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This Chart Shows How Shakespeare's Characters Are Connected

Six degrees of tragedy?

William Shakespeare’s iconic plays have been analyzed for centuries, but people are still coming up with fresh and exciting ways to look at them. Take Martin Grandjean, for instance. He’s the data vizualization and network analysis pro who has turned all 11 of Shakespeare’s tragedies into colorful charts.

Grandjean looked only at tragedies because he hoped that he could find some common patterns in their structure. By comparing the charts, we can see which of Shakespeare’s tragedies are most complex (filled with characters and connections). Interestingly, some of Shakepseare’s most iconic plays - including Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet - are less complex than some of his lesser-known ones. Hamlet, for instance, features fewer connections than Titus Andronicus and fewer characters than Coriolanus.

Of course, the charts aren’t just informative - they’re also really interesting to look at. Check out a few of our favorites below, and then head over to Grandjean’s website to look at the whole collection. You can also buy a poster with all of them on it!

All images: Martin Grandjean