III: i, The famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy
2. What does this soliloquy reveal about Hamlet’s personality?
This soliloquy accentuates that Hamlet is a very philosophical individual who meticulously analyses the repercussions of his actions before executing them. Hamlet’s thorough examination of whether it is better to live or to die is evident when Hamlet states,” 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.” Hamlet initially perceives death as a “consummation/ Devoutly to be wished” when he acknowledges that through death we are saved from” the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to.” Hamlet perceives death as an escape from life’s adversiry but towards the end of the soliloquy he acknowledges that the fear of what lies after death makes individuals hesitate towards suicide. He concludes by saying that thinking too deeply can impede action when Hamlet remarks,” And thus the native hue of resolution/ Is sickled o’er with the pale cast of thought”, highlighting how his decisiveness is hindered by over thinking the consequences of actions. This statement highlights how Hamlet’s perception of the world is constantly moulded and shaped in exploring existentialist ideologies. Hamlet is very a dynamic character who changes his opinions through examining philosophy. Hamlet bears cowardice because as soon as he decides upon executing action he makes an excuse against this action. This is evident when Hamlet quickly changes from perceiving suicide from an optimistic outlook and then a pessimistic outlook.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
ACT 3 SCENE 1
To be or not to be – antithesis, existential question – (to live or not to live, to revenge or not to revenge?)
That is the question – (that is the ultimate question, of life, of hamlet)
Metaphor for fighting or surrendering – to take arms against a sea of trouble
Die – to sleep –sleep has peaceful connotations, and therefore death may put him to peace from all of life’s hardships - ironic to his religious adherence, manipulating circumstance
Natural shocks – ironic- the shocks that hamlet experiences are not ‘natural’ but ‘unnatural’
To die, to sleep – upon reflection of his life he is constantly realising that this is a may be a serene feeling
Dream – what comes after death reference to the afterlife – shifted of this mortal - heaven/ hell
Wished – fate/destiny
Pause- we need to stop and think – hamlet is a thinker
The following is accumulation
Despised love – Ophelia, Gertrude
Laws delay – his father’s murder
Insolence of the office – he was meant to be king
Spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes – good people have to suffer for the crimes of the sinners – ‘good’ is a question in Hamlets instant – he is a victim of his circumstance – but he also takes fate into his own hands which contextually is not in his will.
Dread of something after death – the so called ‘sleep’ may turn to be hellish as it is an untraveled land, he does not know what is to come after death, and although the thought is soothing upon, thinking he doesn’t know what’s to come, and doesn’t want to be a sufferer of that place.
Puzzles the will – he is a confused character throughout the whole play
Is he a likeable protagonist?
Hamlet is seen to be an unlikeable protagonist as his willingness to give up and end his life is not a likeable characteristic or quality which he possesses. Hamlet’s famous ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy in Act 3 scene 1 focuses on his reflection on life and death and whether or not it is worth living. Not only is this a willingness to give up but it also the very act of procrastination. Hamlet’s nature to despise every person and their deeds in lines 71-74 of the soliloquy “…The pangs of disprized love, the law’s delay, the insolence of office…” is very frustrating for