"Hamlet" Monologue Analysis: "To Be or not To Be, That is the Question"

Essay by mariapaHigh School, 11th gradeA-, March 2006

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The text to be or not to be by William Shakespeare refers to the paradox of life and death. He starts the poem by questioning himself: is it worth to exist or not, and by existing he is referring to the human ability of thinking; in the sense of: I exist because I can think. This issue is developed throughout the poem were the action of thinking deals with the decision of; should I live or not and it certainly becomes an obstacle to make that decision. In that sense the poem transmits that the innate human quality of thinking is what makes us weak instead of being a useful tool to make right decisions. In other words, despite we can perceive a solution to our problems (death), we are incapable of taking action (committing suicide) because we have the eternal problem of thinking.

"To be or not to be, that is the question" this is the phrase that opens the poem, and in a sense, it is like a synthesis of what the author is going to explain later.

He is referring to the verb "to be" practically the same as "to exist". The question is: should I live? And by that he is considering that, by being humans, we have the ability to think. In some sort of way, Shakespeare is leading us to the paradox of life and death were human doubting is crucial in the understanding of the two, so there can be a decision.

"to die, to sleep, No more; and by sleep to say we end the heart ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is hair to: it is a consummation devoutly to be wished" He is analyzing death and seeing it as the solution of the life he is living...