To be or not to be. That is the question. Not only do these words make up the question of questions, the words which follow the opening line of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquy from Hamlet Act III, Scene 1, constitute the MOST IMPORTANT WORDS EVER WRITTEN IN ENGLISH. Why? There have been literally tens of thousands of pages written about this one speech, yet its true meaning and significance to humanity elude any purely intellectual analysis. Armed with our consciousness and guided by our own Innermost Being, Attlas reveals in about half an hour the true meaning of “to be or not to be,” and why it is the single most important question in OUR LIVES.
Here is the text of the soliloquy if you wish to follow-along (it’s in the video, too).
HAMLET: 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 heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘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,
Th’ 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 fardels 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 enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.