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Hamlet

Essay by   •  January 3, 2011  •  Essay  •  540 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,104 Views

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Hamlet's soliloquy, "To be or not to be, that is the question," found in Act 3, Scene 1, of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, is one of the most recognized and famous soliloquies in all of English literature. Hamlet uses this moment alone to ponder what he will do in response to his father's death. In this statement, Hamlet explores the idea of living and dying and what can be found in death. Is death like a dream while one sleeps? Or do we cease to sleep? Or is it just nothing? These are questions that Hamlet considers while deciding the fate of King Claudius. Hamlet wants to seek revenge on Claudius for killing King Hamlet and for marrying the queen, yet he knows that if he were to kill Claudius, he himself would also be killed. Hamlet's debate of life versus death makes him question the advantages and disadvantages of existence and whether or not it is right to end his life or that of another.

"To be or not to be" or more simply stated is it better to live or die. During this famous soliloquy, Hamlet wonders whether he should take action against his "sea of troubles" and seek revenge for his father's death or live with the pain of his father's murder. He also wonders that if he were to commit suicide, what could he expect in the afterlife. He questions whether or not suicide is morally right in an otherwise painful world. Hamlet has such grief that he frequently longs for death to end his suffering, but he fears that if he commits suicide, he will be subjected to eternal suffering in hell because of the Christian religion's prohibition of suicide. In his famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy (III.i), Hamlet believe that no one would choose to endure the pain of life if he or she were not afraid of what would come after death, and that fear is what keeps him from taking action.

Hamlet's weakness is later illustrated when he passes up the opportunity to kill Claudius by rationalizing that he has made peace with God, therefore sending him to Heaven if he were to be slain. In addition to his proposal of vengeance, he also contemplates whether it is better to stay alive or commit suicide. "To die, to sleep--/No more--and by a sleep to say we end/The heartache and the thousand natural shocks/That flash is heir to--'tis a consummation/Devoutly to be wished" (III,i,68-71). If he were to sleep, he feels that all his troubles would vanish, and

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