In regards to literary criticism of Hamlet, would the play Hamlet itself be considered a primary source?
Primary sources are generally considered to be materials that are closest to first-hand experience of a topic. Secondary sources are those which present or discuss information that was originally presented in another source. By that criteria, the play Hamlet could be considered to be a primary source for literary criticism of the play itself. However, it could also be argued that Hamlet is neither a primary nor secondary source for criticism of Hamlet, as the play does not offer any criticism of itself. The issue of primary vs secondary sources is generally associated more with topics such as history or science than it is with a subject such as literary criticism.