Famous Words by William Shakespeare

"To be, or not to be."


In Shakespeare's "Hamlet," Hamlet opens a soliloquy with "To be, or not to be," (Act 3 Scene 1 Line 56). By this, he means "to live or not to live." Hamlet is alone on the stage, talking towards the audience in a room in the castle at Elsinore. He is contemplating life and death, "whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer...Or to take arms against a sea of troubles," (Line 57-59). Hamlet desires death yet he is uncertain of the afterlife. Hamlet's reflective tone advances the plot by revealing his fatal flaw: indecisiveness. One can relate to Hamlet's dilemma due to the unknown factor of what happens when we die.