“To be or not to be: that is the question.” One of the most famous lines of Shakespeare that we all know even if we have never read the play. What people who haven’t read the play don’t know is the deep thought behind this line. This is Hamlet contemplating to himself whether or not to commit suicide. This happens to be my favorite part of Hamlet.
He goes on by saying, “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.” Being royalty, it was all about nobility and respect. This is Hamlet struggling whether to live and to suffer is more noble then to die and wash clean of dreadful thoughts and misfortune. Hamlet is going insane and this particular monologue shows that. He says, “Who would fardels dear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death, the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns, puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to ohers that we know not of?” This is simply saying that most do not choose death rather than the hardships of life because most rather take the hardships they know of than die and go to a place with hardships we do not know of. People don’t know what is waiting for us after death and they are afraid to find out, something that Hamlet himself is struggling with.
I love this part of hamlet because it depicts questions that ourselves, in this time period, have struggled with. It shows the play’s ability to relate to audiences of all types and times.