It's a mystery to me, so maybe I'm not so much the enigma as the word enigma is an enigma. We should have, finally, to know something which is by hypothesis unknowable, for we assume it to be an experience which, in the manner indicated, exceeded the facts. Championing a relatively little-read tragedy by Shakespeare why not , , or Othello? No, only if you haven't tried your best and given it your all. Hamlet, like the sonnets, is full of some stuff that the writer could not drag to light, contemplate, or manipulate into art. Thus the play cannot do justice to the original play to which it is indebted for its material. Some are good artists; some are bad artists.
T S Eliot Eliot did not think Hamlet a success. In his unfinished 1931 poem Coriolan Eliot follows a list of the glamorous trappings of Roman war, the flags, the trumpets, the eagles, with another list, of the hardware used to such devastating effect in World War I. In every narrative there are traces of description that help the reader understand the universal stance of the body, be it a description of a facial expression or the full description of a character based upon the description of his or her appearance. Why he attempted it at all is an insoluble puzzle; under compulsion of what experience he attempted to express the inexpressibly horrible, we cannot ever know. The guilt of a mother is an almost intolerable motive for drama, but it had to be maintained and emphasized to supply a psychological solution, or rather a hint of one.
He had thus created a yoke or a burden for himself by his wrong doing. The thinking goes that the flow of the words themselves -- the form of the objective correlative -- once found for a particular emotion, would be able to induce that emotion again in another viewer. The levity of Hamlet, his repetition of phrase, his puns, are not part of a deliberate plan of dissimulation, but a form of emotional relief. Eliot does, however, give credit to Shakespeare's use of the objective correlative in his other works. Hamlet the man is dominated by an emotion which is inexpressible, because it is in excess of the facts as they appear. These minds often find in Hamlet a vicarious existence for their own artistic realization.
The yoke is undoubtedly a burden for the bullocks. It has structure of pyramid and is very near to what Aristotle has defined. The alteration is not complete enough, however, to be convincing. The soliloquys show anger, disgust, grief, despair, and confusion. Some critics argue that no individual can say with certainty what emotion Shakespeare intended to convey in Hamlet, and thus cannot attack Shakespeare for failing to express it. I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; Am an attendant lord, one that will do To swell a progress, start a scene or two, Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, Deferential, glad to be of use, Politic, cautious, and meticulous; Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; At times, indeed, almost ridiculous— Almost, at times, the Fool. Eliot concludes this section by agreeing with Robertson's assertion that the hero of Hamlet is driven more by his mother's guilt than revenge for the father, and Shakespeare fell short in combining this altered motive with his source material.
Eliot has used a simile here. The main point of T. None of the possible actions can satisfy it; and nothing that Shakespeare can do with the plot can express Hamlet for him. The second reason for calling Hamlet an artistic failure has to do with the lack of objective correlative. We should have, finally, to know something which is by hypothesis unknowable, for we assume it to be an experience which, in the manner indicated, exceeded the facts. By attempting to create an objective way of evoking an emotional response, Eliot came close to describing, or at least theorizing, a science of poetry.
The essay is also an example of Eliot's use of what became known as. It was first published in 1919. Here, wrong doing refers to the lowly marriage of Godfrey. Eliot questions the amount of emotion in the play. The Hamlet of Shakespeare will appear to us very differently if, instead of treating the whole action of the play as due to Shakespeares design, we perceive his Hamlet to be superposed upon much cruder material which persists even in the final form.
Eliot: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. And probably more people have thought Hamlet a work of art because they found it interesting, than have found it interesting because it is a work of art. The Hamlet of Laforgue is an adolescent; the Hamlet of Shakespeare is not, he has not that explanation and excuse. The subject might conceivably have expanded into a tragedy like these, intelligible, self-complete, in the sunlight. He argues that a creative work cannot be interpreted, only criticized according to a standard or in comparison to another work. And Hamlet the character has had an especial temptation for that most dangerous type of critic: the critic with a mind which is naturally of the creative order, but which through some weakness in creative power exercises itself in criticism instead. And he concludes, with very strong show of reason, that the original play of Kyd was, like certain other revenge plays, in two parts of five acts each.
To have heightened the criminality of Gertrude would have been to provide the formula for a totally different emotion in Hamlet; it is just because her character is so negative and insignificant that she arouses in Hamlet the feeling which she is incapable of representing. This is lacking in Hamlet. Thus, the once kind, good natured and compassionate Godfrey was rapidly becoming a man filled with bitterness whose good nature was being frequently eclipsed by cruel wishes. The kind of criticism that Goethe and Coleridge produced, in writing of Hamlet, is the most misleading kind possible. Eliot also did much to shape critical opinion about poetry, drama, and literary history through his essays, reviews, and work as an editor at Faber and Faber. Less known to most save for English majors and their ilk is that he was also a literary critic.
He thinks his uncle Claudious! The Hamlet of the earlier play also uses his perceived madness as a guise to escape suspicion. Eliot writes that Hamlet's state of mind is a direct result of his confused emotions and the lack of external representation for these emotions in an objective correlative. We should have to understand things which Shakespeare did not understand himself. The kneeling did the trick. Hamlet is up against the difficulty that his disgust is occasioned by his mother, but that his mother is not an adequate equivalent for it; his disgust envelops and exceeds her. It often occurs in adolescence: the ordinary person puts these feelings to sleep, or trims down his feeling to fit the business world; the artist keeps it alive by his ability to intensify the world to his emotions.