To sleep, perchance to dream
"To sleep, perchance to dream-
ay, there's the rub."
This is part of Hamlet's famous soliloquy which begins "To be or
not to be", and it reveals his thoughts of suicide. He has learned
that his uncle killed his father, the late King, and married the
king's wife, his mother. This foul deed has driven Hamlet nearly
mad, and he seeks both revenge and the escape of death. He has been
disconsolate since learning of the murder, from the ghost of his
dead father. In this scene, he ponders suicide, "To die, to
sleep-/No more." But he is tortured with the fear that there might
not be peace even in death. "For in that sleep of death what dreams
may come, /When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, /Must give
us pause." Hamlet's moral and mental anguish is at its height in
this soliloquy, which is the emotional centerpiece of the play.