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'Shall I compare thee to a network?': Visualizing the Topological Structure of Shakespeare’s Plays

Rieck, Bastian ; Leitte, Heike

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Many of the plays of William Shakespeare are almost universally known and continue to be played even 400 years after his death. Although the plots of the plays are in general very different, scholars are still discussing similarities in their language, their structure, and many other aspects. In this paper, we demonstrate that visualization approaches may support such an analysis. The presence of machine-readable annotations for each of the plays permits us to construct a set of weighted networks. Every network describes co-occurrence relations between individual characters of a play; its weights may be used to indicate the importance of a connection between two characters, for instance. We subject the networks to a topology-based analysis that permits us to assess their structural similarity. Moreover, we use the dissimilarity values to obtain a topology-based embedding of all the plays. We then proceed to show how features in the dramatic structure of the play manifest themselves in the embedding. This paper is thus a first step towards a more in-depth analysis of the plays, demonstrating the benefits of topology-based visualizations for the digital humanities.

Item Type: Conference Item
Place of Publication: Baltimore, MD, USA
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2017 12:49
Date: 24 October 2016
Number of Pages: 4
Event Dates: 24 Oct 2016
Event Location: Baltimore, MD, USA
Event Title: 1st Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science > Department of Computer Science
Subjects: 000 Generalities, Science
004 Data processing Computer science
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