Date: August 20, 2021 08:01PM
> "To be, or not to be-
> -that is the question."
> (Don't remember who said
> this.) (Shakspire?)
Yes, William J. Shakespeare . . . (You'll NEVER guess what the J. stands for!!)
Here are notes I personally sat down and thoughtfully copied after a four-second Google search:
There are seven soliloquies by Hamlet in Shakespeare's play by the same name. The one whose first line you quoted is the fourth of the seven...
Hamlet's 1st soliloquy
Hamlet refers to the world as an 'unweeded garden' in which rank and gross things grow in abundance, he bemoans the fact that he cannot commit suicide. He wishes that his physical self might cease to exist.
Hamlet's 2nd soliloquy
Hamlet's second soliloquy occurs right after the ghost of the dead King, Hamlet's father, leaves, having charged Hamlet with the duty of taking revenge upon his, the dad's, murderer. This soliloquy reveals an important secret to Hamlet and carries his rage and grief. He is shocked, stunned, and in great grief upon realizing that his father was rather murdered by Hamlet's uncle. Hamlet now refers to his mother as the "most pernicious woman" and to his uncle as a "villain", a "smiling damned villain". At the end of the soliloquy, Hamlet swears to remember and obey the ghost.
Hamlets 3rd soliloquy
In the soliloquy, Hamlet expresses anger at himself for not having yet done anything. He compares himself to one of the visiting actors who, in acting out a scene, expresses emotion in a profound way, causing the audience to feel what he feels even though he has no real reason to do so. In contrast, Hamlet cannot do the same — even though he has all the reasons in the world to do so. The contrast makes it clear that Hamlet believes himself a coward. Also, this soliloquy clearly displays Hamlet's introspection and resultant self-loathing caused by the admission of some bitter truths about himself, such as that he does not have the gumption to proceed with his revenge.
Hamlets 4th soliloquy
The soliloquy expresses a direct opposition - "to be, or not to be". Hamlet is thinking about life and death and pondering a state of being versus a state of not being - being alive or being dead.
Hamlets 5th soliloquy
Hamlet is about to go to his mother's chamber in response to her summons when he asks for a moment alone. He delivers his short soliloquy in which he resolves to be brutally honest with her but not to lose control of himself. He prepares himself for their conversation, vowing to treat her harshly but to refrain from harming her
Hamlets 6th soliloquy
Hamlet wants Claudius to be punished for his crimes He cannot kill him while he is praying because then he will be sent to heaven (3rd Nephi 4:20). Hamlet holds off on killing him again. Even though Claudius is not really praying Hamlet does not kill him. This gives Hamlet yet another reason to hold off on avenging his father's death
Hamlets 7th soliloquy
The information given to Hamlet about Fortanbras by the captain stimulates his thoughts of revenge and makes him scold himself for his inaction. He realizes that thousands of soldiers are ready to die for a piece of worthless land, but he, Hamlet, who is equipped with an excellent motive to take revenge for his father's death, is still unable to do anything about it.
The Fourth Soliloquy:
“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.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd!”
Of the world's current population, less than .0003053% have read this all the way through with the intent to understand it. There are more English majors who have NOT read and understood it than there are who have! Would I make that up?