Nonlinear Shakespeare

The following  excerpt is taken from

The Dramatica Class Transcripts

Dramatica : Got some questions on the software or theory?

Veeduber : Many, but not yet confident enough to state a defensible position. I did conduct an interesting experiment with Hamlet, Dramatica and four English majors. Results were four chaotic encodings.

Dramatica : That’s not surprising! Once you are dealing with a finished work, interpretation is the heart of the matter. Unless you can sit down with the author and ask them what they had in mind,(difficult in this case!) you’ll just have to see how all those symbols read to you.

Veeduber : In hindsight I believe I was in fact seeing reflections of their education and exposure to Shakespeare. As a systems analyst, I was hoping to gain additional insight into Dramatica’s method.

Dramatica : Well, for one thing, part of what makes Dramatica work are its non-linear and relativistic relationships in the matrix of the model. So, trying to back calculate what it is doing is impossible even for us! But whenever you are dealing with analysis, a person’s background and bias will have a huge impact In Dramatica, we call that level of appreciation, Story Reception, which is the fourth stage of communication.

Veeduber : You do you use the term non-linear? The matrix appears limited and fixed.

Dramatica : Ah, you are only looking at the structural half of the Dramatica theory…the part you can’t see are the dynamic relationships, which change depending upon what has come before, so it is not a hierarchy, but extremely non-linear in its arrangement.

Veeduber : At the moment, the structure is all I have to cling to. My published work has been in a technical field. I had hoped Dramatica would provide insights to plot and character relationships.

Dramatica : Well, that is what it does. You might want to look at the structure as a 3 dimensional map. The map shows all the things you might look at as important points in an argument. The dynamic half of the Story Engine rearranges where we are going to be positioned on that map as an audience.

In other words, the map is what we are looking at, the dynamics determine where we are looking from. Between the two of them, they create perspective, which “encodes” all the dramatic meaning in the story.