T.S.Eliot 'Hamlet And His Problems'
Answers 1Add Yours
Eliot used the term exclusively to refer to his claimed artistic mechanism whereby emotion is evoked in the audience:
“The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an "objective correlative"; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.”
It seems to be in deference to this principle that Eliot famously described Hamlet as "most certainly an artistic failure": Eliot felt that Hamlet's strong emotions "exceeded the facts" of the play, which is to say they were not supported by an "objective correlative." He acknowledged that such a circumstance is "something which every person of sensibility has known"; but felt that in trying to represent it dramatically, "Shakespeare tackled a problem which proved too much for him."