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To Be or Not to Be Hamlet Soliloquy Interpretation

Hamlet: To Be or Not To Be"

The "To Be or Not To Be" speech in the play, "Hamlet," portrays Hamlet as a very confused man. He is very unsure of himself and often wavers between two extremes. In the monologue, he contemplates death; over whether he should commit suicide or seek revenge for his father's death. The play also shows how Hamlet thinks over things too much. From the analysis over life and death he comes to the conclusion that he would rather live and seek revenge for father's death than die. So he follows out his plans and kills Claudius after much person debate as he had done in his soliloquy. Evidence of his unsureness, fickleness, and thinking too much is not only shown in this speech, but throughout the entire play.

In the soliloquy, Hamlet considers suicide. His character is clearly shown in this speech. The speech itself shows that he thinks too much. He is wavering between the two extremes: life and death. "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" (3, 1, 56-60). He wonders whether he should live and suffer or die and end the suffering. He believes that life is synonymous with suffering. The "whips and scorn of time, Th'oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th'unworthy takes" (3, 1, 70-74) are all the suffering he sees in life. He contemplates whether or not he should endure these pains of life. "To die, to sleep -no more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks...To sleep, perchance to dream" (3, 1, 60-65). If he chooses death all his pains and heartaches would end. He would not have to worry about Claudius, Gertrude or any other aspect of his life that bothers or causes him stress.

The only thing keeping him from death is what lies behind death. The "dread of something after death, The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will" (3, 1, 78-80) and keeps people from choosing death due to the fear of what...

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