfeit presentment of two brothers. See, what a grace was seated on this brow; Hyperion’s curls; the front of Jove himself; An eye like Mars, to threaten and command; A station like the herald Mercury New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill; A combination and a form indeed, Where every god did seem to set his seal, To give the world assurance of a man: This was your husband. Look you now, what follows: Here is your husband; like a mildewed ear, Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes? Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed, And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes? You cannot call it love; for at your age The hey-day in the blood is tame, it’s humble, And waits upon the judgement: and what judgement Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have, Else could you not have motion; but sure, that sense Is apoplexed; for madness would not err, Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er so thralled But it reserved some quantity of choice, To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind? Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight, Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all, Or but a sickly part of one true sense Could not so mope. O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell, If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones, To flaming youth let virtue be as wax, And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame When the compulsive ardour gives the charge, Since frost itself as actively doth burn And reason panders will.

Nay, but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love Over the nasty sty,

A murderer and a villain; A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe Of your precedent lord; a vice of kings; A cutpurse of the empire and the rule, That from a shelf the precious diadem stole, And put it in his pocket!

A king of shreds and patches, Enter Ghost. Save me, and hover o’er me with your wings, You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?

Do you not come your tardy son to chide, That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by The important acting of your dread command? O, say!

How is it with you, lady?

On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares! His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones, Would make them capable. Do not look upon me; Lest with this piteous action you convert My stern effects: then what I have to do Will want true colour; tears perchance for blood.

Do you see nothing there?

Nor did you nothing hear?

Why, look you there look, how it steals away! My father, in his habit as he lived! Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal! Exit Ghost.

Ecstasy! My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time, And makes as healthful music: it is not madness That I have uttered: bring me to the test, And I the matter will re-word; which madness Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace, Lay not that flattering unction to your soul, That not your trespass, but my madness speaks: It will but skin and film the ulcerous place, Whiles rank corruption, mining all within, Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven; Repent what’s past; avoid what is to come; And do not spread the compost on the weeds, To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue; For in the fatness of these pursy times Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg, Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.

O, throw away the worser part of it, And live the purer with the other half. Good night: but go not to my uncle’s bed; Assume a virtue, if you have it not. That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat, Of habits devil, is angel yet in this, That to the use of actions fair and good He likewise gives a frock or livery, That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night, And that shall lend a kind of easiness To the next abstinence: the next more easy; For use almost can change the stamp of nature, And either …the devil, or throw him out With wondrous potency. Once more, good night: And when you are desirous to be blessed, I’ll blessing beg of you. For this same lord, Pointing to Polonius. I do repent: but heaven hath pleased it so, To punish me with this and this with me, That I must be their scourge and minister. I will bestow him, and will answer well The death I gave him. So, again, good night. I must be cruel, only to be kind: This bad begins and worse remains behind. One word more, good lady.

Not this, by no means, that I bid you do: Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed; Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse; And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses, Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers, Make you to ravel all this matter out, That I essentially am not in madness, But mad in craft. ‘Twere good you let him know; For who, that’s but a queen, fair, sober, wise, Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib, Such dear concernings hide? who would do so? No, in despite of sense and secrecy, Unpeg the basket on the house’s top, Let the birds fly, and, like the famous ape, To try conclusions, in the basket creep, And break your own neck down.

I must to England; you know that?

There’s letters sealed: and my two schoolfellows, Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged, They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way, And marshal me to knavery. Let it work; For ’tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his own petar: and’t shall go hard But I will delve one yard below their mines, And blow them at the moon: O, ’tis most sweet, When in one line two crafts directly meet. This man shall set me packing: I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room. Mother, good night. Indeed this counsellor Is now most still, most secret and most grave, Who was in life a foolish prating knave. Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you. Good night, mother. Exeunt severally; Hamlet dragging in Polonius.

The Frustrations in the Process of Discovering TAPoR

Admittedly, I was not thrilled to be using TAPoR for the first phase of this project.  From our work in the workshops, I was mainly interested in the potential to turn text into visual graphs and tables.  Sadly, TAPoR’s strengths do not lie in this area.  For example, TApoR’s List Words tool allows you to find the number of times a word appears in a text.  However, the results do not come in a pretty diagram or table, just a boring table:

List Words Results

In a way, TAPoR reminds me the first version of Widows Vista, it has lots of buttons and useful features, but it is not very user friendly, particularly to a person like myself, who didn’t even know the difference between XML and HTML until a couple of weeks ago.  Safe to say, finding a place to start was a bit of a daunting task, but the group and I decided to start within the physical text to find a question to focus on.  In my case, I decided to explore the relationship shared between Hamlet and Gertrude.  I believe that Hamlet’s feelings for his mother differ from Gertrude’s feelings for her son, and I want to explore the ways in which TAPoR can help me further examine and prove this theory.  However, before I begun to tackle this obstacle I wanted to isolate Gertrude’s lines from Hamlet’s to examine each individually, a task that has become my central problem over the last few days.

The problem with TAPoR is that it has many available tools, but to a person just becoming familiar with analysing texts in the digital humanities, reading the titles and descriptions of the tools is a bit like reading a foreign language.  For instance while going through the tools I came across the Tokenizer Tool:

After reading the description I was still slightly unsure as to what the tool did, but it sounded like it might help with my task and I decided to try it.  When I did, I was confronted with a screen that asked me to fill in attributes such as the “Tags,” “Token type,” and “Token type option,” the only problem was that I had (and still have) no idea what any of those mean.

After reading the help icons, I put in some information (above) that I assumed correct and was presented with 0 results.  It was slightly disheartening, but I continued spending the next 15 minutes trying different variations of words and googling unfamiliar computer terms.  Unfortunately, I still achieved nothing and was left feeling very frustrated.

It was only after going through my notes that I remembered Professor Ullyot mentioning the “Extract Text (XML)” tool.  After putting in the information as follows:

I finally got a result that isolates only Gertrude’s lines in Act 3.4.

It was at this point that I came across another problem: how to save results.  The Rockwell video mentions saving results to the data bench via the research log, but I have been unable to find the research log function he referenced.  Instead, I have been copying and pasting results into a Word document to keep track of my results.

My experience continues with various setbacks and frustrations, but I am hoping to continue exploring Gertrude’s and Hamlet’s relationship by looking at the distribution of words in their individual lines as well as the shared words and collocates between the two of them.  Hopefully I will come up with some rewarding results.