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From which soliloquy is Shakespeare's famous quote "To be or not to be"?

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chithra | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 28, 2007 at 4:28 PM via web

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From which soliloquy is Shakespeare's famous quote "To be or not to be"?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:50 PM (Answer #1)

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Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy is found in 3.1-64.-98. Here, Hamlet is wondering both what it means to be alive, what revenge can truly accomplish, and whether or not he is brave enough to avenge his father's death. Here is the entire soliloquy:

To be, or not to be--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep--
To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. -- Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! -- Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

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arjun | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted July 7, 2007 at 5:20 PM (Answer #2)

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His fourth soliloquy is considered most philosophical and used as examples by the scholars. He is shown on the horn of dilemma and thinks whether he should tolerate it or fight against the tyranny of life. His acute pain, caused by obsession, pushes him to committing suicide. He prefers escaping from reality.


Such dejection is interim .when he comes to round, he condemns it cowardice and uplifts himself to the spell of suicide. He opposes death and imagines whether death is a deep sleep, free from troubles with whom the body is attached, or not. He jumps to tantamount that death is no doubt a sleep but there are thousands dreadful visions usually disturb and shock such sleep.
He hesitates to commit suicide because it is not way of getting rid of the troubles of life, but of implicating or trapping himself into more torturous troubles. If it had not been, it would have been the best remedy of all troubles given by life in the world.
As he says:Thus conscience does………..of act in.
So it is conscience that makes the effected too weak to commit suicide. It robs our moral courage and irresolute and in consequence we become pale through anxiety.


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arjun | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted July 7, 2007 at 5:29 PM (Answer #3)

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His fourth soliloquy is considered most philosophical and used as examples by the scholars. He is shown on the horn of dilemma and thinks whether he should tolerate it or fight against the tyranny of life. His acute pain, caused by obsession, pushes him to committing suicide. He prefers escaping from reality.


Such dejection is interim .when he comes to round, he condemns it cowardice and uplifts himself to the spell of suicide. He opposes death and imagines whether death is a deep sleep, free from troubles with whom the body is attached, or not. He jumps to tantamount that death is no doubt a sleep but there are thousands dreadful visions usually disturb and shock such sleep.
He hesitates to commit suicide because it is not way of getting rid of the troubles of life, but of implicating or trapping himself into more torturous troubles. If it had not been, it would have been the best remedy of all troubles given by life in the world.
So it is conscience that makes the effected too weak to commit suicide. It robs our moral courage and irresolute and in consequence we become pale through anxiety.

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