One last thing…

Honestly, before I began English 203 this semester I had never heard  the term Digital Humanities before (crazy, I know!).  After taking a four month long course on the Digital Humanities, I can say that this form of learning will most likely be the future for most English majors. Using the internet to write blogs, show visuals, and share information within seconds is an incredible way to spread new information worldwide. Within the course of a year I have skyped with a journalist in New York, corresponded with a program developer at Berkley University, and reviewed an article by a writer at a University in Ireland; all in an English classroom in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This type of connection is what has changed the humanities to a digital atmosphere, collaborating with individuals worldwide. My argument for this post stems from the question: How do the digital humanities strengthen our knowledge of previously read texts?

Have we forgotten about Shakespeare? 

For our course on the digital humanities we definitely did something unique. Reading a play written by William Shakespeare in 1600, and using a computer program tool designed for the 21st century to analyze it. Every English major, scholar, or high school student, knows the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.  When we were asked to once again analyze Hamlet, I was sceptical at the possible outcomes. Honestly, how many times can you go over a play and still find new information? Let’s just say, I was wrong. Over the course of thirteen weeks, I learned more about Hamlet then I ever knew before. It was not just the story and theme of the play, but the writing, word choice, and context of words used. Every aspect of analyses of this play was done online, by use of the digital humanities. Now I am not saying that I never had to use the hard copy of the play, because I did.  As I mentioned in my fifth blog post I do not think it would be possible to analyze a play—especially Shakespeare—without having read the actual text. Yes, you could extract the main themes, and guess a basic plot line based on the word and character usage, but reading the play is the only way to have all of the background information needed to understand it.

We began the course by simply reading Hamlet individually and discussed our findings in class. Once again I was shocked how much new information I was learning from my classmates. Group discussions took place and we came up with an incredible amount of new insights into Hamlet. Using evidence from the play these are just some of the ideas we came up with:

  • At first glance Gertrude comes off as a minor character with little personality. However she is surrounded by a number of questions which make her a major influence on the plot of the play. Why can’t she see the Ghost? Did she marry Claudius for love or power? What is her relationship with Hamlet, besides being his mother?
  • Characters use different words, comparisons, and sentences in their own unique way. For example Laertes often associates with the body and soul. When speaking to Ophelia he states: “…safety and health of this whole state…Unto the voice and yielding of that body/Whereof he is the head,” (1.3.20-23)
  • Hamlet often speaks of life, death, heaven, and hell, especially during soliloquies. Could these speeches foreshadow the events of the play?

“O all you host of heaven, O earth—what else?—And shall I couple hell? O fie! Hold, hold, my heart, and you, my sinews, grow not instant old/But bear me swiftly up. Remember thee?” (1.5.92-95).

Okay, so now we know the play and have analyzed it using nothing but our brains and a good old-fashioned book. That being said, how can our knowledge be strengthened by the digital humanities?

My stellar highlighting skills

WordSeer and the Digital Humanities

For the second part of the course we were split into groups and were assigned digital humanities tools designed to analyze texts. My tool was WordSeer, a Berkeley created program with multiple features used for analyzing Shakespeare. For me—or anyone not familiar with text analysis programs—beginning a presentation based on a computer program is kind of intimidating. I did not know where to begin, so I started playing around with the site and its capabilities with Hamlet. Not to sound too humble or anything, but soon enough I became a pro at using WordSeer. The interface is simple to use and understand, Shakespeare’s entire corpus is readily available, and the collections function allows you to save your work frequently and efficiently.  All of these features and detailed descriptions can be found in my first blog post: Could WordSeer be the simplest word analyzing program?

Now to discuss what I actually discovered using WordSeer.

All of us who have read Hamlet know most of the main themes: betrayal, revenge, and madness. But how can we prove these are themes? How many times are the words revenge or madness even mentioned in Hamlet? This is obviously not something that can easily be done using a highlighter. Why not use a digital tool that includes word counts, frequencies, and visuals to represent information in a different way? WordSeer has all of these functions including the ability to isolate and analyze a single scene or act. Very convenient!

So, once again, how can you tell if something is a common theme in a text using a digital tool? You find the word frequency of course! I think every group at some point searched for the word revenge in Hamlet using their digital tools. Finding the main themes of a play is essential when analyzing a text, and being able to isolate those words is pretty important. Digital tools are created to find these words within seconds.

Digital Humanities Now

In Mike Cosgrave’s blog post, A Broader Digital Humanities, he asks three questions based on the perspective of the student: How do digital tools enhance research led pedagogy? How do digital tools facilitate research led ‘peeragogy’? and What new questions can I ask using digital tools? As an English student I feel as if I can answer these questions honesty and accurately.

  1. How do digital tools enhance research led pedagogy?

This was a question I was trying to answer over the course of the semester. I also think this blog —and most of my other posts—does a good job of explaining it. We began the course by finding new and interesting facts about Hamlet through the digital tools we were assigned. This led to new discoveries and easier findings then just reading through the text. For example we were able to find out that the word know appears in Act Two of Hamlet 35 times. How long would it have taken if we were just using the text itself? Being able to search for words within a text and find them with the click of a button is pretty incredible compared to the hours it would take to find them on your own. These tools allow students to look at literature differently: in terms of quantitative versus qualitative and objective versus subjective views.  In conclusion, digital tools enhance learning by cutting down the amount of time it could take to actually do research and spend more time on the actual assignment/question.

2. How do digital tools facilitate research led ‘peeragogy’?

First of all I looked up the word “peeragogy” with no results (maybe someone should add it to Wikipedia? Make some money off the invention of a new word?). What I am assuming Mike Cosgrave meant by this term is student-led research and student-led research questions (feel free to correct me if I am wrong!). For me this question is easy to answer. We worked on two group projects this semester, both—for the most part—led by the students. We came up with our own questions for each presentation and—based on our tools—what we wanted to focus on. For these reasons using a digital tool helped our group collaboration because we were able to share our information online and each find different results.  To conclude, digital tools can facilitate student based research by simplifying the research process and broadening the scope of the information found and shared.

3.What new questions can I ask using digital tools?

One of the first things I discovered when using WordSeer was that no question was too broad and no answer too narrow. The possibilities of just using WordSeer are endless, let alone the four other text analyzing tools we researched. One of the main differences I found using these prgrams was the shift from qualitative thinking to quantitative thinking. I am going to re-use a picture I used on my previous post because it does a great job of explaining what I am talking about (and it looks pretty!):

From Mercedes Benz commercial

To sum everything up, the digital tools used in the digital humanities establish new questions based on a different way of thinking: more left-brain than right-brain theory, data versus opinion, and numeric versus artistic.

So, to answer your question Mike, yes I think the sciences use digital tools for data and research; the humanities are using this technology in a different way. To come up with new ideas, find information quicker, and present our findings in a different way than the past thousand or so years. This is what the digital humanities are based on and this is what humanities and social science classes have to look forward to.


So is this the future of the digital humanities? One which includes both social sciences and science courses?  Could the future of paperback books be in danger? Since basically everything can now be done using technology, why would anyone need a copy of a text to physically hold and read, as opposed to getting several versions of the same text online? As I finish my final blog post of this course I have come to two conclusions regarding the digital humanities and English courses. Firstly, if everything is moving away from books and towards technology, are the digital humanities the only way English courses can stay relevant and available? Secondly, with all the research and analysis of material needed in humanities classes, are the digital humanities just a faster way of gaining the same information? The content is already available, but the time we have to find it is not. I have no explanations to either of these questions, but I am sure within the next few years we will all get our answer.

The future Will?


Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor: London, 2006. Print. The Arden Shakespeare.

Thanks to: Mike Cosgrave and Aditi Muralidharan




The End of a Beginning

I am writing on something that before this class I never knew about let alone expected to ever find myself writing about.  I have taken a class this past semester that teaches about the digital humanities as a method for literary analysis, but my reasoning for taking that class should be made clear, it is a requirement for an English degree that I must have before I am allowed to go into the field of education.  Because of my degree requirements, I have found myself taking a literary analysis class that was much more than I ever expected it to be.  I am writing about my first experience with something that is new to me and also happens to be useful and enjoyable, that is, the digital humanities.  In this post, I will be analyzing the feasibility of an idea that involves mixing together both the digital approach to the humanities and the traditional approach to the humanities for the sake of education.

Mixed Motives and Mixed Results

I have many motives for writing this extensive blog post, the fact that it is a requirement for English 203 is not the least of those motives but this is the only mention which that particular motive will receive.  First among my motives listed here is the fact that I intend to go into the field of education upon completion of my university education, so I must ask myself, how would the digital humanities affect or be affected by education.  My second motive listed is the fact that I was influenced at one time by an English professor to believe that, remaining realistic, there is no definite right or wrong way to analyze a text and therefore there is no definite right or wrong analysis of a text; so believing this has also allowed me to have an open mind concerning the humanities.  Therefore, I felt that the subject must be mentioned.  My third and final motive listed here, is the fact that I just wanted to compare the traditional aspects of the humanities to the more modern aspects of the digital humanities.  All of these motives together are why I picked the blog post from the Digital Humanities Now website that I did.  That particular blog post is one written about interdisciplinarity and curricular incursion that can be seen if you go to the following link,

My thoughts were that I wouldn’t find a better blog post to compare both aspects of the humanities as well as the effects that they have had on education and vice versa.


I intend to go into the field of education, because of this I feel that it would be good to know some of the proper approaches to the Digital Humanities in case I ever end up teaching something about them or having to introduce a course on the digital humanities to a school board or committee.  The idea of interdisciplinary actions in the curricular aspect of the humanities is essentially, new revolutions in the humanities and how they affect or are affected by pedagogy and that is what I am interested in.  The digital humanities are a new and different method of teaching English that may be viewed more receptively by students than the traditional approach to the humanities because it can be easier for some people to acquire an analysis of a text through some of the tools available.  The Digital Humanities may also be more appealing to a number of students because of the more relaxed writing style that is available through them.

Right and Wrong

I have the personal belief that there is no definite right or wrong approach to textual analysis which extends to the idea that there is no definite right or wrong approach to the humanities.  That particular belief is supported by the idea that each and every person analyzes a text differently.  Therefore, there are as many perspectives of texts as there are people.  Each person gains a different perspective of a text just by reading it and the tools available through the digital humanities have the capability to verify, expand and build upon those various perspectives.  Finally, I feel that the line between right and wrong analyses of a text is really blurry, therefore, who am I to judge whether or not a new method of analysis is definitively right or wrong.


I would like to compare what I have learned of the digital humanities to the information that is available to the world at large and to what I have learned about the traditional approach to the humanities.  Before starting the literary analysis course with Dr. Ullyot, I knew very little about the digital humanities, in fact, I went into the class thinking that it would be based on the classical literary analysis class where the students read the text, come up with a quantitative analysis of the text, write a paper on that analysis, and then when they are done with that, they proceed to rinse and repeat.  It is a good thing that my assumption was way off base, because a class that I expected to be dull was actually highly interesting as well as informative.  In the past, I have only ever approached the humanities in the classical manner and I have always been comfortable with the traditional method of textual analysis where a person reads the text and attempts to draw conclusions from it and prove those conclusions by writing an essay.  I was only a fan of this, however, because I am a relatively strong reader and it has always been easy for me to read a text and draw a decent quantitative analysis from it.  For me, the only problem with the traditional approach to the humanities lay in the aspect of having to write an essay, something that I am not very good at doing.  The Digital Humanities are really quite new to me; in fact, at the beginning of this past semester was the first time that I had ever heard of them, let alone studied them.  At first I was really skeptical of the idea of using technology to analyze texts as well as the idea of posting my findings on Twitter or a blog.  The reason for this was because of the fact that the only examples of either one that I had ever come across were pointless wastes of time with the people who wrote on them badly abusing the use of the English language.  After I realized that both Twitter and blogging could be extremely useful, I came to accept the idea of textual analysis using computers, to be honest, for me it was a journey of small steps.  I am still not entirely comfortable with the methods of textual analysis available through the digital humanities, but I will say that they are an amazing way to verify or prove my own quantitative analyses and make them qualitative.  I am also much more comfortable with the more relaxed writing style that is afforded to me through writing on blogs rather than a formal essay.  I feel that if the best of both aspects of the humanities could be mixed together, then there would be a truly excellent dynamo in place for the study of literature.

How it Was Done

Throughout the course of the semester, the people in English 203 learned about different tools available through the digital humanities and what those tools are capable of using a base text of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  First we learned how to operate one of five different tools, and second, we got together in groups with four other people who all used different tools and worked together to analyze a portion of Hamlet.  This exercise taught me much about one tool, a little bit about the other four, and a great deal about how the digital humanities work.  The idea or concept of having four other people working in concert with me on the same project being able to converse with them via email or blog really made things easy.  I learned through the use of the blog posts that we are required to do, that the digital humanities are entirely collaborative.  Any one person with access to the blog was able to comment on or contribute to anything that I chose to write about.  Because of this, anything written on a blog in the digital humanities is constantly exposed to public scrutiny, as well as any new developments in technology, which are constantly occurring.  The concept of putting your findings in a blog post is a new and highly effective way to keep your writing and information perpetually up to date.

Phase I

            I was given the Voyeur or Voyant tool developed by Stefan Sinclair and Geoffrey Rockwell to learn how to operate in order to analyze the text of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the first phase of our class programme.

By learning how to use it, I discovered that the Voyeur/Voyant tool is very easy to use, especially for someone like me who is not very technologically adept.  I also learned that Voyeur/Voyant has a very open user interface which makes it very easy to start out using, just input your text and go to town basically.

Between the Phases

I used the tool that I learned about earlier in order to study Hamlet and verify qualitatively my own quantitative analysis of the text.  As I mentioned before, I have very little trouble with reading a text and coming up with a quantitative analysis of it.  Therefore, I thought that it would be easier to use my tool in order to verify my own analyses and make them qualitative rather than use it to come up with entirely new analyses.  Because of this I used the Voyeur/Voyant tool as a hypothesis testing machine and achieved what I believe to be excellent results.  I am not saying that it is not a hypothesis or conclusion generating machine, because I believe that it can be used as such; what I am saying is it was more practical for me to use Voyeur/Voyant in the former capacity.

Phase II

Once I had a firm grasp of how to use Voyeur/Voyant, I was pooled into a group with four other people who had used different tools than my own in order to see how well our tools would interact; this was the second phase of the class programme.  Most of the members of my group agreed that their tools were extremely viable in the capacity of testing hypotheses.  In fact, we made a quantitative analysis of Act II of Hamlet regarding surveillance, and between the five of us and our tools we successfully proved our analysis.  Throughout the course of the second section of the class, I came to the conclusion that no matter how good my tool was on its own, it could always be boosted up or helped out by another tool’s unique functions.  In my case, the tool that helped my own out the most was the Wordhoard tool developed by Northwestern University, .  I found that Voyeur/Voyant wouldn’t actually count how many words a person said, only how often they spoke, where Wordhoard would do exactly what I needed in that respect.

The Rewards

            After taking Dr. Ullyot’s English 203 class as well as reading Ryan Cordell’s blog on interdisciplinarity I have come to the conclusion that there is a place in the humanities for technology, I am not saying that it will completely overtake the traditional approaches to the humanities, but that there is a place for it.  I feel that the opinion stated in Ryan Cordell’s blog that “for digital humanists to make a real incursion into the field of literary studies, we have to start presenting in non-DH panels” (  Even though not all people agree on the concept of the digital humanities, and not all of them communicate in the same way, in the words of Ryan Cordell, “we have to start actively seeking out colleagues who don’t know what we do—perhaps even those who don’t like what we do. We have to talk with colleagues who don’t tweet” (

My Experiences and Responses

I have been introduced to the digital humanities and learned about them through trial and error in Dr. Ullyot’s class.  Now that I have done that, I am far more comfortable with the digital humanities now than I was upon first hearing about them and I am far more receptive to the idea of using technology for the purpose of textual analysis.


Throughout the course of the semester, I have learned how to operate the Voyeur/Voyant program in concert with four other members of the English 203 class.  I have studied Act II with four other people who have all learned how to use different tools available through the digital humanities.  We discovered that the different tools in the digital humanities work better together than they do on their own.  When my Phase II group and I agreed that our tools worked better for them to verify their own findings rather than discover new things, I came to the conclusion that like the different tools in the humanities, maybe the two aspects of the humanities would also be able to work together in order to be much more useful and adaptable.

My Own Conclusions

My conclusions on the whole are that I accept the digital humanities as a new and improved method of testing hypotheses even though I am more comfortable with the traditional version of the humanities.  From my experience in both the traditional humanities and the digital humanities, I have come to the conclusion that both aspects of the humanities would greatly benefit from interaction with each other.

Meanings and Searches

So, I thought that I would be brilliant with this blog post and try to do something cool like look up the meaning of the word voyeur on the Oxford English Dictionary website.  In hindsight, it really wasn’t that smart, apparently voyeur doesn’t have a very flattering definition.

I knew about the existence of this less than flattering definition of voyeur before, but I really hoped that there would be a definition that was related more to viewing and less to sexual tendencies.  Seeing as there really isn’t one though, perhaps that is why the makers changed the name to Voyant, which when looked up on the Oxford English Dictionary website you get the following.

This is a name for this program that actually could have meaning, rather than making the user feel like a Peeping Tom.

Using the Voyeur/Voyant program, I have found that you really can see a lot of things about a piece of written material when utilising it, however, I find that the voyeur program is more capable of taking a qualitative analysis of a text and making it quantitative than it is capable of developing new ideas about the text.  Take for example the idea that love and madness could be related, that is a qualitative analysis of Act Two and actually one of the themes to that particular act of Hamlet.  Punching the words, Love and Mad into the word frequency tool on Voyeur, a researcher would see something like the picture below.

However, I have also discovered throughout Phase II that all of these programs do not work nearly as well on their own as they do in the company of others, particularly the WordHoard Program.  I can find out who says what, where they say it, what they say around it, and when they say it; but I cannot find out how much they say, for that I need to rely on a program like WordHoard and my counterpart in the Act Two group, Jennifer, to tell me things such as, if Polonius talks more about madness to Ophelia, the King, or Hamlet.

TAPoR or Me?

I awoke this morning to find the TAPoR server not responding on any of my browsers:

I wanted to go into the final blog post for phase two by comparing the findings of surveillance as a major theme in act 2 with the rest of the play. In my first blog I mentioned the correlation between the word ‘know’ and the surveillance going on in act 2. Some early research (before the TAPoR server gave me error messages) found the word ‘know’ occurring throughout “Hamlet” 74 times. If I remember correctly, it occurred relatively close to the top the List Words tool, organized by frequency. While this lends proof that ‘knowledge’ and ‘knowing’ are important aspects within all of “Hamlet”, just as they are in act 2, I don’t think I would have noticed the word had I not been actively looking for it. With this in mind, I couldn’t help but question: how much did TAPoR do to aid in proving/supporting the theme of surveillance? Are the results from certain tools actually quantitatively answering questions, or am I just bending the results?
My fellow colleague Madelyn pointed out in her blog a common thought we (the act 2 group) have had regarding digital tools: “[it’s] important to know the themes within the play before trying to search for specific words”. I don’t think results from any digital tool are always consciously bended to support claims, but being vaguely aware of what you’re trying to support (whether it be themes, character traits, or something else) certainly must effect how you look at the results.
Before using TAPoR to analyze act 2, there were already so many different readings of it planted in my brain. Whether it be the first time I read “Hamlet” in high school, the different footnotes within the two editions I’ve read, the lectures Dr Ullyot gave in English 205, the modern adaptations Sparknotes provides (or it’s analysis and summaries), or even from other sources online, I already had so many ideas and views surrounding act 2 of “Hamlet”. With all this analysis that I had already done, the act of pressing a button in TAPoR and matching the word “know” to an overarching theme of surveillance just seemed rather trivial. Sure, I enjoyed getting past the frustrating parts of TAPoR and actually finding results, but after using it to analyze first act 3 scene 4, and now all of act 2, I still find my analysis feeling less academic, and more hollow.
I still think there is a place for digital analysis of literature, however, and feel that my discouragement may have come from trying to analyze a text I was already deeply familiar with, and not from TAPoR itself. While there are certainly drawbacks to using TAPoR, and any digital tool for that matter, I can definitely see a use for them to aid in beginning to analyze a text that is still rather unfamiliar.

Simple is Best- Well… at least for Monk it is…

Looking back on phase two I find it neat to look at the text and analyze it through different tools and methods of analyzing. The use of combination of tools I thought was very helpful in that it was able to look at things from a different perspective similarly to how a different person looks at a text.  I decided for my final blog post to go simple, and look at the words and themes found in act 2.

I decided to go back to the old fashion way of analyzing and read! I re-read the text to try and find some other themes and a common one I found throughout the text would be public and private actions. The act is about how individuals try to come in on these private moments and actions to reveal to be public. This also seems to be centered around one character: Polonius.

Polonius seems to be that annoyingly pompous guy that always has to know what is going on, and you know when Polonius is around trouble is going to happen. Why does Polonius have this insistent need to be a know it all. The desire for him to know it all and be in the middle of everything can be seen as the thing that brings him down and kills them. The is seen since he is killed behind a curtain, spying.  However his outward appearance is seems opposite with the idea that the king describes him as “a man of faith and honorable”.

From here we can see Polonius’s outward appearance to the King is one of a high and noble status. This makes me think that Polonius cares about how other perceive him and that maybe to make himself feel better.

I also looked at “truth” and I found that it is mentioned 3 times within Act 2. I found that truth was used as 3 times with relation to finding the truth, seeking the truth. It always came back to the idea of knowing the truth and being aware of what was real and what was not.

This relates to Polonius in his constant need to find the truth and seeking in truth. It also relates to the ways he uses to find this truth out which can be seen mostly by sneaking around and having spies. The aspect of truth also relates to the King and Queen and how they feel like they must know the truth to Hamlet with his current state of being, if he is mad or not and his relation with Ophelia. I also looked at the word “hid” and found that it relates closely with the word “truth” in that it was used to cover up the truth and keep it secret and hidden. This once again touches on the idea of things being kept public and private in that everyone wants to keep their personal views private and everyone else’s views public.

It seems like within Hamlet it is a constant power struggle of knowledge and who knows the most and how they can use this information to their gain and knowledge while keeping their views private and away from what everyone else thinks. Act 2 seems to revolve around this idea of knowledge and power, who has it and how can it be used to your personal advantage.

Even though Monk isn’t that fancy or considered a great tool sometimes simple is better and with Monk it is either simple or really complicated and complex. However in either situation I find that you have to be able to know and relate to the text thoroughly. Having Monk as a tool seems to really show me how to not fully rely on a tool for pure information, and I find that it seems to be equal parts of Monk and self knowledge.

Reading Versus Analyzing

Over the past few months of this course I have been thinking how examining Hamlet through multiple text analysis programs compares to actually sitting down and reading Hamlet. There are definitely some major differences. First of all, a general background of Hamlet—and of Shakespeare’s writing style—is extremely helpful. Knowing and understanding the characters feelings and attitudes becomes quite helpful when generating lists of words each character uses. For example, in the 21st century someone might describe Hamlet as crazy or mentally unstable, yet neither of those words is ever used throughout the entire play. Whereas madness is used a total of fifty times throughout the play, along with words such as: falsehood, jealousy, or likeness. Definitely not something you would know from just reading the play.

My group has also found it important to know the themes within the play before trying to search for specific words. Reading the play allows you to establish themes, whereas the tools just reinforce these themes. In Hamlet, some general themes are uncertainty, madness, and revenge. WordSeer is great at finding occurrences of words and when you already have a general theme these word frequencies become very valuable to analyze a character or specific line.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I have a new-found respect for the word tree visualization in WordSeer. I have come to notice its informative values, especially relating to context. Using the word revenge and searching throughout Hamlet, the word tree generated a visual containing the word revenge and all of its occurrences in the play. Clicking on any of the surrounding words connects the sentence to which it belongs to and highlighting it pink/red. I find this visual helpful because instead of just writing out a sentence containing revenge, it shows you what form it is used and can easily be compared to others by following the lines.

The main difference I noted when thinking about this course was the different ways in which a play—like Hamlet—can be interpreted. When I read Hamlet for the first time, I found I imagined the characters, settings, and story in my mind, creating a visual to go by. This is completely different when using these tools. Everything is a calculated answer to a specific question, with the visuals consisting of numbers and frequencies. At times I thought I was in a math class (gasp!). Similar in a way to how each side of the brain functions.

From Mercedes Benz

In regards to our Phase Two projects, my group has began to answer some of the questions previously asked, such as common themes and words associated with those themes. We have picked out specific parts of Act Two, and categorized them into the main themes of the act. Our tools have become useful for finding connections between programs and have begun to overlap and collaborate as one main tool with endless functions. Overall, this phase has brought together everything we have worked on over the course, while creating new ideas about Hamlet.

Act 2 & TAPoR: Round 2

I concluded my last post assuming that my tool (TAPoR) wouldn’t be able to take me much further in analysis of act 2. After some reflection on that, I’ve decided that there really can’t be just one useful tool in TAPoR – that being the List Words tool. So in this post I’m going to bring the tools I’ve previously cast aside to the forefront, in the hopes that they can further push this analysis of act 2.

I have noticed in Phase 2, that having a decided theme to look for before using most of the tools within TAPoR is helpful. In Phase 1, perhaps because of the shorter text to analyze, most of the times this still seemed fruitless. All group members found the themes of surveillance, and spying as a central theme within act 2. In my last post I discussed the frequency in which the word “know” is used, and connected this to the overall theme of surveillance.

Below is a list of all utterances of “know”, and the line surrounding each utterance, generated by the Find Collocates tool:

– Above being scene 1, and below being scene 2

What struck me as interesting about this list is that “I know” is the most common phrase surrounding know. Sure enough, using the Word Pairs tool, “I know” comes up 5 times within act 2:

I’d be willing to bet that Polonius is the one who states most of these “I know”s. In my previous post I’d proposed that he is involved in so much surveillance as a means to stay relevant in the court. Going around and stating you know lots of stuff is certainly a way to stay relevant. Is there any program that has a tool that can quickly find who says what? Perhaps a fellow group member with a tool better adapted to this can respond.

While it may just be two new tools I’ve used alongside the theme of knowledge, these tools did effectively save some time. I’m not sure I would have even noticed the “I” connected to “know” on so many occasions using old fashioned close reading.

I believe it was due to working out this act with others that used different programs that inspired me to try and look passed the difficulties TAPoR can present, and just pull all I could out of tools. Fellow group member Kassidy noted in his last post that Polonius speaks on 68 different occasions in act 2. It was through this insight that I was able to use another tool in a way I hadn’t thought of before.

Below is the always popular list words tool:

‘Plns’ and ‘Hmlt’, are of course Polonius and Hamlet, but when written outside of conversation such as a speaker cue or stage cue. In the past I thought the inclusion of “plns” and “hmlt” was useless, but while the number is slightly off for Polonius’ moments of speaking (65 TaPOR shows), it is still getting the same information that Kassidy got from Voyeur. We discussed the fact that this ’65’ or ‘68’ would include stage directions such as “enter plns”, but nonetheless this allows the conclusion that Polonius is involved in this act a lot. This is information also helps the theory that it is Polonius who utters the most “I knows” within this act, and is therefore most concerned with the pursuit of knowledge through surveillance.

Also, I finally remembered where my knowledge on the theme of surveillance came from: a Dr. Ullyot lecture! Those of you from the 205 class last semester will remember this “Hamlet”  adaptation:

Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2

This clip from act 2 has Claudius and Polonius standing behind a one-way mirror while they spy on Hamlet’s interaction with Ophelia. Hamlet also becomes aware of being watched and asks Ophelia where her father is as he looks up into a surveillance camera. It’s Perfect visualization for the themes going on in this act.

Knowledge and Knowing

Knowledge, in both its past and its present tense is a big topic in act two of Hamlet. Polonius is obsessed with the acquisition of knowledge about others, particularly Hamlet; on the other hand, Hamlet throughout a large portion of the play is seeking knowledge as to his uncle’s guilt relating to the death of his father, in fact his last soliloquy in act two ends with a plan that is intended towards the finding out of that same guilt. On this whole idea of knowledge and the gaining of it, the King and Queen also want to know something, what they want to know, is what exactly ails the young Hamlet.  The presence of surveillance and observation in Act II has been discussed a lot in my group and what after all is surveillance, but the gathering of information or knowledge.  Using voyeur’s Bubble Line tool I compared the words: Know, Known, and Knowledge; in doing this, I found out that the word know appears a lot more often than the other two do, it also appears in conjunction with itself in two points and in conjunction with knowledge in one point, whereas it is never in conjunction with known.  This leads me to believe that what is already known is not of the same importance as the desire to know things in Act II of Hamlet.

Above is the comparison of Know, Known and Knowledge using the Bubble Lines.

I also compared the same three words with the addition of the word, Unknown, using the word frequency chart, which in conjunction with the concordances tool on Voyeur is by far my favorite aspect of the program.  When I compared these four words I found that Known and Knowledge actually appear very close together near the beginning of the act.  I also found out the part of the act where the word Unknown is mentioned, none of the other three words that I searched for were mentioned.

Above is the Word frequency chart featuring the words: Know, Known, Unknown, and Knowledge.

From both the Bubble Line and the Word Frequency Chart, I have been able to glean that the word Know is used throughout the whole corpus of act II, showing that is definitely an important theme throughout the act and by its connection to the idea of surveillance and observation, I am fairly sure that it connects to my groups ideas regarding act II as well.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends- and Monk…

Today was the second meeting with my group on Act 2 and we spent our time trying to figure out ways in which our tool can be helpful to others and ourselves. I am pretty sure that Monk won’t be very helpful with picking up the slack compared to other tools, but I find myself at a large advantage in that every other tool will be helpful to me. Thus I will learn new things about all the other tools, and I can teach my group my frustrations.

I am having difficulty once again just comparing or looking at Act 2 effectively. So I have decided to branch out further and look at Act 2 with much larger parts of Shakespeare mostly focusing on the tragedies.  I have found that common words associated with Act 2 and tragedies such as Richard III, Macbeth and Hamlet as a whole in comparison to Act 2 and its different parts. I have looked at Richard III Macbeth and Hamlet while sifting Hamlet act 2 words throughout it. I can also see where these words are mentioned in comparison to other plays.



The findings show up as the most common seen throughout Shakespeare and then the other two plays as followed. I found that Hamlet is a noun that shows up most often, which does seem obvious since you are comparing words in Hamlet 2.1 to Hamlet itself, these words show up in black. The words which are more commonly seen in other plays than that compared to Hamlet would be seen as an under use in grey.



Some words which I found interesting would be the under use ones. Words such as God and grace appear in such high numbers, but when you look at the comparison between other plays it occurs much more often however, the word heaven can be seen as an overuse word. This is odd because these three words seem connected but yet there is such a strong disconnect between them as an overuse and an underuse. This makes me think once again of what the context of these words could be used, in this case I would like to ask someone in my group who is able to look at these particular words and see who is speaking them, when they are spoken and the context that they are said in. Once again Monk has done a good job at showing you something interesting but it has left it up to you to decide how to handle the information.


I then wondered if these overuse words or underuse words could have been noted in Naye Bayes discussion tree. I decided to look up the underuse words and see if the language could have interpreted it as something with a strong confidence or a weak confidence. At first I looked at God, grace and brother looking at Hamlet, 2.2, and 2.1 as follows. I was surprised to find that a strong confidence showed up for the word Grace in 2.2. I believe this means that the language used in 2.2 can be seen as language which strongly refers grace and other words associated with it. There was also a soft pink shade which with relation to brother and looking at 2.1 which means the language used could be found as a relation to the word brother.



Afterwards I switched to the more common words seen throughout the text and I decided to look at matter, passion and heaven. I found that heaven has a very strong confidence towards 2.1 and matter has a weak relation and passion has no relation.


I find it very odd that some words that were seen as an overuse had such a strong relation to it with words in the text such as grace. As well as words that were commonly found throughout the text shown up as weak, and a common word found such as passion had no reference to the words related within the text.


After my group meeting I meet with my fellow Monk friend Hannah. We compared the ways in which we are trying to be helpful to look at the tool and some issues that have suddenly come up. I know I can speak for the both of us that sometimes the saved worksets that you make won’t let you compare them with other worksets that you have made, it just shows up as a blank. We have tried switching computers, logging off and on, switching internet browsers, making a new project but nothing seems to fix this issue. Although I am happy that it isn’t just me that is having this issue but other Monk individuals as well.


I hope my relation to words within the text will be helpful in my group. I know I will still be dependent on my fellow Monk individuals to help overcome my struggles and see if I am the only ones having these issues or if it others as well. I am very thankful that I am not the only one using Monk and I am not the only one analyzing Act 2. I think for anyone to be effective we have to rely on one another and help others to understand our findings and help push others forward.

“Your search returned: 1345 results” Um, what?!

By now everyone knows that WordSeer has many useful functions, most of which have to do with word frequencies and finding words within a corpus. Now that we are able to isolate a single scene within Hamlet, my job has become significantly easier. Not only am I able to Read and Annotate one act, but I can apply it to either the Heat Map or Word Tree visual. Very effective!

In this example I used the word Hamlet and just looked at Act Two specifically. The heat map now shows where Hamlet appears in the entire act (in the first column) and scenes one and two (the second and third column).

This nifty little tool has been quite useful when comparing the scenes within the act. It is interesting to note the number of times Hamlet’s name is used within a scene—especially since his character does not even appear in scene one, but his name does.

Continuing on with the usage of Hamlet’s name within Act Two, I decided to take a look at the word tree—which, if you can remember from our Phase One presentation, did not prove to be very useful. Well, it took some time but I can know say I think I may have found a VERY interesting use for it after all. A word tree is automatically generated when a heat map is created and appears below. After typing in Hamlet into the search button and choosing Act Two, I scrolled down and saw this:

Now this may not look like much but let me explain. The word tree takes the word Hamlet and branches off with the most common words that are used before and after. This feature is great for looking at the context for which a word is used and I have found it most useful when using names, for example, Hamlet or Polonius.

Another part of WordSeer I have not written about previously is the collections feature. It is easily used and allows you to save your work in a collection folder—created by you—and keep all of your findings in one place. In terms of Act Two, I have created a folder that I can save all of my search results.

As mentioned in my group members previous blog posts, act two has a main theme of surveillance. When we had our group meeting today, we focused on what each tool could do when given a theme such as surveillance. Using synonyms, we generated a list of words that could be used—in Shakespeare’s vocabulary—to describe surveillance. Some of these words included: knowledge, know, see, spy, and listen. Using WordSeer, I decided to try searching the word knowledge; my results indicated that the word appeared one time. Somewhat helpful.

Next we tried searching know, instead. Our results all came back differently, depending on the tool used: 14, 35, and 26.

Either way, we are definitely making some progress; whether it is a tool suddenly creating somewhat useful graphics (TAPor), or a return result list of over 1345, at this point in our research any result is a positive one.

(I apologize for the ridiculous amount of screen shots in this post.)

In the Context of Things: How One Act May Be a Limited View

The third act of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is full of action, energy and great writing. It has strong character dilemmas, some death, powerful speeches and a play within a play. To most people with some interest and experience with Shakespeare’s works, this would seem like an excellent act and play to work with, but is it really enough to base writing on?

Until this point we’ve all been working with larger documents and even more diverse works, with work collections as big as the entirety of Shakespeare’s known works. I most often used the entire work of Hamlet as the basis of my searches on Wordseer, and with that I often got thorough and useful results, but when I started sizing down to searches focusing only on one act, even the incredibly diverse and action filled act that I and my group get to focus on, I’ve been getting less results than I care to admit and far fewer results than I would like.

One possibility is that this will be fixed when I can start to look at the collective tools working together where whatever small results that one tool can find will begin to raise questions for other tools to answer, and I think that this will happen, but even this approach limits the possibilities because no matter how effective a method you have for deriving information from data and no matter how intensely one scrutinizes their data, the results someone can attain are corrupt if their data is corrupt.

I say this because I think that looking at only one act might possibly corrupt the data that we recieve from doing so. For the uncaring this next part might be a bit technical so I’ll use point form to make it more clear.

  • A digital humanities tool is a survey tool that takes polls from texts to see if such and such a word fits under a certain description.

    • Imagine a text as a nation that we want to ask a question to, and all the words in that text as voting or polled individuals.

    • Every time I enter a search into Wordseer, I ask the individual words of the word population of the text nation “Hamlet” whether they apply to such and such a query. For example I would be asking them “do you describe the word “Ophelia”?” and, if they do, they show up in the results of the poll.

  • A survey tool has less accuracy with a smaller polled group.

    • So, if I don’t poll the entire nation of Hamlet, but rather, I ask the constituency “Act 3” or “Scene 1 of Act 5” I’ll get a less accurate result.
    • Within this constituency there are those that abdicate voting (a specific word is not used in that scene/act, but several synonyms appear in its stead) and those that are running for mayor are going to influence their friends and family into voting for them ( an artistic use of repetition over powers the results ) as well as many, many other small things that if the polling group were bigger would be less aparent and would skew the results less.
  • These same quirks and others like them occur all over the place in texts that make small changes which affect the interpretation of that text more as the text becomes smaller, and no one can anticipate or identify ally of those problems.

However, in the writing of this post, I have found that there are positives to polling a smaller sample size or to analyzing with a smaller text. For one, it clearly and effectively shows an opinion or result specific to that group or text, although that is clear in itself. For another, it clearly outlines the smaller, more specific quirks that I mentioned before, allowing for a clearer interpretation of literary methods.

Someone’s always watching

To begin analysis of Hamlet Act 2 using Tapor, I went to the one tool that offers the most information: List Words. Below is the list of words that came up, ordered from highest to lowest.

The word that caught my attention most was “know”. My first impression upon re-reading Act 2 was the same as anytime I’ve read Act 2. Polonius is a prize buffoon. How he managed to become a counselor to the king surely says something about Claudius… But back to “know”. Knowledge is something key within all of “Hamlet.” How this knowledge is obtained – or failing to be obtained – is very interesting.

Act 2 contains within it a lot of surveillance of characters upon characters. There seems to exist within “Hamlet” a constant pursuit of knowledge and truth in order to either justify actions, or to deceive for personal gain. Polonius, inflated windbag that he is, is certainly at the center of a lot of this surveillance, or spying.

Here is a list of examples of surveillance within act 2:

  •             Polonius on Laertes through Reynoaldo
  •             Polonius on Ophelia regarding Hamlets courting
  •             Claudius on Fortinbras through Voltemand regarding war with Norway – this is the only example that actually has any concrete reasoning behind it
  •             Polonius and Claudius and their original plan to hide behind the wall tapestry in an attempt to get Ophelia to bait Hamlet into admitting his madness-inducing love for her – this plan gets spoiled when Hamlet suddenly arrives, but still leads to:
  •             Polonius questioning Hamlet – and Polonius thinks he’s so clever with his snide little asides.
  •             Claudius on Hamlet (by sending Guildenstern and Rosencrantz – Hamlet doesn’t even have to twist Guildenstern’s arm to get admission of this)
  •             And finally, the arrival of the players at the Acts conclusion foreshadows Hamlets surveillance on the King during the play.

For a rather short act, I was very surprised to find as much spying as I did. What’s interesting about all these is that most of them involve either sending someone else in to spy for you, or of course Polonius’ go to plan: hide behind something! The curtain eventually does him in of course…

So why does so much deceitful spying occur? Considering that most of these are familial relationships, the amount of passive aggression and distrust is shocking. Did it ever occur to them to just ask each other about anything? Is this, perhaps, Shakespeare’s subtle way of addressing the politics at the time?

Using the surprisingly helpful tool “CapsFinder”, the allusion to Pyrrhus also comes up:

While the Trojan horse may not be as brilliant as hiding behind a curtain, or sending your servant (Reynaldo) to candidly ask strangers about your sons (Laertes) alleged gambling/sex addiction, it is still another example of deception being used to gain the upper hand.

So with my focus on the constant schemes to gain knowledge through secret surveillance, how can I use my digital tool, and fellow group member’s tools, to delve deeper? Within Tapor, beyond searching for words that occur around “know” or simply searching for synonyms, I feel it can’t take me much further. Lemmas would be a very useful tool – MONK or Wordseer? Voyeur/Voyant would definitely be helpful in producing distribution charts of where certain words (like “know”) show up. Also, if there’s any tool that can easily detect who says certain words, that would be helpful to. I have a feeling it’s mostly Polonius, being the delusory little blowhard that he is, who is mostly involved – Yet it is the surveillance between Hamlet and Claudius that is most central to the play as a whole.

New Group, New Act

After our first meeting today, it hit home to me that although the Phase I and phase II are similar, this is not going to be the exact same as phase I.  This may seem like an obvious statement but, what I mean by it is, in phase I, we all worked on how to figure out our programs and to do so we used a very small piece of text from Hamlet.  In Phase II however, we are left to figure out a slightly larger, but still not very big, excerpt from Hamlet using the tools that we became proficient with in Phase I.  To me, this is the same assignment as before, but somehow opposite to what we did before at the same time.  In a cursory analysis of Act II, the thing that stands out the most to me is the fact that Polonius is a puffed up, arrogant, windbag.  According to Voyeur’s summary chart, Polonius has a whopping 68 different moments when he speaks, that is not counting his total lines, just moments when he speaks.  This compared to Hamlet who only speaks on 49 separate occasions in this act shows that Polonius talks a lot.

In discussing Act II with my group, we came to a few conclusions about the act together, among them were the idea that it is an act that involves a lot of Polonius’ bumbling and screwing things up, it is also an event that has a lot private moments that are made public, such as Ophelia telling Polonius about her scene with Hamlet.  There is also a lot of Surveillance and observation of other characters which lead Polonius to his fatal habit of hiding behind tapestries.  In comparing the four most commonly occurring words in Act II, which are: Lord, Good, Shall, and Say; I have noticed that all though all four of these words appear together in places, the words: Shall and Say appear together the most often and that all four of them appear together in the fourth section of act II scene 1.

I do not yet know if this will be overly helpful or if it is merely interesting, but it is what has been done so far by me in Phase II of this project.

Act II

Hey, seeing as we couldn’t get the extract text for Tapor to work out for us, here is a copy of act two that can be uploaded to Tapor or Voyeur.

Act 2, Scene 1


A room in Plns’ house.

Enter PLNS and RNLDO.


Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.


I will, my lord.


You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,

Before you visit him to make inquire

Of his behaviour.


My lord, I did intend it.


Marry, well said, very well said. Look you, sir,

Inquire me first what Danskers are in Paris,

And how, and who, what means, and where they keep,

What company, at what expense, and finding

By this encompassment and drift of question

That they do know my son, come you more nearer

Than your particular demands will touch it:

Take you, as ’twere some distant knowledge of him,

As thus, ‘I know his father and his friends,

And in part him’ – do you mark this, Reynaldo?


Ay, very well, my lord.


‘And in part him,’ but you may say, ‘not well:

But, if’t be he I mean, he’s very wild,

Addicted so and so’, and there put on him

What forgeries you please. marry, none so rank

As may dishonour him – take heed of that –

But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips

As are companions noted and most known

To youth and liberty.


As gaming, my lord?


Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,

Quarrelling, drabbing – you may go so far.


My lord, that would dishonour him.


‘Faith, as you may season it in the charge.

You must not put another scandal on him

That he is open to incontinency –

That’s not my meaning – but breathe his faults so


That they may seem the taints of liberty,

The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,

A savageness in unreclaimed blood

Of general assault.


But, my good lord –


Wherefore should you do this?


Ay, my lord,

I would know that.


Marry, sir, here’s my drift –

And, I believe, it is a fetch of wit –

You laying these slight sallies on my son

As ’twere a thing a little soiled with working,

Mark you, your party in converse (him you would


Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes

The youth you breathe of guilty, be assured

He closes with you in this consequence:

‘Good sir’ (or so), or ‘friend’ or ‘gentleman’,

According to the phrase or the addition

Of man and country.


Very good, my lord.


And then, sir, does ‘a this, ‘a does –

what was I about to say? By the mass, I was about to

say something! where did I leave?


At ‘closes in the consequence’.


At ‘closes in the consequence’, ay, marry.

He closes thus: ‘I know the gentleman,

I saw him yesterday, or th’ other day,

Or then, or then, with such, or such; and, as you say

There was ‘a gaming; there o’ertook in’s rouse;

There falling out at tennis’, or perchance

‘I saw him enter such a house of sale’,

Videlicet a brothel, or so forth. See you now

Your bait of falsehood take this carp of truth,

And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,

With windlasses and with assays of bias,

By indirections find directions out:

So by my former lecture and advice

Shall you my son. You have me, have you not?


My lord, I have.


God buy ye; fare ye well.


Good my lord.


Observe his inclination in yourself.


I shall, my lord.


And let him ply his music.


Well, my lord.



Exit Rnldo.

Enter OPLA.

How now, Ophelia, what’s the matter?


O, my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted.


With what, i’ the name of God?


My lord, as I was sewing in my closet

Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,

No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,

Ungartered and down-gyved to his ankle;

Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,

And with a look so piteous in purport

As if he had been loosed out of hell

To speak of horrors, he comes before me.


Mad for thy love?


My lord, I do not know,

But truly I do fear it.


What said he?


He took me by the wrist and held me hard,

Then goes he to the length of all his arm

And with his other hand thus o’er his brow

He falls to such perusal of my face

As ‘a would draw it. Long stayed he so;

At last, a little shaking of mine arm

And thrice his head thus waving up and down,

He raised a sigh so piteous and profound

As it did seem to shatter all his bulk

And end his being. That done, he lets me go

And with his head over his shoulder turned

He seemed to find his way without his eyes

(For out o’ doors he went without their helps)

And, to the last bended their light on me.


Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.

This is the very ecstasy of love,

Whose violent property fordoes itself

And leads the will to desperate undertakings

As oft as any passions under heaven

That does afflict our natures. I am sorry –

What, have you given him any hard words of late?


No, my good lord, but as you did command,

I did repel his letters and denied

His access to me.


That hath made him mad.

I am sorry that with better heed and judgement

I had not quoted him. I feared he did but trifle

And meant to wrack thee – but, beshrew my jealousy –

By heaven it is as proper to our age

To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions

As it is common for the younger sort

To lack discretion. Come, go we to the king:

This must be known which, being kept close, might


More grief to hide than hate to utter love.




Act 2, Scene 2


A room in the castle.




Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Moreover that we much did long to see you

The need we have to use you did provoke

Our hasty sending. Something have you heard

Of Hamlet’s transformation – so call it

Sith nor th’ exterior nor the inward man

Resembles that it was. What it should be

More than his father’s death, that thus hath put him

So much from th’ understanding of himself

I cannot dream of. I entreat you both

That, being of so young days brought up with him

And sith so neighboured to his youth and haviour

That you vouchsafe your rest here in our Court

Some little time, so by your companies

To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather

So much as from occasion you may glean,

Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus

That opened lies within our remedy.


Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of you

And sure I am two men there is not living

To whom he more adheres. If it will please you

To show us so much gentry and good will

As to expend your time with us awhile

For the supply and profit of our hope,

Your visitation shall receive such thanks

As fits a king’s remembrance.


Both your majesties

Might by the sovereign power you have of us

Put your dread pleasures more into command

Than to entreaty.


But we both obey

And here give up ourselves in the full bent

To lay our service freely at your feet

To be commanded.


Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.


Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rosencrantz.

And I beseech you instantly to visit

My too much changed son. Go, some of you

And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.


Heavens make our presence and our practices

Pleasant and helpful to him.


Ay, amen.

Exeunt Rsncrz, Gldstn, and some Attendants.

Enter Plns.


Th’ ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,

Are joyfully returned.


Thou still hast been the father of good news.


Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege

I hold my duty as I hold my soul,

Both to my God and to my gracious king;

And I do think, or else this brain of mine

Hunts not the trail of policy so sure

As it hath used to do, that I have found

The very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy.


O, speak of that, that do I long to hear.


Give first admittance to th’ ambassadors.

My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.


Thyself do grace to them and bring them in.

Exit Plns.

He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found

The head and source of all your son’s distemper.


I doubt it is no other but the main –

His father’s death and our hasty marriage.


Well, we shall sift him.

Re-enter Plns, with VLTMND and CRNLS.

Welcome, my good friends.

Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?


Most fair return of greetings and desires.

Upon our first he sent out to suppress

His nephew’s levies, which to him appeared

To be a preparation ‘gainst the Polack;

But, better looked into, he truly found

It was against your highness; whereat, grieved

That so his sickness, age and impotence

Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests

On Fortinbras, which he, in brief obeys,

Receives rebuke from Norway and, in fine,

Makes vow before his uncle never more

To give th’ assay of arms against your majesty.

Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,

Gives him threescore thousand crowns in annual fee

And his commission to employ those soldiers

So levied (as before) against the Polack,

With an entreaty herein further shown

Giving a paper.

That it might please you to give quiet pass

Through your dominions for this enterprise

On such regards of safety and allowance

As therein are set down.


It likes us well,

And at our more considered time we’ll read,

Answer and think upon this business;

Meantime, we thank you for your well-took labour.

Go to your rest, at night we’ll feast together:

Most welcome home.

Exeunt Vltmnd and Crnls.


This business is well ended.

My liege, and madam, to expostulate

What majesty should be, what duty is,

Why day is day, night night, and time is time,

Were nothing but to waste night, day and time;

Therefore, brevity is the soul of wit

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes.

I will be brief: your noble son is mad.

Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,

What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?

But let that go.


More matter with less art.


Madam, I swear I use no art at all.

That he’s mad, ’tis true: ’tis true ’tis pity;

And pity ’tis ’tis true: a foolish figure!

But farewell it, for I will use no art.

Mad let us grant him then, and now remains

That we find out the cause of this effect –

Or rather say the cause of this defect,

For this effect defective comes by cause.

Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.  Perpend,

I have a daughter — have while she is mine –

Who in her duty and obedience, mark,

Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.


To the celestial and my soul’s idol, the most

Beautified Ophelia — That’s an ill phrase, a

Vile phrase, ‘beautified’ is a vile phrase, but

You shall hear – thus in

Her excellent white bosom, these, etc.


Came this from Hamlet to her?


Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.


Doubt thou the stars are fire,

Doubt that the sun doth move,

Doubt truth to be a liar,

But never doubt I love.

O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not art

to reckon my groans, but that I love thee best, O most best,

believe it. Adieu. Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst

this machine is to him. Hamlet.

This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me;

And more about hath his solicitings

As they fell out, by time, by means and place,

All given to mine ear.


But how hath she

Received his love?


What do you think of me?


As of a man faithful and honourable.


I would fain prove so. But what might you think

When I had seen this hot love on the wing –

As I perceived it (I must tell you that)

Before my daughter told me — what might you,

Or my dear majesty your queen here, think

If I had played the desk or table-book,

Or given my heart a working mute and dumb,

Or looked upon this love with idle sight,

What might you think? No, I went round to work

And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:

‘Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star.

This must not be.’ and then I prescripts gave her

That she should lock herself from his resort,

Admit no messengers, receive no tokens;

Which done, she took the fruits of my advice,

And he, repelled, a short tale to make,

Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,

Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness

Thence to a lightness, and by this declension

Into the madness wherein now he raves,

And all we mourn for.


Do you think this?


It may be, very like.


Hath there been such a time – I would fain know that –

That I have positively said ‘Tis so

When it proved otherwise?


Not that I know.


Pointing to his head and shoulders

Take this from this if this be otherwise.

If circumstances lead me I will find

Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed

Within the centre.


How may we try it further?


You know, sometimes he walks four hours together

Here in the lobby?


So he does, indeed.


At such a time I’ll loose my daughter to him.

Be you and I behind an arras then,

Mark the encounter: if he love her not

And be not from his reason fallen thereon

Let me be no assistant for a state,

But keep a farm and carters.


We will try it.


But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.


Away, I do beseech you both, away.

I’ll board him presently.  O, give me leave.

Exeunt King, Queen, and Attendants.

Enter HMLT, reading.

How does my good Lord Hamlet?


Well, God-a-mercy.


Do you know me, my lord?


Excellent well, you are a fishmonger.


Not I, my lord.


Then I would you were so honest a man.


Honest, my lord?


Ay, sir, to be honest as this world goes is to be

one man picked out of ten thousand.


That’s very true, my lord.


For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog,

being a good kissing carrion – have you a daughter?


I have, my lord.


Let her not walk i’ th’ sun: conception is a

blessing but as your daughter may conceive, Friend –

look to’t.



How say you by that? Still harping on

my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first, ‘a said I was a

fishmonger! ‘a is far gone; and truly in my youth I

suffered much extremity for love, very near this.

I’ll speak to him again. What do you read, my lord?


Words, words, words.


What is the matter, my lord?


Between who?


I mean the matter that you read, my lord.


Slanders, sir. For the satirical rogue says here

that old men have grey beards, that their faces are

wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plumtree

gum and that they have a plentiful lack of wit together

with most weak hams – all which, sir, though I most

powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not

honesty to have it thus set down. For yourself, sir, shall

grow old as I am – if like a crab you could go




Though this be madness, yet there is

method in’t. – Will you walk out of the air, my lord?


Into my grave.



Indeed, that’s out of the air. How

pregnant sometimes his replies are – a happiness that

often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could

not so prosperously be delivered of. I will leave him and

my daughter. – My lord, I will take my leave of you.


You cannot take from me anything that I will

not more willingly part withal – except my life, except

my life, except my life.


Fare you well, my lord.


These tedious old fools.



You go to seek the Lord Hamlet? there he is.

Rsncrz [To Plns]

God save you, sir!

Exit Plns.


My honoured lord.


My most dear lord.


My excellent good friends. How dost thou,

Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do

You both?


As the indifferent children of the earth.


Happy, in that we are not ever happy.

On fortune’s cap we are not the very button.


Nor the soles of her shoe?


Neither, my lord.


Then you live about her waist, or in the middle

of her favours?


‘Faith, her privates we.


In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true –

she is a strumpet. What news?


None, my lord, but the world’s grown



Then is doomsday near – but your news is not

true. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make

you at Elsinore?


To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.


Beggar that I am, I am ever poor in thanks, but

I thank you, and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too

dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own

inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come, deal justly

with me. come, come. nay speak.


What should we say, my lord?


Anything, but to th’ purpose. You were sent for,

and there is a kind of confession in your looks, which

your modesties have not craft enough to colour. I know

the good king and queen have sent for you.


To what end, my lord?


That you must teach me. But let me conjure

you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy

of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved

love, and by what more dear a better proposer can

charge you withal, be even and direct with me whether

you were sent for or no.


What say you?


Nay then, I have an eye of you. If you love me,

Hold not off.


My lord, we were sent for.


I will tell you why. so shall my anticipation

prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King

and Queen moult no feather. I have of late, but

wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all

custom of exercises and, indeed, it goes so heavily with

my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth seems

to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy

the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament,

this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why it

appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent

congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man

– how noble in reason; how infinite in faculties, in form

and moving; how express and admirable in action;

how like an angel in apprehension; how like a god; the

beauty of the world; the paragon of animals. And yet to

me what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights

not me – nor women neither, though by your smiling you

seem to say so.


My lord, there was no such stuff in my



Why did ye laugh then, when I said man

delights not me?


To think, my lord, if you delight not in

Man what lenten entertainment the players shall recieve

from you; we coted them on the way and hither are they

coming to offer you service.


He that plays the King shall be welcome – his

majesty shall have tribute on me – the Adventurous

Knight shall use his foil and target, the lover shall not

sigh gratis, the humorous man shall end his part in

peace, and the lady shall say her mind freely or the

blank verse shall halt for’t. What players are they?


Even those you were wont to take such

delight in, the tragedians of the city.


How chances it they travel? Their residence,

both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.


I think their inhibition comes by the

means of the late innovation.


Do they hold the same estimation they did

when I was in the city? Are they so followed?


No, indeed are they not.


It is not very strange, for my uncle is King of

Denmark, and those that would make mouths at him

while my father lived give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred

ducats a-piece for his picture in little. ‘Sblood, there is

something in this more than natural if philosophy

could find it out.

Flourish of trumpets within.


There are the players.


Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your

hands, come, then! Th’ appurtenance of welcome is

fashion and ceremony. Let me comply with you in this

garb lest my extent to the players, which I tell you

must show fairly outwards, should more appear like

entertainment than yours. You are welcome. But my

uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.


In what, my dear lord?


I am but mad north-north-west. When the

wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.

Re-enter PLNS.


Well be with you, gentlemen.


Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too – at each

Ear a hearer. That great baby you see there is not yet out

of his swaddling clouts.


Happily he is the second time come to

them, for they say an old man is twice a child.


I will prophesy he comes to tell me of the

Players. Mark it. – You say right, sir, o’ Monday

Morning, ’twas then indeed.


My lord, I have news to tell you.


My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius

was an actor in Rome –


The actors are come hither, my lord.


Buzz, buzz.


Upon my honour,


– Then came each actor on his ass.


The best actors in the world, either for

tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,

historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem

unlimited. Seneca cannot be too heavy nor Plautus too

light for the law of writ and the liberty. These are the

only men.


O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst



What a treasure had he, my lord?



One fair daughter and no more,

The which he loved passing well.



Still on my daughter.


Am I not i’ th’ right, old Jephthah?


If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a

daughter that I love passing well.


Nay, that follows not.


What follows then, my lord?



As by lot,

God wot,

and then, you know,

“It came to pass,

as most like it was.

The first row of the pious chanson will show you more,

for look where my abridgement comes.

Enter four or five Players.

You are welcome, masters, welcome all. I am glad to see

thee well. Welcome, good friends. O old friend, why

thy face is valanced since I saw thee last! Com’st thou to

beard me in Denmark? What, my young lady and

mistress! By’r lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven

than when I saw you last by the altitude of a chopine.

Pray God your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be

not cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all

welcome. We’ll e’en to’t like French falconers – fly at

anything we see. We’ll have a speech straight. Come,

give us a taste of your quality. Come, a passionate


First Player

What speech, my good lord?


I heard thee speak me a speech once – but it was

never acted,or, if it was, not above once,for the play I

remember pleased not the million, ‘twas caviare to the

general. But it was, as I received it, and others whose

judgements in such matters cried in the top of mine, an

excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down

with as much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said

there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter

savoury nor no matter in the phrase that might indict

the author of affection, but called it an honest method,

as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more

handsome than fine. One speech in’t I chiefly loved –

‘t was Aeneas’ talk to Dido, and thereabout of it

especially when he speaks of Priam’s slaughter. If it live

in your memory begin at this line – let me see, let me

see –

The rugged Pyrrhus like th’ Hyrcanian beast …

– ‘Tis not so. It begins with Pyrrhus.

The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,

Black as his purpose, did the night resemble

When he lay couched in th’ ominous horse,

Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared

With heraldry more dismal, head to foot.

Now is he total gules, horridly tricked

With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,

Baked and impasted with the parching streets

That lend a tyrannous and a damned light

To their lord’s murder; roasted in wrath and fire,

And thus o’ersized with coagulate gore,

With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus

Old grandsire Priam seeks.

So, proceed you.


‘Fore God, my lord, well spoken – with good

accent and good discretion.

First Player

Anon he finds him,

Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,

Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,

Repugnant to command. Unequal matched,

Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide,

But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword

Th’ unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium

Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top

Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash

Takes prisoner Pyrrhus’ ear. For lo, his sword

Which was declining on the milky head

Of reverend Priam seemed i’ the air to stick.

So, as a painted tyrant Pyrrhus stood

And like a neutral to his will and matter,

Did nothing.

But as we often see against some storm

A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,

The bold winds speechless and the orb below

As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder

Doth rend the region, so after Pyrrhus’ pause

A roused vengeance sets him new a-work

And never did the Cyclops’ hammers fall

On Mars’s armour, forged for proof eterne,

With less remorse than Pyrrhus’ bleeding sword

Now falls on Priam.

Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods

In general synod take away her power,

Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel

And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven

As low as to the fiends.


This is too long.


It shall to the barber’s, with your beard. Prithee,

say on – he’s for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps

say on, come to Hecuba.

First Player

But who – ah woe – had seen the mobled queen –


‘The mobled queen’!


That’s good.

First Player

– Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames

With bisson rheum, a clout upon that head

Where late the diadem stood and, for a robe,

About her lank and all – o’erteemed loins,

A blanket in the alarm of fear caught up.

Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped,

‘Gainst Fortune’s state would treason have pronounced.

But if the gods themselves did see her then,

When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport

In mincing with his sword her husband limbs,

The instant burst of clamour that she made

(Unless things mortal move them not at all)

Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven

And passion in the gods.


Look where he has not turned his colour and

Has tears in’s eyes. – Prithee, no more!


‘Tis well. I’ll have thee speak out the rest of this

soon. [to Plns] Good my lord, will you see the

players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well

used, for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of

the time: after your death you were better have a bad

epitaph than their ill report while you live.


My lord, I will use them according to their



God’s bodkin, man, much better! Use every

Man after his desert, and who shall scape whipping? Use

them after your own honour and dignity – the less they

deserve the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.


Come, sirs.


Follow him, friends. We’ll hear a play


Exit Plns with all the Players but the First.

Dost thou hear me, old

Friend? Can you play The Murder of Gonzago?

First Player

Ay, my lord.


We’ll ha’t to-morrow night. You could for need,

study a speech of some dozen lines, or sixteen lines,

which I would set down and insert in’t, could you not?

First Player

Ay, my lord.


Very well. Follow that lord – and look you mock

him not.

Exit First Player.

My good friends, I’ll leave

you till night. You are welcome to Elsinore.


Good my lord.


Ay so, God buy to you.

Exeunt Rsncrz and Gldstn.

Now I am alone.

O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!

Is it not monstrous that this player here,

But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,

Could force his soul so to his own conceit

That from her working all the visage wanned

– Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,

A broken voice, and his whole function suiting

With forms to his conceit – and all for nothing –

For Hecuba?

What’s Hecuba to him, or he to her,

That he should weep for her? What would he do

Had he the motive and that for passion

That I have? He would drown the stage with tears

And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,

Make mad the guilty and appall the free,

Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed

The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,

A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,

Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,

And can say nothing. No, not for a king

Upon whose property and most dear life

A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?

Who calls me villain, breaks my pate across,

Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face,

Tweaks me by the nose, gives me the lie i’ th’ throat

As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this,

Ha? ‘Swounds, I should take it. For it cannot be

But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall

To make oppression bitter, or ere this

I should ha’ fatted all the region kites

With this slave’s offal – bloody, bawdy villain,

Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain.

Why, what an ass am I: This is most brave,

That I, the son of a dear murdered,

Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,

Must like a whore unpack my heart with words

And fall a-cursing like a very drab,

A stallion! Fie upon’t, foh! About, my brains!

Hum, I have heard

That guilty creatures sitting at a play

Have by the very cunning of the scene

Been struck so to the soul that presently

They have proclaimed their malefactions.

For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak

With most miraculous organ. I’ll have these players

Play something like the murder of my father

Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks;

I’ll tent him to the quick. If ‘a do blench

I know my course. The spirit that I have seen

May be a de’il, and the de’il hath power

T’ assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps

Out of my weakness and my melancholy,

As he is very potent with such spirits,

Abuses me to damn me! I’ll have grounds

More relative than this. The play’s the thing

Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.


Monk- A Fresh Start


It is a new beginning and I thought a good way to start it off would be to read Act 2 and pick apart some common themes that I found were represented throughout the text. I then thought that I could use the themes that I found to try and see if I could gain more information about them through some analysis tools that Monk has to offer.

While I was reading Act 2 I found that a common theme seen in the text was spying and trying to figure out secrets.  This is seen when Polonius asks Reynaldo to go spy on his son while he is away.  It is also mentioned later in 2.2 when the King and Queen ask Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet for them.

After this I decided what information Monk may lend itself to me when associations to the theme spying. I looked up the word concordances and found that there wasn’t any word matches to the word spy or spying in Act 2



I looked back at the language used within the text and I found that the usage of the word spy was not mentioned and a few other synonyms for the word spy weren’t mentioned as well.  I found this to be very odd since when you read the text you know that Reynaldo is sent to go spy on Laertes and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are sent to go spy on Hamlet, but yet it is not outwardly mentioned. This made me think of the language that Shakespeare himself uses to get across points that we ourselves understand the concepts that differ today.

I then tried to tackle Aprils concept of the Naive Baye’s and look at the language within Act to see if it is compatible to the themes that are easily noted within Act 2.  I looked up at 2 with separation to 2.1 and 2.2 and looked up common words that connect to themes that are seen throughout Hamlet 2.1 and 2.2. to see if the language itself would identify it. I decided to look up “revenge” for Act 2 in a whole,  “spy” in 2.1 and “madness” for 2.2.



As the results show the ideas of revenge by use of the language and words is something that was seen as noticeable in Act 2, but was not very prominent due to the lack of a deeper shade of red. Madness was itself was something that was easily seen within the language due to its darker shade of red. strangely enough the word spy had no language itself noted in 2.1 even though it associates with Polonius asking Reynaldo to spy on his son for him.

I thought it was very odd how some of the common themes that are easily noted within Hamlet are not even noticed or picked up through the language. I may be using the tool wrong or I might not be giving it enough information that I should, but I thought this was very strange.

I think I will find two different aspects of information while working with Monk, one I will find through myself analysis of the text and the other I will find with the analysis through word hoard. Although I wish that some of my personal findings would transfer over to what I find in Monk I think that it brings things on a whole new perspective.

I find that I am going to have to still work closely with my fellow Monk friends just to fully understand concepts and ideas to see if what I am finding may be somewhat correct or if I am going off on something completely wrong. I think it is very helpful to first learn how to use the tool and develop a stronger understanding of it, and with Monk itself you seem to learn more the more you fiddle with it and play with it however it is very tedious.

I hope that I will be helpful to my group, I know Monk isn’t the easiest thing to work with especially on a smaller scale. However I do hope that working with the other tools will help pick up where Monk seems to fall short.

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.