failing like never before


To Be or Not to Be

Unlike many of my article titles, this one actually pertains directly to my article. Once again, this is from a high school English class (seems like I wrote a lot when I was in high school).

Hamlet’s “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy from the play Hamlet by Shakespeare, describes Hamlet’s morbid and tempestuous feelings. Prior to the soliloquy, Hamlet’s emotions have been in turmoil due to the appearance of his father’s ghost and his mother’s marriage to his uncle. Shakespeare’s use of literary techniques such as diction, imagery and syntax give the reader insight into Hamlet’s thoughts and feelings as he contemplates death and the afterlife, and the problems of life.

Throughout the soliloquy, Shakespeare’s use of punctuation reveals where Hamlet begins to grow particularly emotional. The phrase “... and by a sleep to we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to...” is much longer then the short, terse phrases surrounding it, drawing the reader’s attention. This long phrase shows the swelling of Hamlet’s emotions, and allows the reader to deduce that Hamlet greatly dislikes his earthly pains and finds the bliss of death to be a “consummation devoutly to be wish’d.” This quick terse phrase helps to emphasize Hamlet’s opinion of death. At line 66, Hamlet says, “for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.” Hamlet’s fears of the afterlife, are emphasized by his outpouring of emotion, which he then pulls quickly to a stop.