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“To Be Or Not To Be”: Spoken by Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
This is the oh so famous “To be or not to be,” speech by Hamlet. It is different from his first two soliloquies. This is said out of reason, no frenzied emotion. He sparks a debate in his own mind, to see if it would be more beneficial to continue being, or to end his being. The socially accepted answer would be to suffer through the pain, to “man up.”
When hamlet recites the line, “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” He talks about a demonic or violent, unfortunate serious of events. The slings and arrows from the outrageous fortune caused Hamlet to declare an internal war with himself. He says, “Or take arms against a sea of troubles,” to show that his war is endless. He then follows with, “and by opposing them? To die: to sleep;” this is his way of showing that he is fighting with himself. He cannot win. If he opposes one side he will die. The reasoning behind him saying these words comes back to when he was a child. He was not a normal child. He had to be sent away which made him even more crazy. When he came back the different thoughts in his head collided, causing a massive brawl in his thoughts to occur.
The rest of the Quote shown above chooses to lean to one side of the argument. Hamlet tries to decide how things would be if he were dead. He thinks that others would want to die because his presence is gone. He does not understand that if he dies, he is the only one who will die. There is a “heart-ache” from him being alive. Hamlet does not believe that he will feel better then he does now. When he recites, “That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation,” he says that it is his humanly right to accept death and all of its wonderful benefits. He wishes and desperately wants to take his life. He has made up his mind by this point and wants nothing to do with his life. But, he finally says, “To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub” which contradicts everything he just said. He asks for oblivion. He wants people to think that he is perfectly fine. He wants people to think he was dreaming the whole time and that he does not actually want to kill himself. He does not know what he wants.
This soliloquy is a really interesting and important one since it lets the reader know what Hamlet’s plans are.
Prior to this monologue, Prince Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude, sends an order for Hamlet to go to her chamber to have a talk with her. After the play, Hamlet asks for a short amount of time alone. Thrilled because his plan worked out, he experiences a surge of confidence and delivers this soliloquy in which he plans out the conversation with his mother and talks about how confident of himself he is.
now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother. —
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites, —
How in my words somever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!''
now the very witching time of night’’, Hamlet starts his
monologue with a reference to the people who use the darkness (middle of the
night) to do their dirty work.
‘’When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out", refers to the middle Ages, where people used to bury the bodies at their local church graveyard. At the time during which Hamlet occurs, Europe was suffering from the ‘’Black Death Plague’’. Art during this period was very dark and often represented the Devil and demons.
"Soft! Now to my mother.’’
At this point, he has been considering how to deal with the situation he’s currently facing. He wants to speak the truth to his mother without being too harsh. He knows that if he makes the wrong move at the wrong time, there could be a lot of trouble. That’s why he plans everything out, including his conversations with his mother.
"O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
Let me be cruel, not unnatural;’’
These lines are hard to understand since a lot of people don’t know who ‘’Nero’’ was. Nero was a Roman Emperor who was quite famous for being crazy and murdering his mother. He was extremely cruel and executed people in awful ways.
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites"
in my words somever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!’’
Seals were used during the Middle Ages like signatures are used today. Since Hamlet was the Prince of Denmark, he had his own seal and used it whenever he wanted to consent something. He is basically saying that he didn’t consent the actions his mom took when he married Hamlet’s own uncle.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare has become one of his most popular play written by him. Him in his name William Shakespeare. In most of his plays it seems it has all dealt with war, death, and love. But what makes his plays more fascinating, more interesting is his writings. It seems difficult for us in todays word to understand because we use and speak english in a different way. Since William Shakespeare writes his plays, in his plays it show a lot of emotions and feelings. And When he does that it shows a good way to also understand what the play is about and what he is trying to say.
One of the scene from the book to connect is when one of the character name Laertes talks to his sister Ophelia about her boyfriend Hamlet. He wanted to let her know about the type of person Hamlet was and he wanted her to be careful with him. A quote from it is “For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor, Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood, A violet in the youth of primary nature, Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, The perfume and suppliance of a minute. No more.” This scene is from Act 1 Scene 3 Line 9-11. To translate exactly what Laertes was telling his sister was “For Hamlet and his attentions to you, just consider it a big flirtation, the temporary phase of a hot-blooded youth. It won’t last. It’s sweet, but his affection will fade after a minute. Not a second more.” So the whole point of this line was just a heads up for his sister Ophelia. He didn’t want his sister to be hurt or make wrong descions and soon would be hurt at the end.
Shakespeare written most of his plays in an old fashion english. So it is more difficult for people in the modern days to read and understand what the play mean, and or what the character is trying to say. For example in the play Hamlet the entire play is written in old english and when we read it we would have to analyze what the character are saying, an example to prove is from one of the scene in Act 1 Scene 3 Line 15-19 when Laertes tells his sister Ophelia “Think it no more. For nature, crescent, does not grow alone In thews and bulk, but, as this temple waxes, The inward service of the mind and soul Grows wide withal. Perhaps he loves you now, And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch The virtue of his will, but you must fear.” What this quote is saying is Laertes is telling his sister Ophelia to think bigger. The translation is “Try to think of it like that, anyway. When a youth grows into a man, he doesn’t just get bigger in his body—his responsibilities grow too. He may love you now, and may have only the best intentions, but you have to be on your guard.” So basically what Laertes is telling his sister is to beware of Hamlet. For her to watch what she does and for her to have her guard up with him.Another part to the line that connects to the scene is when Laertes tells his sister Hamlet back round. Like how he came from a royal family, what he already had plan for him self in the future. For example in Act 1 Scene 3 Line 20-28 “His greatness weighed, his will is not his own, For he himself is subject to his birth. He may not, as unvalued persons do, Carve for himself, for on his choice depends The safety and health of this whole state. And therefore must his choice be circumscribed Unto the voice and yielding of that body Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you,” What this quote discribe is Laertes telling Ophelia where Hamlet came from like his life back round. For example Hamlet came from a rich family, and his attention for her may not be as important then what he has to do with his family. And to make the people that support him happy. So to turn the quote into a modern version Laertes tells Ophelia this “Remember that he belongs to the royal family, and his intentions don’t matter that much—he’s a slave to his family obligations. He can’t simply make personal choices for himself the way common people can, since the whole country depends on what he does. His choice has to agree with what the nation wants.” So this explain what Laertes was telling his sister.
In Shakespeare his writing are really great. This is because i believe when he writes his plays he makes it very interesting. I believe he wants people to see his plays as something exciting, something for someone to think about. Like for example how his old fashion english makes us think about what he is trying to say because now its modern english. in his play writes it shows a lot of details and emotion so that people who don’t understand ca understand by watching. Shakespeare is one of the great play write, that has pass on from years into todays worlds where we analyze his plays and also act it out our selves.
" I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air—look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire—why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so."
Hamlet is very emotional in the words he speaks. It's as if every word that leaves his mouth is stern and meaningful. Every word counts. Hamlet speaks of no nonsense, he means business. He is feeling out of sorts. His feelings towards everything and everyone is not the same as others feel. Hamlet is analyzing all the things he feels blue about. " What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?" By saying this, he is stating that there is so much beauty and amazement in a person. Although he could care less, he sees nothing more than ordinary. Hamlet is depressed. This scene reminded me of how teenagers in modern day see things when they are depressed. Specifically my thought were drawn to the book, "The Lovers Dictionary" by David Levithan. The way Hamlet relays his feelings through such simple examples, yet still so meaningful. David Levithan writes the same way, while conveying stress, sadness, and harsh emotion. It becomes obvious that Hamlet is depressed because he is showing all different symptoms and reflecting them on different people. In the quote Hamlet talks about his feelings in deep concern. He explains why he feels the way he does using comparisons to how others see things. Most seem to be very upsetting and depressing comments. This is Hamlet's ways of responding to the life changes he is experiencing currently. He is completely overwhelmed with the situation, and confused on how to go forward. Although his feelings could and may possibly not be true, this is his way of responding to the current events. Hamlet's way of behaving is not co-operating with the rest of the environment. Hamlet can only communicate with himself when he is alone. When he is in front of others, he acts like someone he’s not. The crazy, loud, and outrageous man is so different from the confused, depressed, and lost man who is still trying to recover his fathers death, let alone try to comprehend that his uncle might have committed the deed.
“The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so." , says Hamlet in his last few words of the speach. This is just one of another point proving Hamlet’s change in emotion. It also shows others reactions to him.
Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of the best writers in history. He is praised for his poetry as well as his numerous plays. His writing is so influential that it is still Analyzed and Preformed today by scholars and actors. As most who have read his writing or seen his plays, he has earned this degree of respect. His writing captures the reader, dragging them further into the text with each line. Shakespeare accomplished this riddling the lines of his text with carefully chosen language. Although, the thing that draws the reader in more than anything else is his involvement of the reader’s imagination in his text. He does a beautiful job of weaving opportunities for the reader to go off on their own mental tangent. By doing this, he can avoid wasting time with lengthy and dull description, focusing more on the plot.
One prime example of where he does this is in one of his most famous works Hamlet. In this excerpt, The spirit of Hamlet’s Father comes up from the underworld to speak with him. In the conversation, Shakespeare has the ghost mentions being in hell.
“And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away.” - Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Act 1, scene 5 lines 16-19
Nothing in Shakespeare’s writing is just there for the sake of being there. In this example he makes sure to mention that, But does not go in depth in to why he’s there. This makes the reader come up with their own reasons. Those with minds that are eager to analyze will question if the current king (the antagonist of the play) was really any worse than his brother. The other side of this argument is that he was not condemned for his deeds as king but rather for other, smaller actions in his personal life. Pieces of text like these are the reason shakespeare’s works are so widely celebrated. Each play is infinitely more complicated than it looks at first glance. Shakespeare uses this method in more than just his sub-plots. He also does this to aid the descriptions in his plays. As seen here “
“I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,”
-Hamlet, William Shakespeare Act 1, Scene 5 lines 20-23
He does not make the kings ghost actually reveal what he had experienced. He instead describes how Hamlet would react to it. If he had instead included a lengthy description of the ghost’s torment, then the audience would only remember it for the beautiful language. By doing this, he makes it easier to get the ghost’s key points of the ghosts speech across, without sacrificing any of the shock and awe value of the passage. What makes shakespeare a good writer is not that he works well with what he writes, but he also makes use of what isn’t written. He is as much an artist of implication as much as he is a wordsmith. These passages where the reader has just as much influence on the play as shakespeare does are the reason his writing is so highly regarded today.
A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me “villain”? Breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? Gives me the lie i' th' throat
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
A scullion! Fie upon ’t, foh!
About, my brain.—Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions.
In Act 2 Scene 2, Hamlet delivers an intriguing monologue that leaves you with more questions than answers. While asking questions about himself, he uncovers meaning behind his father’s death. "Am I a coward? Who calls me “villain”? Breaks my pate across? Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?" Hamlet says as he enters a room alone. Throughout the play, he questions his instincts, and goes deep down to the core about what he's truly experiencing, and what is just inside his head. In this specific scene, we see the angry and confused man who wants to find peace within himself, and find the truth about his fathers death. "Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words, Why, what an ass am I!" This quote being my favorite, because Hamlet's realizing how crazy he really seems, and he's questioning his own thoughts. He is so upset with himself because his father was just killed, his mother married his uncle, he is in love with Ophelia, and yet all he can do is say words. That is by far my favorite line because I can relate to it. Sometimes when you are thinking so much all that comes out is words. It's good when we can express our feelings, but we want to do instead of say. I can relate to Hamlet completely. It makes you think not only about Hamlet and what he will entail, but also about yourself, and the questions you have been trying to decipher. Hamlet has been going through a difficult time, but he code switches depending on whom he interacts with. I like this scene from the play, because he's not putting on an act for anyone. In front of Ophelia, Polonius, and especially his uncle, he's not himself. He acts crazy and dramatic, but it's still not what he's truly feeling. When he went into the room and said, "I am now alone." you can tell he is relieved, that he can express his true feelings without anyone knowing.
"That I, the son of a dear father murdered, prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell." he is saying here that his father had just been murdered, and he is ready to get his revenge. Then he goes on to say he needs to get himself together, because all he is doing right now is standing around talking about it. After talking, thinking, and planning, he said "That guilty creatures sitting at a play have, by the very cunning of the scene, been struck so to the soul that presently they have proclaimed their malefactions." This concludes the scene, and puts a halt to Hamlet's crazy thoughts for now. He remembers that people who face their deeds, admit what they have done, due to guilt. Hamlet may be crazy, or he may just want justice for his father. Putting on a play of a king being murdered and watching his uncle’s reaction is genus. I believe that Hamlet really isn't crazy, but just lost in his own thoughts. His emotions are out of control, but when he has time to be true to himself, and think for himself, is when you can tell he's just a man who wants answers and justice for his father.
Hamlet Analysis Act 1 Scene 5
I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Hamlet is written in old english and has its ways of presenting words and lines in which people today may have a hard time understanding. Even though the text may be a little hard to read the way in which Shakespeare is written makes it both interesting, and a learning experience.
The Hamlet scene that I found really interesting was Act 1 Scene 5. In this scene/ act Hamlet is introduced to the ghost of his father. His father’s ghost comes to him one night. When he first opens up to Hamlet he tells him how he has sinned and his should has yet to enter the gates of heaven because of his many untold sins. Even though the ghost of Hamlets father comes to him and presents himself and tells him that he cant go to heaven until he is punished for his sins he still refuses to tell his son what the sins are exactly for his is forbid to tell them.
When reading this at first I expected Hamlet and his fathers first words to be different. I thought that Hamlet and his father may have exchanged words like I miss you, how are you ect.
I also expected Hamlet to seem a little scared or hesitant as to how his father is appearing to him and why he can see a ghost. One question I had was did Hamlet notice that the ghost was his father even before he came out and said I am thy fathers spirit. Another question I had was what were all of the sins that the ghost had been talking about.
When I think of a king I think of a good person someone who people come to for help, guidance, and leadership. As I read this scene I wonder what kind of sins could a king have against him keeping him from his entrance into heaven. This scene is powerful because not only does it show a relationship between Hamlet and his father but It leaves readers wondering and mind boggled. Readers will be left wondering because the ghost constantly reminds the readers about how his are to horrible to be told and that he is forbid to tell them. But why? What are they? what did he do? Why can he talk to his own son about it? These are all questions that went through my mind while reading the scene. This scene includes an excerpt that makes me to continue to read the book and hope that soon my questions are answered.
This scene has a good way of telling us about the ghost’s past. was Hamlets father really a bad person or a criminal. Is there a reason why the author held back the sins in which he committed and why did he describe them as being so traitorous. I feel like this scene covered a lot with a few lines.
Hamlet, this play is base around the life of a Danish noble and the struggles he encounters in his life, but most importantly it’s about revenge of someone he loves most dearly. I will be analyzing a monologue he has in the middle of the play in the palace he is staying in.
Shakespeare has created the ability to connect the characters and their problems and/or situations with common problems and people. This quote from the play Hamlet, “To be, or not to be? That is the question—Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them?” The idea of whether is it better to live or to die. The topic of suicide was frowned and shamed upon this point in time but it was a popular theme in English literature since the idea was very prevalent in the minds of the common public at the time. But I have come to the conclusion that Shakespeare himself didn’t mind the thought or the act of suicide. He talks more about how society brings misfortune more than it does fortune and that it would be okay to end it since it was indeed very frustrating and unfair. This point can be furthered in the second part of the lines.
“To die, to sleep—No more—and by a sleep to say we end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.” My assumption about how Shakespeare views death through this play is sleep. He views death as a constant sleep in which you can never awaken from. I believe that the concept of death as a long slumber became popular through the Hamlet play. Shakespeare was very popular at the time this play was shown and passed down through out the years. He also continues the concept of suicide and how it could be an alternative to dealing with all the hardships life has to offer.
“To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause. There’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life.” This portion of the famous Hamlet monologue is just about the concept of committing suicide or the thought of that action. But what is most fascinating about it the quote is the concept of dreaming if you’re dead. The logic of death according Shakespeare through this play is that death is just a long sleep. With sleep comes dreaming, you might know what you’re going to dream since you witness sounds, images and colors, but you can’t know what you will dream when none of those exist. This really puts a second thought in mind about suicide and is a very philosophical way of looking at the situation, what happens after death?
Time and time again, there are new analyzations, theories, or thoughts that come from the writings of the poet, William Shakespeare. The play Hamlet is no different from all of his other writings of soliloquies, speeches, and ideas. And what makes this play shine out is that the ideas of having multiple meanings to the passages from this one play. A remarkable example of this can be seen in Hamlet’s speech, a soliloquy of Hamlet facing the idea of death or keeping the life of dishonesty that he currently had. In the speech, he talks to himself and compares the value of life and the value of an endless sleep. This part of the play shows another side of Hamlet that Shakespeare is slowly starting to reveal as the play winds down and prepares for the drama of the royal family of Denmark.
“To die, to sleep;” (Line 63, Act 3, Scene 1) Here, Hamlet is debating life and death. He doesn’t know what to believe due to the fact that the people around him assume that he is crazy and are willing to reiterate to the King and Queen of Denmark every action and conversation Hamlet will have whether it is to directly them or whether it is not. He it would be like he is sleeping off his problems, worries, and ideas. This one line builds the structure for what Hamlet is trying to portray. He shows that there is much more to death then meets thee eye. In line 64, act 3, scene1, Hamlet says: “To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;” going more in-depth with the thought of sleeping forever. He wants to highly consider it but then there is a draw back. Readers can see that Hamlet is highly considering the idea of death and peacefulness over his life. While Hamlet is debating on committing suicide or not, he soon realizes that there is a price for dying. The term: “there’s a rub” means that there is a price of death and that is that no one knows what comes after death.
With that, Hamlet goes into the proposal of death and what the repayment of taking his life really means in the thought of line 65-66: “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,” As Hamlet says this, he is slowly changing his mind from considering death to slowly moving back to the perks of living. He previously stated that he wanted to sleep but now states that he does not know what dreams will or will not come true in his never-ending sleep. He doesn’t even know if there is life after death on this earth. A modern day translation of this could be: “If I do die, what will happen to me? Where will I go after death and how will I go on with...anything? That is the only perk to living because I know there will be a tomorrow and I am living for today.”
And with that, we see the more rational side of Hamlet come back to say: “Must give us pause: there's the respect…that makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time… The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,” (67-73) In regard to these lines, the mindset of Hamlet changes again because of his approach to appreciating life. When looking at all that he has been through, we can see that Hamlet has seen it all: his father’s ghost returning to seek revenge, a crooked king, deceitful friends, and the loss of his love’s heart and honesty.
As Hamlet goes on to the amount of deceitfulness and negativity coming from his surroundings, he drifts back into a suicidal state of mind and see that maybe: “When he himself might his quietus make…With a bare bodkin? …Who would fardels bear,” (74-75) and that maybe a dagger would do more good than the amount of harm that has already taken place in his life. Now Hamlet is stuck between a rock and a hard place, “To grunt and sweat under a weary life,” (76). Going on, Hamlet sees that death leads to peacefulness “but that the dread of something after death… The undiscover'd country from whose bourn…No traveller returns, puzzles the will…And makes us rather bear those ills we have…Than fly to others that we know not of?” (77-83)
In the most cautious and unstable state of mind, Hamlet shows that there are three sides to him, one that is afraid of death, one that will avenge his father’s wrongful death, and one that is willing to die for everything to end on his part. With that, readers can see that with the progression of the play there will always be at least one side of these three traits in him.