Hamlet’s 4th Soliloquy: To Be or Not to Be

Category: Hamlet
Last Updated: 30 Mar 2023
Essay type: Analysis
Pages: 3 Views: 650

Hamlet’s 4th soliloquy analyze “To be or not to be” can arguably be Shakespeare’s most recognizable quote in all of his work. Hamlet attempts to reason with himself on whether or not death is the only solution to end all life suffering portrays him as both confused and cowardly. In this monologue, Hamlet goes into a tough debate over whether he should end his own suffering by commit suicide, or to step it up and revenge for his father. This solilguy also shows the reader on how Hamlet deals with stress and the lost of love one.

In conclusion, he decided to live and fulfill his promise. Indication from this monologue exposed Hamlet’s flaws for lacking of action, being hesitant, and unable to settle his mind. This help lay the foundation of Hamlet’s characteristic and his reasons behind his actions in the later part of the play. Like many Shakespeare’s writing, it is up to the reader to decide on the characteristic of Hamlet. Many may view “to be or not to be” as Hamlet’s suicide attempt, however, it really portrays Hamlet as a stressed out young man that can not deal with his surrounding.

Hamlet position himself between the two extremes with life and death by questioning himself on “"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". He asked himself if it is “nobler” to commit suicide, but quickly goes against his early statement by saying actions requires “arms against a sea of troubles”. This shows that Hamlet is puzzled with himself on whether he should end his “sea of troubles” by means of death, or to suffer through the pain of living.

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As Hamlet thinks towards death and ending all life stress, he quoted: “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 :’to consummation devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream”. Hamlet wishes if he was dead, he will no longer have to suffer through his “heart-ache” and “thousand natural shocks”. The monologue continues as Hamlet debate on his decisions. Finally, Hamlet points out the reason why he choice to live instead of death.

He choice to live because “the dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will”. In other words, Hamlet unwilling to commit suicide is because he does not know what lies after death and it was against his religious believe. Ironically, through out the soliloquy, the reader can conclude from Hamlet’s sorrow and depression that he himself knows his weakness in thinking too much on his revenge and yet Hamlet does not react or even tries to.

It has been weeks before Hamlet’s promises towards his father on revenge to kill Cladius, but once again, we see Hamlet is confused as ever. He then quotes: “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 pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action”. This further fortifies the above statement for stating himself for being cowardly and did not take action when he had the chance.

It seems that Hamlet needs to list out every possible outcome of his action before processing it. Hamlet is helpless of his own lack of confidence and this will lead to his ultimate doom. This important soliloquy exposed the flaws of Hamlet’s character and it shows Hamlet’s self conflict and his possible solutions in taking action. This is the main point of the play as it signifies a development in Hamlet’s thought and his readiness in finally starting to act.

It also shows Hamlet’s approach on the question of life and death and how he compares both of them by over examine each and every possible outcome. This soliloquy also shows Hamlet’s puzzlement, lack of action and his overall cowardly behavior. We knows that Hamlet’s unwilling to commit suicide is because he wants revenge, but the more important question is whether revenge is truly keeping him alive, or that he is just too cowardly to face the mystery after death.

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Hamlet’s 4th Soliloquy: To Be or Not to Be. (2018, Feb 01). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/hamlets-4th-soliloquy-analyze/

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