visualizing social networks in shakespeare’s plays

Via Slashdot: “By feeding PieSpy with the entire texts of Shakespeare plays, it became possible to produce drawings of the social networks present in his plays – it is now possible to visualize the relationships between the characters in his works.” I don’t have time to investigate this tool fully right now, but one thing I like is that it maps these networks through the course of the play using an animation. Texts are not static objects; they change over time as the reader or viewer experiences them. Our visualizations of elements of texts should therefore be dynamic.

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2 thoughts on “visualizing social networks in shakespeare’s plays

  1. I am imagining this applied to the relationship of locales, instances of a signficant symbols. What happens when you make “sleeplessness” an entitiy in The Scottish Play? (Macbeth)

  2. This is fascinating. I also like Weez’s suggestion that a network might include entities outside the cast of present characters. Of course, the network is constructed solely out of numbers of interchanges, right? So we could perhaps see the networks as a starting place for thinking about the real nature and strength of the relations.
    Visualizing relationships in a play might be a nice way to get across what’s going more effectively to “visual” learners in a class. It also suggests a possible assignment: have students map (in the PieSpy or some other fashion — like a sociogram) the social relations within a play (or a piece of short fiction or a novel — although that’s perhaps not as easy?). Anyway, thanks for the link, George.

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