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09/07/2019

Hamlet’s To be or not to be soliloquy analysis?

QUESTION
Hamlet’s To be or not to be soliloquy analysis?
in as much detail(sentence by sentence) can you explain to me what all this means. Im writing a essay on hamlet and this will help me greatly. thanks

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

ANSWER
I’m not going to go sentence by sentence, but I will help you, as I had to write an essay on Hamlet last year for my AP English class. Here we go.

“To be or not to be: that is the question”

Basically, Hamlet is second guessing himself. Think of it this way: “To act or not to act: that is the question”. To act? To act on his plan of revenge. Hamlet is a coward. He talks big, but he THINKS too much. You can think all you want, but nothing will ever get done unless you actualy DO something about it.

“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?”

This is pretty straightforward. He’s wondering if it would be easier to accept things as they are and suffer in silence. It would be easier to do that, but it is the coward’s way of doing things. Remember, Hamlet should be king, but his uncle is instead. He’s angry about this, but he’s not doing anything about it. There’s nother soliliquey he has where he finally acts, can’t remember which one, but maybe you know what I’m talking about.

Throughout the rest of the piece, he’s just saying the same thing over and over in different ways. To act or not to act. To dream or to live the dream. “With this regard their currents turn awry, and lose the name of action”. People may have the best intentions, and perhaps the best ideas, but if they only sit their thinking, nothing will be accomplished. Even at the end of this whole narrative of Hamlet’s, he still doesn’t decide on anything. He’s just speaking his thoughts; he’s not committing to anything.

Anyway. Hope this helps in some way! Read through it a couple times and I’m sure you’ll understand more. Good luck.