As Eliot constantly announced after the fact that he had no idea what he
intended in many texts, I don't mind saying I have no idea either what
he intended. But I think his remark was part of an important point
about the way writing comes from writing and not simply from the
writer's soul. That said, he then went on to argue that the play is a
"failure" because it lacks an objective correlative, that the emotion
was far in excess of the situation. To say that it is "uncoubtedly
correct" to claim that the "essential emotion of the play is the feeling
of a son towards a guilty mother" is to interpret. To say that "Hamlet
(the man) is dominated by an emotion which is inexpressible, because it
is in excess of the facts as they appear" is to interpret what the
emotion is or might be. In fact, every actor who plays Hamlet has to
decide what the essential emotion is, and it may well be a complex of
many emotions. I think this is another example of Eliot using his
criticism to work out his own feelings, since I think TWL is his
Hamlet--a welter of emotions for which he cannot find what he calls and
objective correlative. The language parallels his later comments on
writing the poem. Why that reduces art is beyond me, but nonetheless,
he interprets to get to it.
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I agree. There is an inconsistency between what he did and my
of what he intended with the "Hamlet" remark.
What is your interpretation of what he intended with the "Hamlet"