A Rocky Start, A Triumphant Finish

Introduction: Taking the book worm into the realm of computers

This semester has been a roller coaster to say the least. I started this term as a traditional reader with a pen in one hand and the book, play or texts in the other and was dropped into the world of computers, computer programs and digital analysis. (Terrifying, I know.) My initial feelings with the whole process were feelings of trepidation, anxiety and a little bit angry that new technology was taking over something I have always loved. Andrew Prescott wrote in his blog,  “a sense of being overwhelmed by technology, of anxiety about the way in which new technologies are transforming society”, which is exactly how I felt. “Why change something that is not and was not broken” was also something that kept going through my mind in the introductory weeks.

I am a person that is not a fan of change, so I really struggled to find the beauty in the digital humanities. My internal struggle and my main questions during the semester were focusing on the pros and cons of the quantitative process over the traditional qualitative process. How will the numbers, figures and pictures help us gain more insight and new views into texts we have studied for centuries? Will this type of analysis help or hinder the reader and researcher when looking at a piece of work?

Trials and Tribulations with TAPoR

My first foray into the digital humanities world was less then promising. The tool I was given was TAPoR and for the computer impaired, it was torture to figure out. I saw my grades slip from between my fingers and so I cursed all things computers for the next month or so. My first few blogs I posted were less then steller to me but most people found pure enjoyment from them. TAPoR and I could not seem to work together, and the more I pushed the more it pushed back with error messages. A couple of error messages is not bad but when you run 12 separate searches and get 12 different error messages it just takes computers fighting back to a whole new level.

For your enjoyment here are a few:


Once I figured out what TAPoR likes and what is does not, I started seeing results. This was a glimmer of hope in what I was sure was a doomed project. However, this glimmer soon flickered out and I again I was left in the dark hopelessly trying to find the light. The huge problem I have found using my tool is that same results are hard to come by. For example I used the same program (TAPoR), and the same text (Hamlet), and ran them through the same tool called CAPS Finder, each time I got a different result. I was starting to think that this program had it out for me so I enlisted my fellow classmates to redo the same search with the parameters I had already set. Sadly, out of 5 TAPoR users we did not get the same results.

After weeks spent slaving over the computer, TAPoR and I had come to a working agreement where it would give me result 50% of the time. This is was huge step into realizing that this whole thing may not be so bad.

Qualitative Research

I have a soft spot for Hamlet by William Shakespeare. I have studied this play over 7 times in an academic setting and every single time I find something new, interesting and different. While the quantitative results I got did shock me and helped me find new undiscovered information, I find you still need a human eye/reader. For example, a quote said by the Queen in Act 3,“madness. There is something in his soul..”. TAPoR pulled up the term madness using the concordance tool but it is up to the reader to figure out the significance of this line. Words are mean to be interpreted and a computer cannot help us with this process. It’s a human reader to text process that is the key to figuring out Shakespeare.

Quantitative using TAPoR

This section I will need to break up into two parts, the pros and the cons. Using digital analysis tool was something new for me to experience and it took a while to succumb to the idea.  So the only way to get my full feelings of the program was to break it up.

The Pros

            Within my research I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel when I started looking to the senses and their meanings with Act 3. The senses I took an interest in are: eyes, ears, tongue, sight. I did start the process in a qualitative matter but with out the help of digital humanities would not have found something that I have never realized before. By doing my searches I found that all the senses were connected and used interchangeably within Hamlet. Noticing the patterns of the words and how they were used made my research move forward with ease. This also pains me to say, but I was surprised how efficient and quick it found these patterns. It is a tedious task to do it with the human eye and you will miss a word or two in the process.

I also had the time to research other things using my other textbooks from history and the Internet to figure out the meanings of these words in a historical context. (This was only possible with all the extra time I had, since I was not hunched over a text book for hours on end). The results took to a whole different level of literary analysis, and a greater, deeper meaning of Hamlet.

The Cons

            Well, what can I say? The list of cons dealing primarily with TAPoR is long and tedious but since I have already talked about that, I will list other things in my findings. My number problem I have had with just the digital humanities is that the computer program takes away from the text. I found the more I got into the research aspect using TAPoR the less and less I used my hard copy of Hamlet. There it was, laying on my desk besides my computer, looking lonely and unused. It was a very heart wrenching moment when I realized that in 3 full weeks I have not opened the actual texts onceMaybe I am old fashioned, traditional, or whatever you want to call it but isn’t the text the most important part of literary analysis?

Another issue I found was TAPoR was not the only program with inconsistent results. We used five different programs (Voyeur, Monk, WordHoard, and WordSeer) and every single one gave us different results. It was hard to trust which program was right or not so we just put all our results into the our research and hoped for the best.


Andrew Prescott compared the birth of digital humanities as necessary as the “industrial revolution and the birth of print.” It may very well be and I honestly do like it for certain things.  It is definitely a time saver with the ability to search times quicker then the traditional methods. It can pull out patterns, words and phrases that a human cannot do with only missing something while doing so, and with such certainty. However, I have said this in my pervious blogs, this is a tool NOT a replacement to traditional methods of reading and analyzing a text. No computer or program can show you the beauty of these words put together on a page. Without the reader we cannot get the meaning that the author was trying to get across nor can we understand the text fully when we know that Shakespeare used the word “mad” a lot.

I have come a long way since the start of the semester. Digital humanities and programs will be a tool I will use as I proceed through my degree but it will not replace my book and pen. This has been an experience for me that I will cherish for all I have learned. I hope you all enjoyed the process as much as I have! Enjoy


Works Cited

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

Prescott, Andrew. Blog- http://digitalriffs.blogspot.ca/2012/01/electric-current-of-imagination-what.html?showComment=1334169799982


Final Post

Ready, Set, GO

As a traditional reader, one is able to certainty pick up on thematic clusters, interactions, structure and so on, but it isn’t until you start using digital tools, where you are absolutely able to see both qualitative and quantitative occurrences, such as repetition of words and or various references to God for example. Digital tools take the best of both worlds, and slot them together.  So to summarize my argument, I strongly conclude that digital tools are the future, providing aspects of traditional readings whether it be through creating a hypothesis or by gaining qualitative and or quantitative information. However, the combination between digital tools and traditional reading is the most complete way to analyze a text.

The Beginning

Thinking back to the beginning of the semester in January seems like it was forever ago, but it was the beginning of my digital humanities journey. Coming from the lands of computers, blogging, and the creation of internet pages, I could not have ever imagined all the possibilities such tools could offer to enhance my understanding of Hamlet. My initial thoughts were “Professor Ullyot, how could you combine Shakespeare, who literally has a language of his own, with digital tools?”  Was this possibly the most awkward/ complicated combination ever? No it wasn’t, if anything it was a genius move. One thing I learned about reading Hamlet in two different semesters, as I mentioned in my other blog was that reading Hamlet isn’t as straight forward as picking up Harry Potter, and connecting the dots as the story unravels.  Hamlet is a text that one must actively read, while physically connecting the dots via notes in the margins. I did do this in the fall semester; however, I did not dive into the text and ask questions that were deeper than the surface. Or in other words, my interest didn’t lie in creating a hypothesis and making conclusions with solid evidence. While reading traditionally, repetition occurred, God references were used, and various tones were apparent throughout the text, but my questions were: “who cares and why does this matter?”. Through the use of digital tools, I learned that in fact these questions, references, and instances of repetition Shakespeare uses, are important to the text. If anything, they are the most interesting aspects of the text.

For example, although these are not the most interesting results, this tool from TAPoR pulls out names (or capital letters to be more correct) like Mars, Mercury and God. The way that this tool is capable of doing this, may for some reiterate important ideas or references, perhaps like Christianity for example.

Traditional Reading Benefits

  1. You can always trust the book as a correct source
  2. Structure is easily identified i.e.) line, sentence structure, interruptions
  3. Thematic clusters can be determined i.e.) body parts: head, heart
  4. Interactions can be determined i.e.) statements, questions, and answers
  5. Tone and performance is evident i.e.) is a character giving advice? Or is he angry?
  6. Figures of speech: metaphors, similes, double meanings


Flaws of the Tools

In order to use digital tools, you need to be smarter than the computer. Yes, the computer is a fast worker, but its brains do not equal the power of its user. Therefore, you must know what you are looking for, and at times you may need to question your results.  During phase 2, it was not until I compared my findings with other results from different tools (Monk, WordHoard, TAPoR, and WordSeer), that I really learned the downfalls to Voyeur. Quite often, Voyeur could not find words that certainly did appear in the text and in other tools.  The most frustrating example I had of this was found when searching for the word tongue in phase two in act 3. Voyeur told me 0 results, BUT I physically saw the word tongue with my own eyes in the text, and other tools were showing results of these occurrences. Here are three occurrences within act 3, where voyeur apparently was not recognizing any of them. Cool.


The work of Monk

More downfalls…

  1. Error messages are common
  2. Different versions of the text(s) can change your results
  3. Shakespeare’s language versus modern language = problem
  4. Tools search exactly what you type



Warwick writes “the digital medium allows for a more inclusive approach to academic research, whereby users …become part of the process of discovery and interpretation”. Warwick’s words are exactly right, when your chosen tool is willing to work with its user and provide its user with correct results. Digital tools do not give you answers without work, it gives you data. Digital tools, Voyeur in particular, works as a hypothesis generator as a beginning step towards success. This is the beginning of your process of discovery. Right away by just looking at the visual word cloud you are able to see the words that occur most often: HMLT, Lord, love, play, and make. Or if you are a person who is more number orientated like I am, you could use the frequency chart, where numbers are listed by the most frequent used words.

While looking at the frequency chart for act 3, I’ve been given quantitative evidence: love is a word that occurs most (23 times) in act 3.  Although this is an evident theme a traditional reader could have easily pulled out after reading Hamlet, we must remember that we are only in the stage of constructing a hypothesis, where Warwick writes “users of digital resources do know what they need and if they don’t find it they will not use things that are unfit for their needs”.  In other words, digital users will keep looking until they are able to collect the evidence, whether it is qualitative or quantitative data, to make a conclusion. By keep looking, I mean these tools are not capable of pulling out the differences between how the word love is used. Hamlet states, “I did love you once” (3.1. 114) when speaking to Ophelia as way to express an emotion that was once there. In the play put on by the Players, you read “you shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago’s wife” (3.2.256). Yes, love is mentioned, but it is not really used in the context of an individual expressing love as an emotion to another individual.  Depending on what a user of digital tools was looking for, the quantitative data could distract you from coming to a correct assumption about love in the play. There are many other occurrences where this issue was present.  Hamlet/ Shakespeare uses the words honest and fair to question Ophelia, when in modern day, these terms are used very differently.  See my blog post for a further explanation and dictionary definitions.

Traditional Questions

With traditional reading though, what would one do with the theme love? We could use qualitative evidence to compare the different types of love? Or analyze how Hamlet uses the word love? Is he really in love with Ophelia? Regardless of the direction one may choose, I feel like a conclusion can be reached, but the so what factor is missing. Why not take your hypothesis to the next level and use frequencies, visuals and chart comparisons to deepen your analysis?

Making Progress

Since we were using digital tools, I decided that it wouldn’t make sense to go to the text we used in class to look for information, and then put it into my program. I tried to stay dedicated to digital tools. Luckily, my tool Voyeur allowed for me to maintain my dedication. Voyeur provides a corpus reader, which is practically the text itself. For some tools, this is where there was some disconnect.  Most other tool users could not a) read an entire act, scene, or play b) modify their text and or c) take their data, and achieve visual results. I believe most students will agree that tools are great for quantitative data, but Voyeur is much different. It combines the best of both worlds like mentioned above. (To be honest, the second half of the semester my text book of Hamlet sat collecting dust). Voyeur was, however, beneficial in the way that I could modify Hamlet to either include, or exclude things that were tainting my data. For example, one of the biggest downfalls to Voyeur was the fact that speakers could not be separated from their names being mentioned. In other words, this was ruining my quantitative data, by making it seem like Hamlet was mentioned 100 times, when over 75% of the Hamlet occurrences was when he was speaking.  TAPoR, however, was the tool which was responsible for gathering when characters spoke.  By separating character’s lines via TAPoR, then putting my information into Voyeur, it was much easier to analyze each character’s word choices, emotions (qualitative) and frequencies (quantitative) and or information.

Voyeur- Results are tainted because the file has not been edited


Because Voyeur offered the ability to read the text through the corpus reader, I was able to gain both qualitative and quantitative occurrences, which I don’t think was something I could have necessarily gained through traditional reading on its own.  Although I wasn’t able to “make notes on a piece of paper, doodle, fold it up and carry” Voyeur with me, like Warwick states when she compares traditional texts with digital humanities, the information I was able to drag out of Voyeur was something beyond any traditional reader could gain alone.

Corpus Reader - Just like a book ...


The conclusions I came to, as seen in my blog, was a combination of reading through the corpus gaining qualitative and quantitative information, then submitting it into the program to further analyze the qualitative data. Even though I was randomly typing in words, checking their frequencies and looking for connections, this would have been completely impossible through traditional reading. Again, I know this because the first time around reading Hamlet, these themes were overlooked, probably due to the complexity the story line or language.  First I noticed that Shakespeare makes references to body parts, for example “go, go, you question with a wicked tongue” (3.4.10), or compares words to daggers, “I will speak daggers to her but use none” (3.2.386).  By slowly typing in each word in search bar that was a part of the body, my phase two group was able to make the theme of our presentation based on senses (eyes, hearing, and speaking/ tongue). Finding this information was new to me. I never would have been able to make the connection between all of the senses, if I did not break down act three, and draw connections through the frequency occurrences.  I think by slotting information into a program allows you to slow down and analyze it in a way you never would. Like mentioned above, without the use of numbers or data to prove your point, the so what factor occurs. I strongly believe that with the help of digital tools, you are able to fill the so what void. It is like science. You make a hypothesis, but until you prove your hypothesis with data and results, it is invalid and useless.

Traditional vs. Digital

I believe that a reader could easily create a hypothesis, compare themes, words and references without the use of digital tools.  However, I strongly believe that with the help of digital tools, their speed, frequency lists, and visuals, can provide that extra bit of information that can take understanding and learning to entire new level. A computer or a digital tool, as we know, is smart, but not as smart as its user. Tools are full of flaws that can often taint our understanding if further investigation is not taken. In Warwick’s blog, she quotes Helen Chatergee who does work at UCL Museums and “suggests that when we handle real objects, different parts of our brains respond than when we see a digital surrogate”. It does not specify how the brain responds differently, but the fact that this quote states that it does, demonstrates that both digital tools and traditional reading used together could provide the most useful results. At least this way, our brains are responding differently to each method to gain a complete picture.


Works Cited

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

Warwick, Claire  http://clairewarwick.blogspot.ca/2012/01/inaugural-lecture.html


Eyes, Madness and Soul- TAPoR

For my last and final blog post, I cannot seem to hide my excitement about breaking my relationship with TAPoR. Our Hamlet and Ophelia type relationship is not a healthy one; it is filled with a lot of anger and resentment. It is really for the best that we part ways so we can live out our literary careers in peace and happiness. It is a good day. J

As it is my last blog, my team and I have decided to dissect Hamlet’s mental state. I have stated previously that Act 3 is where all the action happens and where most of the “is he crazy or not” debate occurs. In Act 1 Hamlet says he intends to put on an “antic disposition” but as the play progresses, the debate I struggle with is, “has he gone mad?”

This debate is a very iconic and most studied while reading Hamlet. That being said, I put TAPoR to work to see if we can pin point his madness and is downward spiral. When I ran searches for “madness” and “mad” in my concordance tool the words that surrounded the word were mainly questions about his madness. The main point I have picked out from my searches is that not only the reader is stumped by Hamlet’s madness but the characters are as well.

Another point of interest for me was that “madness” and “mad” was also fallowed by the word “soul”. This is my second step into the process, looking up “soul”, “heaven” and “devil” or any words of the like. This is search made me do a happy dance while my results were something completely unexpected. I found (or I’ll let TAPoR get the credit for this one) that madness and mad is fallowed by soul. A HUGE point of interest for me since, mental health or any type of health care, came after Shakespeare’s time. Madness is linked to soul, which is linked to devil or heaven, which is linked back to madness. Yes, I know… a lot of links to fallow but once you are on a roll, you just, well, roll.

Since I am on a roll now I keep pulling at the treads and it is going somewhere fantastic!!! (This needs a second happy dance). From what I already know from my previously taken history classes, is that mental health was seen as a foreign entity that possessed the body. It was not commonly believed that a person had problems with his head or was sick, it was another entity disrupting ones body. The line that doesn’t speak it clearer is, “…madness. There is something in his soul…”

Another link between soul and madness is eyes. This word is used 7 times within the act and for me that is significant. Most of us hear the saying that the “eyes are the window to the soul” and by my research I think Shakespeare was playing with that saying. I found it extremely fascinating that “eyes” came up during Act 3 scene 4. This part of the act is when I actually think Hamlet breaks into real madness, and the eyes are used over and over while he is talking to Gertrude.

After weeks of work, blood, sweat and tears I can say I did learn a lot from this experience. Going into a class where computers play a main role was terrifying to say the lease but on the other hand extremely rewarding after my nerves have calmed down. My last search did show me that it is a lot easier and quicker doing these searches by a computer then by hand. That being said, I still am working on at least getting on a friends status with TAPoR. Enjoy

To be or not to be Insane?

The concept for our Phase 2 Presentation has been finalized!

Our game plan for the group meetings was to come up with themes within Act 3 which we could use our individual tools to analyze; from these themes, we would choose the one major subject which all of our tools would be able to analyze effectively. During our first few group meetings we came up with different themes that occurred throughout Act 3 of Hamlet; amongst these were: the relationship Hamlet has with Ophelia, Hamlet’s mannerisms towards the female characters: Gertrude and Ophelia, and Hamlet’s madness. Being a self-proclaimed relationship analyst (credentials still pending), I was hoping to do an analysis of the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet. After some work with our tools, we felt that it would be best to work with Hamlet’s madness. Luckily, we did spend some time analyzing the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet, which I will be using for my final blog post in Phase Three.

Madness is a thought-provoking concept because how can one truly categorize who is actually insane and who’s not? At some point in our lives have we not acted insane in some way? One could say that everyone is insane when it comes to a certain aspect in their life, the only difference is that we all vary in our insanity; some insane quirks are accepted, others aren’t. Our objective is to find out whether Hamlet is truly mad, or if his “insanity” is just quirk in his personality that he intensifies for his own purposes. To find the answer, I asked myself the following questions:

  • What is insanity?
  • How does Hamlet behave which makes others believe he is mad? Are there certain parts of his speech that indicate he is insane?
  • What are some of the factors that can be attributed to his insanity?
  • Can his behavior just be a cause of his anger/sadness of everything that has occurred in his life so far?
  • What role does the ghost play in Hamlet’s insanity?

Through our group projects and this class in general, I have learned that you cannot possibly do an analysis, a decent analysis that does justice to the author’s writing, with just the tools. The questions listed above cannot easily be found by just using WordHoard; it would only be a complete analysis if I used other methods as well as WordHoard to make a solid conclusion on Hamlet’s madness. For my analysis I combined WordHoard, a close reading analysis of the text and my favorite site of all time, YouTube. I won’t share my final conclusion yet for I’ll save it for our presentation! Instead I will share some of my results which I found quite intriguing.

Through the use of YouTube, I found countless clips of Act 3; some made by professionals and others made by high school students for their English projects. After watching a couple of videos I found that this clip of act 3.4, showed the point that I was working towards. In the video, Hamlet (I found it funny that he is blonde in this clip as I have always imagined him to have black hair!) is agitated and angry, irrational when he kills Polonius and overall in a fit of passion. If you were to remove the seed of doubt already placed in our head that questions Hamlet’s sanity, you could easily compare this to when any sane rational person has a fit of passion and acts deranged; does this mean that the person is insane because they had a moment of madness? It might be that Hamlet is suffering from a moment of madness; albeit the moment becomes a series of ‘moments’ in the play. Can ones sanity be judged by their behavior when they feel like they are in a whirlwind of emotions?

This idea helped me think of what I wanted to uncover through the use of my tool. Using WordHoard, I decided to search for words used in Hamlet, specifically Act 3, which would explain what madness is. Obviously my first search word would be madness itself. The following are some of my findings:

  • The word madness is said eight times by Hamlet, most of which were spoken in Act 3. Compared to all of Shakespeare’s plays, this is the most times any character has ever used the word.
  • In line 144, Hamlet says “That not your trespass, but my madness speaks” but then in line 185 he contradicts himself and says “That I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft”. Both lines, said in scene 4, portray this dual persona of Hamlet; one that is mad, and one that isn’t.

This isn’t enough evidence to declare whether Hamlet is indeed insane, but it gives us a starting point to develop the idea that maybe Hamlet isn’t mad. Our group’s conclusion on the matter will be discussed during our presentation which we look forward to. For now I wish you the reader all the best of luck in your search of Hamlet.

“All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.”
Ambrose Bierce

Digimon and Divination?

It is a grey day. Warm with snowflakes like glitter. Someone down the hall seems to be having a workroom party, which they are all quite content with; you can just tell by the laughter. But we are instead lost in a different world; a digital world, if you will. One with so much information compiled and cross-linked that it encompasses the realm of human experience, and encodes the most significant events, works, and experiences as data. It is a place where you can indulge in the works of a man who lived in the 1600’s, and divine new secrets 400 years later. When you really think about it, it is fantastic; unbelievable almost.
Yet, at the same time it is another new day in the Humanities, and a lot of planning done. Today was devoted to pre-project-planning (say that three times fast). Although there were not too many new discoveries, there was the exploration and expansion of the old ones. Monk; of course, is a mining tool, meaning that the more you work the more you will discover. As is, I have been finding more uses for the NaiveBayes and decision tree tools. They might be unconventional, and a little hit-or-miss, but the results are pretty exciting!
In the classification tool you can find NaiveBayes. Under which you load your worksets and rate them. I found that rating each scene with a theme will give me the words that make the predicted theme true or false. Thus, searching for confirmation of the theme “madness,” elicits words that have some cryptic connection with that theme. Such as the word “armour,” which has to do with the armour of the mind… From there, you have to make some good old fashion English major connections and argue your findings; something that we are all experts at. My idea is that the armour of the mind refers to its sanity.. which is slowly broken down by lies. Etc.
Anyway, you get the point. This is what my program is best at in comparison to the other programs. They have the frequency, concordance, and description tools, but this seems to be a unique feature of Monk. The biggest question now is if it can be useful enough to present. That is the question for next time.

The words are supposed to be suggestive in conjunction to "madness"

It is not the most succinct method of analysis, but there is still time to work with it, and it does prove to be interesting every time. For example, “black” appears five times in Act 3, and it is always in a very negative context:

Results for "Black"

In case you were wondering about the title and the bit of writing at the beginning, it just occurred to me that the premise of one of my absolute favourite childhood shows has an abstract relation to the Digital Humanities. That show was Digimon (I know, I know), where an alternate dimension that housed a world made in the image of the earth, with fictional-type-monster inhabitants existed. If you know the show you might remember that the digital world was created by the compilation of data that is stored in computers and over the internet. First the foundations were laid, and “Over the ensuing years, through the continued growth of the electronic communications network on Earth, the Digital World continued to expand and grow,” (http://digimon.wikia.com/wiki/Digital_World) It’s a little bit silly, but it is an accurate depiction of not only the information amassed on the internet, but of the Digital Humanities itself, which must hold significant portions of the literature that shapes the world we live in. Literature is made in the image of the earth and of human experience, and the characters that inhabit it are in the image of its creatures. The depth that it reaches to is too far to count. It is too far a stretch to say that the universe of data is alternate to the universe of reality?
Just a thought.

Where does the world end and data begins?

WAIT! We still have so much more to learn!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Othello vs. Act 3 Hamlet

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

Full Othello

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

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

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


Marry, this’ miching malicho; it means mischief.

This is easily one of my favourite lines in any Shakespeare play. Why? Because the words befit the meaning in a style that is all their own. And I cannot hlp but thinking that is Shakespeare himself knew that twenty-five young adults were set free with the power of technology to analyze his plays, he might think that a mischief all its own.
In our own little sect of madness we got off to a bumpy start. We were all “masters” of our respective programs, but how do we compare them? How can we link each advantage and rate the,. How many of the tools overlap in use? And what becomes overshadowed by a newer, better tool?
Most of all, how can we find out?
We needed a common ground. Something inside Hamlet that every person can indentify. Which is of course madness, something every hard-working university student has met with at least once, but besides all that it is a theme within Hamlet that everyone will decipher differently. Is he sane and acting? Is he crazy from the start? Is he driven mad by his own efforts? Hamlet will always be a mystery so long as space-time continues.

Where we are now:
Since we had a goal in mind, we were able to find the means. Within different programs frequency searches, Naive Bayes, concordance searches, “described as” searches have all proved useful. We are able to track down suggestive words through Naive Bayes, and then put them into other searches to divine meanings. The other cool thing that we have been finding is the ability to compare Hamlet to other Shakespeare tragedies. “Madness” appears in Hamlet 22 times! The next most frequent is probably Romeo and Juliet at 11 times. That is a huge jump. So we know that Hamlet is focused on madness, now we just need to find subtle hints, recurring themes and general meanings that can help to indicate the true madness of Hamlet, or the play he puts on for everyone.

The uniqueness of our Act has been comig out slowly as well. We know (not necessarily because of the digital humanities) that our Act contains much of the most important action in the play. The “To Be or Not To Be,” speach appears, as well as “Get thee to a nunnery,” the play performed for Claudius, the confrontation of Gertrude, the murder of Polonius, etc! There is simply a ton of stuff to research and a lot to discover.
Most importantly for next time we must study:
The use of “poison in the ear” as a metaphor.
Any reference to the mind such as:

Every instance that describes a character as “mad.”
And really anything else we can think of.
So that is about it for past 1 of Phase 2. We have a strong Act 3 team, with only a few hiccups,and some illness 🙁 and hopefully there will be more success to report on the next post. Right now there are just to many questions! It’s pretty amazing what we can do though. What has taken minutes on MONK or voyeur, etc, would have taken months in the traditional way. Could you imagine going through every Shakespeare tragedy and noting the use of the words: “mad” or “madness?” It sounds crazy, and yet that is what the creators of these programs have done for us. We are grateful 🙂

Flushing Out a Thesis and Scalar Searches: Part 1

I’ve been wondering recently how I’m going to approach my final blog post, or final paper, for this class. I’m not sure what kind of questions I could be asking that would be important enough that it could make up an essay of up to 2500 words. It’s a daunting enough task to come up with a paper this big, but it also counts for a huge chunk of my grade, a chunk of a size I care not to see.

Thinking on what subject I could come up with I thought to simply build on the work I’ve done so far. This idea seemed simple enough, so I went on to look at the blog site and look back at and read my blogs again. Now, for those who’ve not seen my blog posts I’ve written a blog on the relations search in Wordseer, a blog describing the problems wordseer faces and things that can remedie them, and a blog describing the limiting aspects of in which contexts you look at a tool and how that affects the results you get.

Now, the idea behind this last blog post really interests me as a possible starting point for finding an argument to make in my last blog post. So now, through all the rest of my posts I’ll flesh this idea out a little bit more so that I can be prepared for my final paper / post / phase 3.

In Hamlet I’ve begun to experiment with this idea. I’ve searched the word ‘die’ in two different collections of documents of varying sizes. I start in the context of Act 3, Scene 1, which includes Hamlet’s “to be, or not to be” speech.

 Searching Hamlet 3.1 with Wordseer

In this scene I found 4 results, which does not offer a very wide opinion of how death and dying is viewed by Hamlet. Instead, this offers a result very specific to the point in time that Hamlet is saying these things. In this case, the results for death show that they are used with the word sleep twice. This is very useful for generating hypotheses or finding points to inspect heavily within Hamlet, but that is not the point here. For now it’s enough to know that these two uses of ‘sleep’ are used in Hamlet’s ‘to be, or not to be’ speech and give a clue as to how Hamlet is viewing death at the time he is giving the speech.

Now, I’ve searched this same word in the larger context of Hamlet, the play, as a whole, and I’ve come up with 17 results.


It is important to note that besides the fact that there are more results, and therefore more views on the word itself, there are far more varied results. These results can be used effectively to flesh out the views of death that Hamlet, the play, portrays with ease and with more accuracy. These varied results show more of a varied view of the play. Showing more aspects of the particular personality of the play allows someone to better and more easily come to understand the play.

Now, I’ve done more searches on the play than this, but I’ve run out of time to analyze them, instead I intend to come back to this subject in my next blog and I’ll better explain some of the differences that I’ve found while looking at different scales of a search.

Honest and Virtue, That is the Question- TAPoR

I may have spoken too soon when I have say TAPoR and I were friends. It obviously did not cherish our relationship as much as I have because since last post it is making my life miserable again. I am starting to feel like TAPoR and I have a Hamlet Ophelia type relationship. It works well when it is one on one, but when I need results for my group work, it plays hard to get. Therefore, by the end of term I may be singing odd songs and handing out flowers as well.

This week, and for this blog post, my group and I have decided to look at Hamlet’s and Ophelia’s relationship and what their relationship means to them. Their relationship has always been of interest to me because of how Ophelia is a pawn within a scheme set out by her father and Claudius. My first step is not by using the program, I am old school and I need to read the act with a pen in one hand and sticky notes in the other. I think that will be a hard habit for me to break, and it may take years to break it, if at all. After entirely reading Act 3, I pulled out the thematic cluster’s I saw and wanted to have a closer look at them. That’s where good ol’ TAPoR came in to play.

When reading the act, I came across that honest/honesty was used interchangeably with virtue/virtuous. That being said, I also noticed that Shakespeare used honest and virtue as a connotation to virginity. So TAPoR played a huge role in listing how many times and when honest and honesty was used. Yes, TAPoR worked at that time, but unfortunately, I did not receive the same results on each tool I used.

Highlighter tool gave me this for honest…

And this for honesty….

Concordance gave me these results..

So the results are not even close to being the same, which makes me frustrated and itching to go through the entire act with a highlighter and my own eyes again. After taking deep breaths and deciding that I will look at the different word and hope my results are more consistent, I looked at virtue, virtues, and virtuous. That just wanted to make me chuck my lap top at a wall or just sit and cry in a corner. My results were more inconsistent then when I looked at honest.

Highlighter gave me….

Concordance gave me this…

Yes, that is a blank page and an error message. I truly thought TAPoR were passed the error message stage but on the happy note, that’s an error message I have not received before. So I guess TAPoR is still keeping me on my toes on what results or error messages I will get.

After my miniature melt down, I asked my group members to use there tools and send me the results for virtue, virtues, and virtuous. Again, none of the results are the same.

Between the other tools we got these results…

With the second post of phase 2 almost done I am glad that I am getting results. On the other hand, I am extremely frustrated that using TAPoR my results that I am getting are not consistent. I am even more frustrated that none of the other tools gave me the same results. At can just hope that these programs will convince me that a pen and highlighter is old school, and this is the new way. That is still to be seen…

I had an epiphany :)

I have finally gained some greater insight to the benefits of text analysis tools. While referring to my first blog post from phase two last week, it was evident that I was struggling with the XML file. I tried again to figure out how Tapor works, but no such luck. So, after devoting hours and developing what feels like carpal tunnel, act 3 is completely hand edited.  Thank God Voyeur can do the rest of my work for me.

Let me say before I begin, that while being in English 205 last semester with professor Ullyot, I read Hamlet for the first time. I gained a surface level understanding. In attempt to analyze the text, In September, we flipped page by page, act by act while attempting to determine if Hamlet really was mad. Talk about old school. It wasn’t until this semester in 203, when I began to deeply analyze Hamlet with the help of Voyeur, that I gained all these great insights into the text. I just think it is amazing how a program is capable of analyzing the text, while bringing words, and other thought provoking ideas to the table. Sorry for the rant, but I am just amazed at my process of learning that these tools have evoked.

Now to be begin..

Act 3 is huge. We have the “to be or not to be” speech, Hamlet and Ophelia explore their relationship, some Guildenstern, Rosencrantz, Claudius, Gertrude, the players and the Mousetrap. In other words a lot of changes are made and a lot of drama begins. My first thought was revenge. Where does revenge appear in act 3? Well apparently not much. A total of 6 different times (revenge, revenged, revengeful). Not all that useful at this point. Today was a day in our meeting, where none of our programs could agree on the amount of times ANY word showed up.  In order to stay consistent, I put my faith in Voyeur.

Moving on, to begin the group focused on analyzing Hamlet and Ophelia’s relationship. There were two reasons for that:

  1. To define their relationship
  2. So we could determine on the same level, what each tool really could add to the analysis

Love was a word that was used 23 times between all of the characters appearing in act three. While concentrating on the scene where Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery, Voyeur also picked up on the words honest and fair. However, Hamlet uses these worlds much differently than we do today.

Oxford Dictionary DefinitionÂ

I took the instances where honest and fair appeared and compared them while looking at their context. Since the box inside Voyeur is so tiny, i moved my information to word.

Copy and pasted honesty and fair side by side to compare

It was not until I looked further into Hamlet’s word choices, that I realized how often Hamlet used honest and fair. I have found recently that Hamlet constantly reiterates words as a way to either get answers from someone or to prove a point. Mad/madness is another instance in 3.4, where he keeps hanging on to this idea in order to prove to both his mother and himself that he is not mad. Hamlet’s unwillingness to stop hanging off ideas seems to be one of the biggest give aways to his ‘madness’.

Prior to analyzing Hamlet with the tools, I believed Hamlet had many reasons to act the way he acted. I never wanted to connect his actions to the assumption that he was mad. Again, with the help of the tools, by simply just analyzing Hamlet’s word choices and crazy tangents, its has become more clear than ever that Hamlet is mad. He is always scheming, and diverting his emotions off on to other characters.

Although Hamlet continues to treat Ophelia in a way less than what one would expect, it is interesting to see that Ophelia maintains her respect for him. After Hamlet makes a scene with the honest and fair ordeal, he starts up again and tells Ophelia “I did love you once”. Through the majority of the scene, Ophelia maintains her cool while using God and “sweet heaven” as external powers to ‘help’ Hamlet. Although she is concerned by his actions and words, she never turns on Hamlet or begins to treat him of a lesser value.

In order to further analyze Ophelia and Hamlet’s relationship, the extractor tool from Tapor would be very useful in separating these relationships from the rest of the play.


I’ve always wondered whether we over analysis texts; so much that we make premises and conclusions which maybe the author had no conscious thought of evoking in the minds of his or her readers. Take for example the meme above (Yes, I am a shameless follower of the University of Calgary memes on Facebook!). Could we possibly be reading too much into Hamlet’s speech or the color of Gertrude’s dress when Hamlet verbally abuses her in Act 3.4? Maybe Hamlet saying “to be or not to be” simply meant to be or not to be.

As I start off my analysis in the second phase of our group projects, this thought reoccurs in my head once more. What if Shakespeare, who is considered an undisputed genius of his time, had no deeper meaning to his works but wrote his lines solely for the sake of giving a voice to his characters? Is he lounging on a lazyboy in some other world, laughing at our struggle to analyze his plays?

This brings me to my second thought; would any text be worth reading if you didn’t have to use at least half of your brain to analyze the plot, characters, moods and settings? Maybe the author didn’t have a specific reason to make her protagonist wear blue all the time; but does this really matter? I feel that analyzing allows us to give life to the characters we are reading about; we feel connected to them because we have tried to understand them. Without analysis, words would just be words; insignificant and not worth remembering. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice so many times that now I can start reading from any part in the book and still feel comfortable with my knowledge of the plot. This wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t analysis Mr. Darcy’s reactions to Elizabeth’s remarks or Elizabeth’s conversations with Jane. Analyzing is the reason you feel engaged enough to finish a book, play or poem and in turn enjoy the experience.

Coming back to the realm of Hamlet, I have been assigned Act 3, which in my opinion is the trigger of the action that proceeds after Hamlet confronts his mother in scene 4. I find that from all of the characters in Hamlet, Ophelia is the one that I would like to better understand. This statement might sound odd for why would someone choose to do an analysis on Ophelia’s submissive and mostly predictable character when the analysis of Hamlet, good old crazy Hamlet, or the mercenary Claudius would prove to be more interesting? It’s because Ophelia is that submissive woman character that usually has a part in most of Shakespeare’s plays; it makes one wonder what the reason is for her to be that way. For my final Blog post in phase 3, I plan to do a character analysis of Ophelia using WordHoard.

Oh WordHoard, my old friend. Once again I find myself having to use WordHoard but this time it is to analyze all of Act 3 and I must say, this time around it is much easier than I expected. Maybe it’s because I’ve (1) suddenly acquired a talent which enables me to understand WordHoard, (2) have such low expectations of the program that even the slightest successes are magnified or (3) it’s just easier to analyze a whole Act rather than just a scene (I’m hoping for number 1!). My group members and I have decided to start off with a general theme which all of us will analyze using our individual tools. Seeing as I had to dissect Gertrude’s and Hamlets relationship in Phase 1, I was quite happy that this time we would look at Hamlet’s behavior and feelings towards Ophelia. As I plan to do a character study of Ophelia I find that this will be a great starting point for starting my research. As for our progress in Phase 2, we are still working on achieving the same results from all of the tools; a task which isn’t going too well. I had written in my older blog posts that the use of all five tools to analyze a text will be more beneficial because the shortcomings that one tool has can be filled in by another tool. I still hold true to this statement and hope (cross my fingers) that our research is indeed more insightful than that of Phase 1.

Third Time the Charm

Going into the second phase, I feel more at ease then my first couple forays into the blogging universe/ the digital humanities world. I am excited to see how these tools will work together and how we can implement all our tools on our specified act of Hamlet. I was pleasantly surprised that my group was given Act Three of Hamlet, which, in all honesty is where all the “good stuff” happens. This act has the “get tee to a nunnery” scene, the play in which Claudius is called out for the murder of King Hamlet, and my favorite, the killing of Polonius(3.1.120). If it was up to me, he would be a goner a lot earlier but the “O, I am slain” makes up for the long awaited death(3.4.24).

The learning curve this semester has been immense, especially due to the fact that I have been thrown into a world I knew nothing about. Since my last post, I tried out running TAPoR on a different server, and the class was right, FireFox is WAY better then safari. My other newest finding is, that TAPoR is way friendlier when using XML. (Whatever that is).  For some reason I find that it is very picky when it comes to file type. I have been gaining a lot of new information about TAPoR, I had become friends with TAPoR. Being friends and working on our relationship together is going to help immensely when it comes to this phase. My mantra is now, “ I will be a fully functioning and capable member of my team”.

Going into this phase, I believe my tool will be the jumping off spot for the rest of the tools. I can do things like Highlighter, and CAPS finder that can help by pulling out certain themes easier then the rest. After talking to my group, I also realized that my extractor tool will come in VERY handy (that one tool still does not want to give in to my newly acquired computer skills). We also figured out that the extractor tool is the only tool that can break up the different speeches of different characters from all of the tools we have to our disposal.

There is not much I can say beside that; I am looking forward to working all our tools into Hamlet. I finally see the sun and feel that this go around is going to be much less frustrating and more rewarding. It might just be spring or end of semester or both but TAPoR and I can be friends.

My group and I have not had very much time in regards to figuring what new information we want to pull out of our act in Hamlet. So instead of me posting questions and queries I would like to research, I will post screen caps of TAPoR and I working together! YAY!




Naive and Decisive actually sums up a lot of MONK!

Phase 2, and a new light… hopefully.

Being the expert on MONK is a tough job. Luckily the bond that comes from quizzically hitting buttons and keys for 9 hours is not an easy one to break. My project screen looks well used and familiar-

The results go on and on. Do we know what all of them mean? Not really 🙂 but we like them.

Meeting the new group in person really revealed how much the other groups liked or disagreed with their tools as well, and the hope is that what one tool lacks, the others will fill. So far we have had an easy time agreeing on regulations and sharing stories, so things are looking good for acing this presentation in a different way than the first, (though my phase one group was completely amazing, and I will miss them).

As for MONK – let’s just say not much has changed, except – the Act! Act 3 is my personal favourite act. Insanity, insults, murder, confrontation, blood, more ghosts, and much more! Really though, it just always seems like the most action packed of all the Acts!
Monk is doing its best to help me support this idea. The word “madness” shows up nine times alone in this Act! Although I did discover a slight annoyance again. I could not get the program to look through a whole act, only through the scenes. So far this is only in “Edit Worksets,” so it could just be a glitch.

Other words that show up quite a bit? Time which shows up 10 times, and “Heaven” shows up 10 times! “Action” – 6. “Go” – 17. Death and murdrer show up quite a bit too, but or course the words pertaining to the future, and action-y words show up more often, which at the very least could tell us that this Act appears in the middle of the play.

I had a very cool discovery too! In the classification tool with NaiveBayes and Decision tree (which you either understand or you do not, there is not much in between) I was able to load my Act 3 workset, which features each scene of act 3 as a different document meaning I can compare them! This is perfect for this Phase!

I rated each act as either comedy or tragedy:

As you can see, scene 1 and 2 have slightly comedic tendencies, and scene 3, being of course about sending a man to heaven or hell, is not a comedy at all… and scene 4 is an absolutely confirmed tragedy, go figure. Anyway, I think this is brilliant! Let us continue…

Now all I have changed is scene 3 from comedy to tragedy:

This is amazing because it seems like Naive Bayes uses the document as points of comparison. Scene 1 is supposed to be less of a comedy than before if scene 3 is a strong tragedy. That makes sense! In conjunction with plotting the murder or the “King,” the word “King” in the first scene seems to be associated with much deeper, darker meanings… Intriguing…

I could honestly go on about this forever, but I doubt every one of my findings would be as interesting for everyone. In summary this just means that I have a way to directly look at all of the scenes together, and that is worth a lot! Anyway, our self assigned homework for the weekend was to read all of each other’s blog posts, and see what we deduce from them, what would work with each other’s programs, etc. The hope is that through self-education we will have a breakthrough in compatibility capabilities… if that makes any sense. I am looking forward to exploring more of my new discovery, and am really going to think about how it can help my group members; that is my self assigned homework for the week. At the very least I can show off my new discovery next time and hope that they think it is as cool as I do.

Until next time, Kelsey ^.^

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.

I am slowly going crazy 654321 switch!

I had it easy, but I guess this is where my struggles begin. I don’t think I have hit any level of frustration dealing with these tools until now! I remember back in phase one, my biggest struggles was attempting to figure out how to log in to this blog business and post. Here it begins..

To begin I pasted in the XML file and expected to have some misleading information because Voyeur needs to have characters speaking split from characters names mentioned, as well as stage directions removed. I struggled a bit, attempting to copy all of act 3 into Microsoft word to edit it (LOL). What a mistake that was. I am sorry but 60 pages of editing is not going to happen. What was I thinking?

I know that Tapor has a tool that does this; however, after spending two hours reading phase one blog posts from the team, and also messing around with the Tapor tool, I was unsuccessful in my mission. I was however able to figure out how to separate speakers. Unfortunately I could only get Gertrude’s lines to work and she really only appears in 3.4 (which ALSO keeps including itself in our analysis of 3 to 3.3).

I was also able to figure out how to use the tool from Tapor that counts the caps. I think this is a really unique and useful tool, especially since it is able to pull out names that one would not think to search. For example Jove or God.

Although I learned some great things and not so great things about Tapor, Voyeur is my tool. I am forced at this moment to work with what I have, and what I already know. Until these issues can be ironed out, unfortunately I am using it as it is. I feel like the majority of the tools could be used as a starting point, while Voyeur will be one of the tools used towards the end in order to further our analysis. Therefore, I’ve concluded that my hypothesis to begin analyzing act 3, should be basic, while excluding anything to do with characters specifically (until I can get my issues fixed).

The word cloud! Hamlet is appearing in the biggest font. Thank god. Something is cooperating with me this afternoon.


Working off of the word cloud, love was quite a large word. Love appeared 28 times, while loves and loved appeared once.  This started to make me think about how the word love is used and how it changes throughout act 3 by all characters. This would also be neat to try it with other commonly used words! I found it interesting that “loved” was appearing towards the beginning. The word “loved” is past tense, meaning that Hamlet once did love.  The combination of the words love and loves appear later, but by doing so, it demonstrates a change in feelings.  If Tapor was cooperating with me, I could simply use just Hamlet’s line to analyze how his feelings change from his famous “to be or not to be” speech, to his confrontation with his mother in 3.4. Another tool that is capable of searching for synonyms or even lemmas to determine words similar to love would be useful as well.


When paralleling my tool to other tools, I think Voyeur excels in the ability to do comparisons. I was never one for the frequency charts or graphs, but I can see now how useful these aspects will be for phase 2. There are SO many other avenues that can be explored in act 3, that I didnt know where to begin. Act 3 is where a lot of drama begins and because of that, Ive been super overwhelmed! On top of this feeling of being overwhelmed, my tool has been giving me more problems than ever! Like i mentioned before, until I sit down and find ways to solve my issues, I am kind of at a stand still.

The End of Things: WordHoard Presentation

For our group analysis of Act 3.4 we decided the best way to go about was to pick an overall subject in the scene and then divide that into specific questions. Each group member was assigned one question that she was responsible for analyzing. The end result would be the group members combining their results to give an overall analysis of our main subject; the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude. Phase One gave us great insight into our tool as well as the other tools. Can’t wait to use multiple tools in Phase Two!

Click here WordHoard to view the PowerPoint we used during our presentation. Cheers!

WordHoard: Meant for Something Bigger

When I first started using WordHoard, I was excited. Who wouldn’t be when it came to using a program with so many possibilities? As I mentioned in my previous blog, WordHoard has numerous functions which break down even further to other functions which give very specific results for analyses. This concept of subdividing from a major function was implemented into our group analysis.

Our group took the broad question: what is Hamlet’s relationship with Gertrude and came up with more specific questions which each group member would analysis using WordHoard. I took on the task of analyzing the question; does Hamlet blame Gertrude for the murder of his father? My initial plan was to search Hamlets speech for words and phrases which show resentment towards Gertrude and phrases where Hamlet tries to make Gertrude feel guilty for what had transpired between the king and Claudius. This line of thought was not easy to analyze.

Before I list my endless problems with WordHoard, I will begin by explaining what the main purpose of WordHoard is; the collection of words. WordHoard is great for someone who is searching for the amount of times Hamlet says love or the number of times Ophelia uses the term madness. This is great for someone who is analyzing different plays of Shakespeare and comparing the results of the two, but it doesn’t compare just the one act or scene from the play; this my friends, is one of my major limitations.

While doing my research I tried unsuccessfully to analyze Hamlets speech in 3.4; this was unsuccessful because WordHoard either (1) takes the reference play and compares it to another Shakespeare book or (2) compares the wording throughout the one play. I believe that our program would be great if we took Hamlet and compared it to Romeo and Juliet or Othello. Trying to compare the tone change within the one scene is unfortunately unavailable.

Going back to my research, I decided to see how many times Hamlet actually uses the term mother when referring to Gertrude; the result wasn’t very insightful for my purposes. Instead of the information I was looking for I got the following data for the historical occurrence of mother in all of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

WordHoard is a great program for people who want to search up a specific word and compare it between two separate texts. It will easily show which words are nouns and verbs or when they were first used; unluckily it will not explain why the character uses the word or the tone in which he delivers his lines. In order to start my analysis I had to look up the lines I wanted to study from my text and then search them up on WordHoard.

WordHoard is still, at least in my view, a great program which should be used for broader research. In phase 2 I believe our program will be more effective when we must analysis the entire text.



Moving Forward With WordHoard

Blogging, in my mind, has always been an activity that is done individually.  It is a way to express one’s thoughts and opinions to the world and in turn allows people to respond.  This is why taking on blogging assignments as a team is a tricky and new experience for all of us!  I have to be thinking about how my individual blog post can contribute to the overall findings of the group. The subjects I choose to talk about in my blog posts should be interconnected with my 4 other group members’ posts in order to create some consistency in the team’s results.  In order to achieve this, my team decided to focus our analysis on one main subject.  The subject we chose to analyze in Hamlet 3.4 was the nature of the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude.  We each picked an aspect of 3.4 that could potentially tell us something new about the mother/son relationship of Hamlet and Gertrude, and are attempting to use WordHoard to help us obtain new understanding on this subject.  Heavy on the word attempt.  Once we have all analyzed our individual parts, we plan on bringing our findings back together and smoothing it out into one cohesive idea.

The aspect of Hamlet and Gertrude’s relationship that I am using WordHoard to help me analyze is whether or not Gertrude really believed Hamlet was mad.  How did Gertrude react to Hamlet when he began speaking to the ghost?  Did Gertrude know the ghost was there, or did she really believe her son is crazy?

WordHoard, in all honesty, doesn’t do a whole lot in comparison to some of the other tools.  Its main function is to look up word frequency and shows you when the words and their lemmas are used.  Since my initial experience with WordHoard, I have made an intentional effort to be more careful with my word searches.  I talked a lot in my last blog post about how irritating it was that every time I wanted to change a little part of my search, I had to start over from scratch.  By being more careful and specific with my queries this time around, I’ve managed to save a bit of time while submitting information.

The relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude in 3.4 is very complex.  But because Polonius was only present for the first few lines of the scene, it made it easier to make inferences from my WordHoard searches because I knew most of the results would be from conversation between Hamlet and his mother (with the exception of the Ghost’s lines) and so I didn’t have to be as specific with my search.

My first instinct was to search for the word “mad”. This yielded one result in 3.4, a line in which Gertrude blatantly states “Alas, he’s mad.” as soon as the Ghost enters and Hamlet begins speaking to him.

This line alone makes it fairly clear that Gertrude believes her son is crazy.  WordHoard found the word, gave me the exact line from which it came and also gave me the context.  What I do wish WordHoard could do that other tools can is to search for synonyms.  By searching a word such as mad, I also could have found places that Gertrude continues to question her son’s sanity.  For example, when she tells Hamlet “upon the heat and flame of thy distemper sprinkle cool patience!”, distemper means to have an unbalanced mind.  This would be a synonym for mad.

Another thing I decided to search was the ratio of words Hamlet says compared to Gertrude.  WordHoard doesn’t require you to enter an actual word to incur results, instead you can simply ask it how many words a certain speaker says in a certain scene and it can retrieve a number for you (however it can take a long time loading).


Gertrude spoke 303 words in 3.4, and Hamlet spoke 1343 words.

In my own personal opinion, if I were having a conversation with someone whom I believed to be crazy, I wouldn’t be saying very much either.  This extreme ratio that WordHoard have given us could argue that in Gertrude’s eyes, Hamlet was rambling on and on, talking to “ghosts”, and just not making a whole lot of sense so she stayed fairly quiet.

I know there are several theories floating around saying that maybe Gertrude just didn’t want to see the Ghost, and maybe Hamlet wasn’t actually crazy.  But from what I can see from the few examples that WordHoard has given me, I do think Gertrude feared the sanity of her son.  WordHoard paired with some other tools could really allow this theory to be analyzed deeper, and I look forward to being able to do such things when we get to Phase 2 in the semester.

Using the List Words Tool to Begin Anlyzing Act 3.4

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

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

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

Tool Broker Window for List Words

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

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

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

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

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

Gertrude’s Lines from Act 3.4

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

Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.

Why, how now, Hamlet!

Have you forgot me?

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

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

O me, what hast thou done?

O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

As kill a king!

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

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

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

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

Alas, he’s mad!

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

To whom do you speak this?

Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.

No, nothing but ourselves.

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

O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

What shall I do?

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

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

Hamlet’s Lines from Act 3.4



Now, mother, what’s the matter?

Mother, you have my father much offended.

Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.

What’s the matter now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How is it with you, lady?

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

Do you see nothing there?

Nor did you nothing hear?

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

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

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

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

I must to England; you know that?

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

WordHoard: overcoming the adversity

Sweet are the uses of adversity, which like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

How better to describe my experience of using Word Hoard to analyze Hamlet, then to use the words of Shakespeare himself? Although I, as well as my group members, faced some difficulties when trying to use WordHoard, the results were worth it.

One major grievance for myself was that every time I wanted to connect to WordHoard, I got the following message.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I could open the program after the second, third, maybe even the fourth time, but unfortunately I wasn’t that lucky. I did finally get to the database but only after I (1) uninstalled WordHoard, (2) downloaded it once again and (3) saw the above message two more times. By this point I wasn’t very happy with the WordHoard creators.

Once I finally connected to the database and chose my literary text and Act, I found that I was completely and utterly lost. Although I had attended the workshop on WordHoard and even read the “Getting Started” article, I had no idea where to start. Word Hoard has countless options when it comes to analyzing a text; so many that one would almost prefer having a program that’s limited but more straight forward and easy to manage.

My original objective was to analyze Hamlet’s anger towards his mother by finding a difference in his speech when they are alone or in public with others. My thoughts were that his true emotions would be revealed by comparing the words he uses to describe his mother in Act 3 to other Acts. Instead what happened is that I got sidetracked by the many other functions of WordHoard.

One of them happened to be the function where you can take a word, any word, and find out how many times it comes up in Hamlet as well as other Shakespeare plays. I found this very interesting as I tried to figure out WordHoard. Unfortunately the occurrence of ducat was insignificant to my objective.

I’m quite happy that I got WordHoard as the program that I get to work with because regardless of some of its difficulties and my wandering thoughts, I believe our group will get interesting results from our analysis. Once I better understand the majority of the functions in WordHoard it will be a lot easier to direct my analysis.

Monk Workbench: Either the most simple or the most complicated tool in the Digital Humanities.

Kelsey Judd, First post.

Today was our first group confrontation of the program MONK.
It began well, with each member contributing what they had learned over the last week, and with all of us piecing together our separate knowledge to unravel the mysteries of the work tools. Within an hour we had discovered all the ins and outs of the program’s most useful components which I will try to explain: “Define Worksets” for finding concordances in lemmas or spelling, and “Compare” for finding frequency and Dunning’s analysis. Unfortunately soon after this we hit something like an impassible brick wall. Either due to out lack of experience or to something we cannot quite figure out in the program there does not seem to be all that much more to it beyond “Define” and “Compare,”…

The define feature is fairly straight forward once you realize one main point: it does not seem to keep an actual record of your “worksets.”

You can choose a tool on its own, or add a workset to work with.

We found that when you choose the “define worksets” tool it does not affect a tool if you choose a workset to go with it. Either way you come up with this page

It goes here whether you have a workset selected or not.

From here there are only two options. You can create a workset, which is basically searching Shakespeare’s works, or various works of American fiction and then saving your search and naming it. The second option is to search for lemmas, spelling or parts of speech; however, this does not seem to do anything. Whenever we try it, it will still ask you for which work you are searching in, even if you defined Hamlet or act 3.4 as your workset on the main work page or within the tool previously.

From this page, when you have selected Act 3, scene 4 comes a very simple little tool where you can search concordance. All you need is for the text to appear in the “advanced viewer” and to of course search on the concordance tab below it. Simple and straightforward. The only problem with this was that while it tells you all of the words or lemmas in which the word appears, and tells you how often they appear, it does not provide the speaker or location of the line, so it is mostly up to context. Now, I am sure there must be more to use in the define/edit worksets tools, but for some reason the five of us could not find it. Sounds like we still have a lot of exploring to do.

The other very useful tool is the “compare worksets” tool. It allows you to pull up specific texts, for example Hamlet as a whole, compared to just Act 3, scene 4.
It allows you to see the frequency or do a Dunning’s analysis of a word or a lemma, with the two variables being Shakespeare’s other works or works within a text. We found this works much better when used on a larger scale, such as comparing Hamlet to another play, or the whole of Shakespeare’s works.

Beware: the words on the far right run together sometimes, so you end up getting excited on finding the new word "actairbed."

As you can see the strange feature of this is that the words sometimes run together, so you think you have found a cool word: “actairbed,” when it’s really just the three close together. Amateur mistake of course. Clicking on the words will take you back to the spelling search and you will once again see the context and frequency with which they are used. The frequencies are quite a neat discovery, I think one of our next projects will be on how to use this tool to discover new and exciting themes in Hamlet act 3, scene 4.

End of the line?

Overall the experience with MONK has been a lot of trial and error, but rewarding when we do manage to find something new. The biggest problem we are having is the feeling that we are missing something crucial; we just seem to be going in circles. After upwards of three hours it may not seem like a lot, but has been quite a journey despite the time. Of course we will be pretty excited when we can successfully report back about new findings, most of all when we figure out how to save results… but for now figuring out the concordance and frequency tools has been rewarding.

Unlocking the Mystery That Is WordHoard

From my experience with learning how to use all of these digital humanities tools in Ullyot’s workshops, I found WordHoard to be one of the most straight-forward options. It has a simple interface and no extra flashy features.  While trying to come up with some sort of clever anecdote to start this blog post off with, I decided to take myself back to the actual WordHoard website to find more information about the tool.  One thing the site mentioned was what “WordHoard” actually means.  It turns out that the tool is named after an Old English phrase for “unlocked”.  I thought this was an extremely fitting name for the tool seeing as it almost feels like an intricate maze that needs the correct key to “unlock” answers in order to use it effectively.  Knowing how to correctly submit queries is like the “key” to the treasure.   Without the right knowledge of how to operate the tool, WordHoard can seem like a mysterious abyss filled with unreachable answers.

If you have a specific idea for something you want to find, Word Hoard allows you to fill in all of the criteria and run a search through any body of Shakespeare’s work (or the work of Chaucer, Spenser, and Early Greek Epic) to find an answer. This is a great asset to the tool because you have every text in its entirety right there in front of you to use if you need, without having to import any texts of your own.  All of the textual data stored in WordHoard is deeply tagged, allowing for people to explore their queries thoroughly. But the searches unfortunately don’t always come up with good results, and sometimes you end up with no results at all. You have to play around with the criteria until you can find something close to what you were looking for, and this can be limiting for the user if they cannot figure out how to properly enter their query.   The annoying thing about fiddling around with the query is that you have to restart every single time; you can’t just edit one part of it. For example, I tried to search for the amount of times Hamlet spoke about “love” in Act 3 Scene 4.  I wanted to see the amount of times he used it as a noun versus a verb.  So I entered the first query to look like this, selected “noun” first:

But my original search window disappears as soon as I click the “Find” button to give me the results, pictured below:

So in order to go back and see how many times Hamlet spoke of love as a verb in Act 3 Scene 4, I’d have to fill out the entire query again but this time selecting “verb”.  This tends to be very inconvenient if you’re trying to find answers quickly.

The interface of WordHoard includes a lot of drop down menus, which can lead you to exactly what you are looking for in a text query.  The one issue I find with the drop down menus is that there are just too many of them.  If I didn’t click on a certain menu, then I wouldn’t be led to numerous other options branching off of that one.  This is where the “mysterious abyss” description comes into play.  There are just so many ways to submit a query on WordHoard that it is difficult to know which ones to use and how to find them amongst the other options.  See the image below for an example of the numerous options WordHoard offers.  One can continuously click the “+/-“ buttons on the left hand side of the window and bring up more and more options, all of which have their own drop down menus to select from.  This can be very overwhelming for users to grasp if they are not already knowledgeable with the tool.

As you can see in the image above, the “Find Words” function allows you to submit a query on any word in Shakespeare’s texts.  You can select everything from the lemma down to the parts of speech, spelling, major word class, which specific work, the part of a specific work, author, publication year, narration or speech, speaker, speaker gender, prose or verse, or speaker mortality.

All in all, WordHoard has a lot of potential to be a very useful and effective tool when studying something such as Hamlet.  This important thing to remember about the tool is that you need to have a really good feel for its numerous menus and options so that you can effectively find the best answers possible for the queries you submit.  Otherwise, you will be wasting time restarting your query every time you want to fix one part of your search, which could prove to be a little frustrating!  In my opinion, it’s practice makes perfect with WordHoard.  The more you use it, the better results you will receive.



The Frustrations in the Process of Discovering TAPoR

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

List Words Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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