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CPaolini - Hamlet_ to be or not to be
by CPaolini - (2020-12-07)
Up to  4LSCA - DAD: Week November 30ieth - December 5th, 2020Up to task document list

In the present text I am going to analyse the first ten lines of the monologue from Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.


In the first line Hamlet conveys the idea of his dilemma with the sentence “to be or not to be”. Hamlet poses himself a great question and he pines not knowing how to choose between to be and not to be.

Shakespeare decided to use the verb to be because it widens the possible meaning. Indeed, it also means to exist, to live or to act.


Hamlet presents two philosophical positions: on the one hand he takes on a stoic attitude, which would suggest that he endure all troubles and misfortunes that happen to him, and on the other the choice, seen almost as salvific, of suicide, which would put an end to all his sufferings.


Life is, accordingly, presented by Hamlet as a battle and a list of punishments and tortures. In line three the poet underlines this describing life as ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’. In describing it Hamlet never mentions positive or happy facts, but only misfortunes.

In line five the verb ‘to sleep’ is a metaphor of death, in fact it is written near the verb ‘to die’.


Therefore, for Hamlet death represents the only way out, the only salvation, but facing it requires courage, because it means challenging the unknown and one's fears.