Friday, July 23, 2010

Existence—Shakespeare Week, Day 5

Hamlet—Act 3, Scene 1

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 heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. 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 dispriz'd 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 undiscovere'd 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 enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.


  1. Ah, one of the most famous speeches written. I was lucky enough to have seen this at the Stratford Festival a few years ago. I think listening in Live is easier than reading it...

  2. Our teacher in Humanities showed us a little of the new BBC production with David Tennant playing Hamlet. I'd like to find it and rent it, but I've already made up my mind to try and see it live whenever I can. And any other Shakespeare play. Lucky, we have this yearly thing in St. Petersburg called "Shakespeare in the Park" at a water-front park. I've never gone because the traffic and parking are horrible downtown, but I may try to go to the next one.