Eilot said "Hamlet's madness is less than madness and more than feigned." Do you agree with his statement?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It is worth remembering when answering the question concerning Hamlet’s madness Eliot’s fuller thoughts on the matter. It is not that he considered Hamlet insane; rather, Eliot thought that Shakespeare failed to provide the “objective correlative” that  would express Hamlet’s feelings for his mother.  By “objective correlative” Eliot refers to “a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion.”  An example would be Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking, which is an objective correlative for her state of mind. Hamlet, according to Eliot, lacks such an experience—a sort of metaphor for his state of mind.. Because Shakespeare cannot understand Hamlet’s feelings, he cannot create an objective correlative for them, and so Hamlet therefore appears mad to the audience while his madness does not intrinsically develop out of the plot.  According to Eliot, “We must simply admit that...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 508 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team