October 23, 2005

Hamlet 3-5

Shakespeare, Hamlet (Acts 3-5) -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)


Hamlet: 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 we say to 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 that sleep of death, what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause. There’s the respect of calamity of so long life.

Society has gone to pieces, just as reflected by the inner most turmoil of the ruling classes. In Hamlet’s “To be…” soliloquy, it is evident that he battles with a major issue: whether or not to kill himself. He talks of death in direct correlation with sleep; death being the most permanent sleep a human being will ever lie down for to take. He also focuses his concern on the misfortune that life has dealt him in the turbulent times. He is faced with troubles a college student usually doesn’t suffer, and now, he is contemplating the end-all of end-alls, taking his life by his own hands. In his sleep, he sees a chance to dream; however, what we dream is very different from life here on earth. Would he ever be able to achieve some type of normal peace? Dreaming, by death, will doubtfully lead to any healthy resolution to the problems because he will, in fact, be parted with the problems wholly – instead of resolving them. It is no wonder revenge that flies under the radar is a thematic element to this play. Otherwise, the ending could be very different.

Posted by KatieAikins at October 23, 2005 5:43 PM