To Be or Not To Be?

That is the question...

What is the decision Hamlet faces as he asks, "To be or not to be?"

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 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,



The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,



The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,



The insolence of office and the spurns



That patient merit of the 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 undiscover'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 pith and moment



With this regard their currents turn awry,



And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!



The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons



Be all my sins remember'd.



Increase your literacy skills by analyzing the following text-dependent questions:

1. What is Hamlet’s view of life?


2. What language does he use to describe it?


3. What is Hamlet’s view of the after life?


4. What language does he use to describe it?


5. How do these views oppose or compliment each other?


6. What settlement does Hamlet propose to make with a “bare bodkin”?


7. What keeps him from following through on this idea?