I want to know the objective correlative in "Hamlet".

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Well, if you were T.S. Eliot, you would say that there was no objective correlative in "Hamlet".You would also say that makes Hamlet an "artistic failure".  An objective correlative is "a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion." In other words, there needs to be something concrete that leads a character to a specific emotion. Eliot says that Hamlet is  "dominated by an emotion which is inexpressible, because it is inexcess of the facts as they appear". In other words, Hamlet's emotions are too  much given the actual events that occur in the play. I suppose that losing your father, and having your mother marry your uncle very shortly thereafter, and then seeing your father's ghost which tells you your uncle murdered him is not enough for Eliot to believe that Hamlet would become very upset, and almost suicidal,when trying to deal with all of this. Perhaps that's why Eliot said in a lecture in 1956 that the term "objective correlative" was one of '‘'a few notorious phrases which have had a truly embarrassing success in the world’."


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