TS Eliot wrote the essay Hamlet and His Problems in as an attempt to redefine the manner in which critics looked at literary work.
Content[ edit ] Eliot begins the essay by stating that the primary problem of Hamlet is actually the play itself, with its main character being only a secondary issue. Eliot goes on to note that play enjoys critical success because the character of Hamlet appeals to a particular kind of creatively minded critic.
According to Eliot, a creative-minded individual who directs his energy toward criticism projects his own character onto Hamlet.
As a result, the critic becomes biased in favor of and fixated on the character. Eliot wrote that due to their fixation on Hamlet rather than the play as a whole, the type of criticism that Coleridge and Goethe produced is "the most misleading kind possible".
Robertson and Elmer Edgar Stoll for publishing critiques that focus on the larger scope of the play. He argues that a creative work cannot be interpreted, only criticized according to a standard or in comparison to another work.
The function of interpretation in this argument is to make the reader aware of relevant historical information that they are not assumed to know. Eliot credits Robertson in particular for his historical interpretation of Hamlet.
Next, Eliot names three sources on which Shakespeare is believed to have based his play: He notes the differences between Hamlet and its source material, pointing out that in the earlier works the only motive for murder is revenge, the delay of which is the result of circumventing the king's guards.
The Hamlet of the earlier play also uses his perceived madness as a guise to escape suspicion.
In Shakespeare's version, however, Eliot believes Hamlet is driven by a motive greater than revenge, his delay in exacting revenge is left unexplained, and that Hamlet's madness is meant to arouse the king's suspicion rather than avoid it. Eliot finds these alterations too incomplete to be convincing, and feels that the prose of the two texts are so similar in some sections that it appears that Shakespeare simply revised Kyd's text.
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.
The latter portion of the essay is dedicated to Eliot's criticism of Hamlet based on his concept of the objective correlative. He begins by arguing that the greatest contributor to the play's failure is Shakespeare's inability to express Hamlet's emotion in his surroundings and the audience's resultant inability to localize that emotion.
The madness of Shakespeare's character, according to Eliot, is a result of the inexpressible things that Hamlet feels and the playwright cannot convey.
Eliot concludes by stating that because Shakespeare cannot find a sufficient objective correlative for his hero, the audience is left without a means to understand an experience that Shakespeare himself does not seem to understand. This sensory experience is meant to help the reader understand the mental or emotional state of a character.
He goes on to say that Hamlet's initial conflict is a disgust in his motherbut his feelings regarding the situation are too complex to be represented by Gertrude alone. Neither Hamlet nor Shakespeare can grasp or objectify these feelings, and so it acts as an obstacle to the character's revenge and Shakespeare's plot.
But Eliot points out that if Shakespeare had found an objective correlative for Hamlet's internal conflict, the play would be entirely changed because the bafflement that characterizes it is a direct result of Shakespeare's shortcomings in this respect.
Eliot does, however, give credit to Shakespeare's use of the objective correlative in his other works. As an example, he references a scene in Macbeth in which Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and the imagined sensory impressions Shakespeare provides allow the audience to understand her mental state.
It has been noted that if Eliot's intent was to focus his critique on the play, he could have titled his essay "Hamlet and Its Problems" instead. 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.to identify his feeling than the case with Hamlet would have been different and Shakespeare could have avoid the artistic failure.
This is just an overlook to how Eliot has criticized Hamlet for its artistic failure. Hamlet and His Problems is an essay written by T.S. Eliot in that offers a critical reading of Hamlet. The essay first appeared in Eliot's The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism in /5.
When something is needed to be done, Hamlet is to busy thinking about his problems. An example of this is when Hamlet has his knife over the head of Claudius, . Published in , Hamlet and His Problems may be considered an example of “destructive criticism” in the sense that it challenges the age-old established critical perspectives on a work of art.
Eliot puts forward his contention that much of the critical has been devoted to analysing the character of Hamlet, rather than analysing the play, which should be the primary business of the critics.
96 Professor Stoll of the University of Minnesota, have issued small books which can be praised for moving in the other direction.
Mr. Stoll performs a service in recalling to our attention the labours of the critics of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 1 observing that "Hamlet and His Problems.
A summary of an influential essay ‘Hamlet and his Problems’ is one of T. S. Eliot’s most important and influential essays. It was first published in In ‘Hamlet and his Problems’, Eliot makes the bold claim that Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, far from being a triumph, is an artistic failure.