T.S. Eliot and His Objective Correlative Versus Shakespeare

T.S. Eliot's famous poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock shares many correlating themes with William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Despite their evident similarities in style, Eliot criticizes Shakespeare's Hamlet in his essay Hamlet and His Problems, calling it "a problem which proved too much for him" (Eliot,184). Eliot said that the main theme, the effect of a mother's guilt upon her son, was a failure because Hamlet's feelings were too strong to be stirred solely by his mother. Eliot called his own idea of having to have a set of objects, a situation, or a chain of events, be the formula for a particular emotion, objective correlative. "The artistic 'inevitability' lies in this complete adequacy of the external to the emotion; and this is precisely what is deficient in Hamlet" (Eliot,183). Hamlet is dominated by an emotion which is inexpressible, because it is "in excess of the facts as they appear" (Eliot,183). Although he claims that Shakespeare's inability to fulfill the criterion of objective correlative ruins Hamlet, Eliot's own piece of work fails to meet this same standard. In trying to make his argument, Eliot's criticisms of Hamlet actually further...

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