Posted in Male speaker, Speeches

To Be or Not to Be

Background:

“To be or not to be, that is the question” is undoubtedly a famous line. This line is actually part of a monologue found in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. The tragedy is about Prince Hamlet of Denmark who is haunted by his father’s ghost. He has to avenge his father’s death by killing his uncle and usurper to the throne, Claudius, who has married his mother after becoming king.

Hamlet returns home to a much changed Denmark. The play centers around Hamlet’s descent into madness (and the debate on whether or not he is genuinely insane or just pretending). The monologue is about his musings on how human life is fleeting and very trivial compared to many things. He reflects on life and death.

To be or not to be
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;
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;
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,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
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?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.

For those who would rather read modernized lines side-by-side Shakespeare’s writings, you can buy No Fear, Shakespeare: Hamlet.

Advertisements

Author:

I'm a fiction writer and blogger from the Philippines. When I'm not writing, I play with my pets or watch shows that are funny, scary, and thrilling. I am a book nerd and a shameless fangirl. Now excuse me while I go sniff the new book I just bought...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s