Is Hamlet a digital game?


The objective correlative of a digital game.

Games and Literary Theory | Amsterdam | 2014


What do Shakespeare’s Hamlet and a digital game have in common?
In this essay, I examine semiotic parallels between Shakespeare’s play and digital games. I use T. S. Eliot’s critique of Hamlet in 1919 — based on Eliot’s notion of “objective correlative” — to find similarities between references and referents employed by Hamlet (in particular) and by games and play (more generally). I argue that Hamlet and digital games evoke emotion in a similar, self-referential way, and I conclude that neither is rightfully labeled an “artistic failure” (as Eliot claims about Hamlet) as a consequence.