An Analysis of Hamlet's To Be, or Not to Be Soliloquy

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Hamlet’s To be, or not to be soliloquy is explores the notions of existence through a philosophical evaluation of bearing through ‘the whips and scorns of time’ and an examination of the ‘sleep of death’ after one finishes their time on earth. The use of pronouns ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘who’ insinuate that this debate as an impersonal reflection rather than an emotionally driven deliberation to end his life. The themes and notions of death, religion and fate are explored through this soliloquy in the context of the futility and hardships of life. Death, the underlying theme of this soliloquy, is considered over existence in the circumstance that death is a dreamless sleep, a release from all the world’s misery. However Hamlet’s religious beliefs impact his reasoning and thus as a Christian, he muses over humanity’s eternal soul and sleep and ‘what dreams may come’ when an individual dies. Hamlet comes to acknowledges that death’s sleep is unknown and compares it to an ‘undiscover’d country’ from which ‘No traveller returns’. Hamlet further reasons that humanity’s fear of the unknown is caused by excessive thought and so stalls them from taking action and bearing through what is known resulting in our ‘conscience does make cowards of us all’. Fate, as explored in this soliloquy, is proposed to be something that is flung towards you throughout your life ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ and not something that is chosen. Christian canon forbids self slaughter and so Hamlet considers that the fear of damnation and the doubt of entering the unknown prevent individuals from taking their fate into their own hands. However the soliloquy is also somewhat ambiguous in terms of the method of death. Though the underlying themes of existence, death, religion and fate are retained, the interpretation of taking ‘arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them’ can be seen as taking action against Claudius as filial obligations...
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