Hamlet Soliloquy

Words: 1706
Pages: 7

Arguably the most popular monologue in literary history, Hamlet's 'To be or not to be' soliloquy never fails to strike a chord in the hearts of its readers. While some might argue that it is simply a contemplation of suicide and the meaninglessness of life, most critics admit that there are far deeper truths about the human psyche that can be derived from this passage. The astonishing coalescence of common anthropological motifs such as love, courage, uncertainty, free will, mortality and eternity in the 'To be or not to be' soliloquy is a sufficient attestation of Jung's idea of the collective unconscious. In other words, this famous monologue is, in reality, a brilliant paradigm of the complexity of human nature. The ability to love is a …show more content…
However the only thing that stops him according to the lines, "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,/ When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,/ Must give us pause," (3.1.66-68) is the uncertainty of what happens after death and the possibility of the afterlife, which he metaphorically compares to "The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn/ No traveler returns." (3.1.79-80) He says that it is this ambiguity that makes him willing to "rather beat those ills we have/ Than fly to others that we know not of." (3.1.81-82) To analyze Hamlet's mindset from a Jungian perspective, one must first understand that unlike Freud, Jung was a firm believer in the supernatural and hence saw consciousness as something that was eternal. This conclusion made plausible the notion of the afterlife. This is why like Hamlet, human beings often think that the actions performed during one's lifetime have consequences that last far beyond this lifetime and these fears about the afterlife serve as an incentive for a person to live a 'good' moral life. Since the uncertainty surrounding death and the existence of the afterlife are issues common to human thought, this soliloquy serves as evidence for the existence of the collective unconscious and acts as a reflection of all of human