One of the most famous soliloquies in literature, Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech is a reflection of his inner struggles as he weighs the pros and cons of life versus death. In this monologue, Hamlet contemplates suicide and ponders what possible consequences it could have on him and his family. As he examines his current situation, Hamlet wonders about the meaning of life itself and whether it is worth living a miserable existence. He also questions if dying might bring more peace than being alive. Through this speech, Shakespeare reveals much about Hamlet’s thoughts and feelings concerning his own mortality.
Select one of Hamlet’s soliloquies from the play and analyze how it displays his inner thoughts for the audience in dramatic form.
At the beginning of the soliloquy, Hamlet compares death to sleep: “To die/ To sleep—/ No more—and by a sleep to say we end /The heart-ache…” This analogy implies that instead of ending suffering through death, one could instead find peace through sleeping without worries or fear. In an attempt to distract himself from these thoughts, he focuses on practical matters such as taxes: “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 insolence of office.” Here, he acknowledges that even if one avoids physical pain there are still daily burdens that must be endured due to human nature or societal pressures–something which can weigh heavily upon us all at times.
Hamlet then begins questioning whether it might actually be better for him not to live anymore: “But that the dread of something after death…makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly them?” This speaks directly both to suicidal tendencies as well as seeking any form comfort from religion–something especially important in Elizabethan era when people believed strongly in an afterlife where their souls might face eternal damnation for taking their own lives. It is here where Hamlet truly begins exploring why someone might choose life over death even with its inherent struggles: “Thus conscience does make cowards out us all; And thus,”he concludes,”the native hue Of resolution is sicklied o’er with pale cast doubt.” By using language like cowardice (cowards) and sickness (sicklied), Shakespeare conveys how difficult it can be just making up our minds what direction we should go in while giving into fear along our journey may sometimes seem easier but ultimately only brings further anguish later down the road .
Ultimately though, no matter what decision one makes between life or death–regardless how dire their circumstances may seem at first–Hamlet comes away with a bit renewed sense hope by recognizing value still left despite setbacks :”And by opposing end them? To die,—to sleep,—No more;—and by a sleep ,to say we end The heart-ache ,and thr thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir too”: Here he suggests that any worries caused by living cannot compare with ultimate tranquility achieved simply by resting peacefully forevermore once ‘end’ has come – either via courageously facing issues head-on whatever they may bring OR accepting fate graciously without resistance .
Overall ,this ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ soliloquy effectively illustrates depth complexity behind reasoning human beings employ when attempting come terms with seemingly unsolvable dilemmas found throughout lives . While difficult decisions certainly come into play for many situations dealt modern world today ,it remains true some topics will never cease cause internal conflict within each individual person Nowhere else does this become so apparent quite like legendary piece Shakespear’s work –by examining moments introspection into very soul character himself .