When your faith is destroyed, how can you tolerate the failure or error? How can you confront yourself, forgive all the past mistakes, and rebuild tolerance and faith? Is it better to pardon or to revenge; to live or to die? From William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the play gives its own answer.
Hamlet’s tragic life started from knowing his father died and his dearly mother Gertrude has married her dead husband’s brother Claudius, who has taken over the throne, just one month after his death. He felt disgusting for everyone has got over King Hamlet too fast: “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.” (Act 1, Scene 2) But he knew that he could do nothing at all, therefore he kept himself in temper: “But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.” (Act 1, Scene 2) However, after discovering his father has been murdered by Claudius and his lover Ophelia acted unusually which made Hamlet sense that she did not love him anymore. The world that Hamlet used to familiar with was broken and he did not able to change the circumstances so he felt all alone and led to his mood of grief was deepened: “That I, the son of a dear father murdered, prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, must like a whore unpack my heart with words, and fall a-cursing like a very drab” (Act 2, Scene 2)
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Now Hamlet’s heart is full of contradictions, he does not know how to deal with this complex situation, his inner struggle resorts with a soliloquy form which shows he wonders whether to maintain the moral integrity, or to take revenge for his father’s murder: “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.” (Act 3, Scene 1)
The entire soliloquy points out Hamlet’s grief, contradictory and frustration. “To be” or “Not to be” is Hamlet’s choice to make: action or dormancy, commitment or shirk the responsibility, brave or coward, life or death. Also, “â€¦to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end themâ€¦” Hamlet’s grief at his mother sleeps with the patricidal murderer unexpectedly; his dilemmas in even if he revenges for his father successful, it will fall into how to deal with his mother and face the difficulties to continue living; he is involuntarily entangled in the love-hate. Under these circumstances, Hamlet reveals to commit suicide several times in the soliloquy: “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 toâ€¦” Using death to terminate the body needed to withstand the pain is the topic which appears several times throughout the entire soliloquy; however what is the world we will enter after death? Hamlet can choose the self-ending, but his fear comes from this unknown: “The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveler returns, puzzles the will â€¦” So the other choice is to stay in the world, and continue living like a craven to bear the suffering: “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 allâ€¦” From this scene we can see that Hamlet considered committing suicide, but his moral thoughts kept making him wonder about the aftermath of death and this scared him to continue his action.
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In my opinion, Hamlet depends on the fact that his battles and ideals sketch the dilemma of every human is being faces. Hamlet’s conflicting emotions on how to act in a wicked world with his moral integrity completely reflects the fate of each of us. I believe “To be, or not to be” is the question for everyone, as it determines the beginning and end of many problems, life is also because of the contradictory propositions and begins a long list of journey. Maybe some people’s lives are this: they want to go their own chosen way, but fate has made them the other options. Finally, they find themselves between hope and reality. “To be, or not to be.” People live in order to survive or to destroy? Alive in order to survive! But why do people always in self-destruction? Alive in order to destroy! But why do people always want to live happy and comfortable? I think life is depends on you attitude of living intensely and richly, or merely to exist. Life or Death, this is the dilemma.
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