Posted: February 15th, 2023

One part of Act III that we did not talk about is the super-famous “To be or not to be” speech on pages 1147-1148. What do you think that Hamlet means by these words, and why is it important to Hamlet

Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech is one of the most famous moments in literature and theater, and it is important because it encapsulates the existential crisis that Hamlet has been struggling with throughout the play. In this soliloquy, Hamlet expresses his innermost thoughts on death, life, action and inaction as he considers whether he should kill himself.

The phrase “to be or not to be” itself refers to two choices: living or dying. By posing these two options with such gravity, Hamlet acknowledges that there are consequences for each choice and ponders which consequence will bring him more peace of mind. He recognizes that life can lead to suffering — from physical pain to deep sorrow — so he asks himself if suicide would bring about a better outcome than enduring such suffering for years on end. He also explores how his own death could affect those he loves and whether it would hurt them more than staying alive.

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Respond to the following prompt: One part of Act III that we did not talk about is the super-famous “To be or not to be” speech on pages 1147-1148. What do you think that Hamlet means by these words, and why is it important to Hamlet

Towards the end of this speech, Hamlet takes a step back from his contemplation by stating that no matter what decision he makes (living or dying), Fortune will have her way regardless; both paths lead him down a road paved with uncertainty. This reinforces his feelings of powerlessness at being unable to make an informed decision due to lack of information about either path ahead: life or death? Therefore by considering both alternatives yet never actually making a choice despite admitting they may both have similar outcomes represents an important turning point in terms of character development for Hamlet as well as providing us insight into why it is important for him try work through his issues in order find some sort inner peace rather than just taking the easy route out via suicide.

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Ultimately then we see how this part from Act III allows us readers/audience members understand where exactly our protagonist stands emotionally at this point in time; conflicted between lethargic acceptance of fate versus actively forging ahead even though any course taken may still lead back into danger’s embrace eventually anyway. And thus we come away realizing that no matter what trials wish upon ourselves , tragedy will always remain inevitable but courageously clinging onto whatever hope remains can help transcend even despair’s heaviest burden .

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