To Be or Not To Be What?
While Hamlet’s, “To be or not to be” soliloquy is one of the most famous soliloquies throughout all of literature, the meaning of what Hamlet is trying to convey is commonly misunderstood. While it appears Hamlet is speaking on the manner of life or death itself, his ideals are more logical then how they might be presumed. To have Hamlet speak of suicide at this portion of the play would be irrelevant. It would denature the growth Hamlet experienced throughout the entirety of the play. Instead, Hamlet speaks not of continuing life and committing suicide, but between suffering the issues of the world and taking appropriate action against them. In Hamlet’s first soliloquy, he speaks of how horrible life is. He wishes he would rather be dead then have to deal with the issues in his life. Hamlet believes the only way to escape the problems he faces is to commit suicide and end his life. “O that this too too solid flesh would melt,/Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!/Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd/His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!/How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable/ Seem to me all the uses of this world!/Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,/That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature/Possess it merely.” (Shakespeare 1.2. 129-137) Hamlet uses figurative language in this example to illustrate that his world is like an untamed garden full of weeds. Hamlet believes his life, due to the unexpected death of his father, is unable to shows its true beauty. Just as a garden does not appear as beautiful when weeds overpower the flowers. Although this example is the first introspect into Hamlet’s mind, his “to be or not to be” soliloquy, provides a new insight on how to cope with the challenges life deals. The “to be or not to be” soliloquy exemplifies the growth Hamlet experienced throughout the play. Instead of pondering about the ideas of suicide, as Hamlet did in his first soliloquy,...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. “Hamlet.” Literature. Ed. X.J. Kennedy. Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson, 2005. 1604-1721.
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