Hamlet Philosophy

To be, or not to be, that is the question: whether to continue to live or not, that is the doubt I have to solve
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer whether it shows a noble (virtuous) mind
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, here the dilemma itself is outrageous, violent, cruel
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, or to face an immensity of troubles
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleepNo more; and by a sleep, to say we end (SAME)No more, i.e. for death is nothing more than a sleep; to say we end, to assure ourselves that we thus put an end to, etc.
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocksThat Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummationDevoutly to be wished. To die to sleep, that is a conclusion for which we pray
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub, there’s the rub, there is the difficulty; if we could be quite sure that death was a dreamless sleep, we should not need to have any hesitation about encountering it; rub, obstacle; a metaphor from the game of bowls.
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, For in … pause, for the doubt as to what dreams may come in that sleep of death, when we have put off this encumbrance of the body, must compel us to hesitate when considering the question of suicide;though coil is elsewhere used by Shakespeare as = turmoil, tumult, and may here include that meaning also, the words shuffled off seem to show that the primary idea was that of a garment impeding freedom of action.
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,Must give us pause. There’s the respectThat makes Calamity of so long life: there’s the respect … life, in that lies the consideration which makes misfortune so long-lived; if it were not for that consideration, we should quickly put an end to calamity by ending our lives.
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time, the whips … time, the blows and flouts to which one is exposed in this life; here time seems to be opposed to eternity, and the whips and scorns to be a general expression for the particulars in the next four lines, “the oppressor’s wrong,” “‘the law’s delay,” (inefficiency of the legal system) “the insolence of office,” coming under the head of whips, and “the proud man’s contumely,” “the pangs of despised love,” (the pains of unrequited love) and “the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes,” (the mistreatment good people have to take from bad) under that of scorns.
When he himself might his Quietus make his quietus, his release, acquittance (A written release from an obligation, specifically a receipt indicating payment in full); quietus was the technical term for acquittance of all debts at the audit of accounts in the Exchequer.
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 The insolence of office, the insolent (rude) behavior with which men in office treat those who have to petition them
That patient merit of the unworthy takes, that men of merit have patiently to endure at the hands of those who have no claim to respect. Furness remarks, “In the enumeration of these ills, is it not evident that Shakespeare is speaking in his own person? As Johnson says, “these are not the evils that would particularly strike a prince.”
With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear, With a bare bodkin, with a mere dagger. Though Shakespeare probably had in his mind the idea also of an unsheathed dagger, his primary idea seems to be the easiness with which the release could be obtained, and the word bodkin, a diminutive, = small dagger, goes to confirm this notion. Fardel: burden.
To grunt and sweat under a weary life, grunt, groan; the word, though now having a ludicrous association, had none to the ears of our forefathers.
But that the dread of something after death,The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn bourn, boundary, confines
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 ResolutionIs sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought, And thus … thought, and thus over the natural color of determination there is thrown the pale and sickly tinge of anxious reflection.
And enterprises of great pitch and moment, of great pitch and moment, of soaring character and mighty impulse; pitch = the highest point of a falcon’s flight, moment seems to be used here for ‘momentum,’ ‘impulse.’
With this regard their Currents turn awry,And lose the name of Action. Soft you now, With this … action, influenced by this consideration, divert their course, turn themselves from the path along which they were going, and no longer can be said to be active. Soft you now! said to himself, ‘but let me pause!’
The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons fair: beautiful; nymph: Greek & Roman Mythology Any of numerous minor deities represented as beautiful maidens inhabiting and sometimes personifying features of nature such as trees, waters, and mountains; orison: prayer.
Be all my sins remembered. Hamlet is asking Ophelia to forgive him and to pray for him. The play does not actually say it, perhaps because he has seduced her in a dishonorable fashion; or perhaps Hamlet is covertly trying to warn Ophelia away from him, stressing the fact that he is a sinner and therefore impure, unlike Ophelia herself.

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