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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Elizalde

Hamlet by Shakespeare

Updated: Jul 22, 2019

(1) Hamlet says to Gertrude, "I must be cruel, only to be kind. Thus bad begins and worse remains behind" (Act 3, Scene 4).  Does this necessity of cruelty before kindness make sense to you? Have you ever been the giver or recipient of such cruelty and kindness? In what ways are you both empathetic to Hamlet as well as Gertrude?

(2) There is perhaps no line of Shakespeare better known than Hamlet's words in scene one of act three, wherein he says, "To be, or not to be: that is the question." Yet few know what he says next. Here are Hamlet's words quoted in their entirety. I have no question to pose with this text because I prefer to let the text pose its own questions to the reader:

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 tot 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 too. "Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. 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 th' unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? Who would carrels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovered 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 pitch and moment

With this regard their current turns awry

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

The fair Ophelia! - Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my sins remembered.

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