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"Critique of T. S. Eliot's “Hamlet and His Problems”"
Critique of T. S. Eliot's “Hamlet and His Problems”
Jennifer Valles
During the modernist period in twentieth century, T. S. Eliot, was one of the most important poets. He was also a critic of Elizabethan literature. He wrote this article on how Hamlet is lacking the "objective correlative." Objective correlative is when an author produces an emotion in the viewer, the artist simply accurately reproduces those things that created strong emotion in himself. Eliot makes some great points, but also, I have to disagree with him on some of his opinion. Eliot sees Hamlet as somewhat of an artistic failure due to its confusion between the main plot and the main character.

In his analysis, Eliot recalls the work of other authors who have also critiqued the subject of Hamlet. He states that many authors connect with Hamlet and do not come to realize their own creative potential. These authors come to think of the drama as a classic and therefore see it as an extension of their own artistic ability. Eliot goes on to talk about Thomas Kyd, who wrote Spanish Tragedy and Arden of Feversham. Eliot writes "there are verbal parallels so close to the Spanish Tragedy as to leave no doubt that in places Shakespeare was merely revising the text of Kyd" (pg. 285). I did some research on Spanish Tragedy, and Eliot does have a point. I did notice similarities. In both plays, the protagonist has lost loved ones to murder and suicide, and these losses drive them to madness.

Eliot states, "So far from being Shakespeare's masterpiece, the play is most certainly an artistic failure. In several ways the play is puzzling, and disquieting as in none of the others" (pg 286). I have to agree and disagree with this statement at the same time. Yes, Hamlet is Shakespeare's masterpiece, but it is not an artistic failure. Hamlet,...

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